Date of Award

Summer 8-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



Committee Chair

Gregory Fuller

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Jay Dean

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

John Flanery

Committee Member 3 Department


Committee Member 4

Christopher Goertzen

Committee Member 4 Department


Committee Member 5

Douglas Rust

Committee Member 5 Department



As we approach the twenty-first century, the world generally is moving away from the dominance of the European aesthetic towards a world music that owes much to the musical resources of the African-American tradition. Jamaica’s social and philosophical music belong mainly to that tradition, which includes the use of rhythms, and timbral and melodic resources that exist independently of harmony. Already in this century, Jamaicans have created two totally new music - Nyabinghi, which performs a philosophical function and Reggae, which performs a social function. The choral music of Noel Dexter is important because it is uniquely Jamaican/Caribbean in its use of syncopated rhythmic motives, indigenous Jamaican genres, and the Jamaican vernacular yet no study has documented these features in his choral music. It is also deserving of wider use and recognition. I went about solving this problem by interviewing the composer on two occasions and documenting his answers to a wide range of questions. I also carried out a historical/structural study of four of the choral works of Noel Dexter, works that I thought were representative of his body of work. The results of my findings confirm that Noel Dexter’s music is uniquely Jamaican and is deserving of wider use and recognition. The implication of this result is that Noel Dexter and his handlers should take steps to promote his work to a wider audience.