Date of Award

Fall 12-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



Committee Chair

Dr. Douglas Rust

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Dr. Hsiaopei Lee

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Dr. Joseph Jones

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Dr. Marcos Machado

Committee Member 4 School


Committee Member 5

Dr. Nicholas Ciraldo

Committee Member 5 School



This dissertation explores changing perspectives on performance practice for the well-known solo guitar work Choros No.1 composed in 1920 by Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959), by documenting different interpretations heard on selected recordings from across the 20th century and into the 21st century. The methodology considers the recordings as the main object of study. Choros No. 1 features a hybrid style that makes it especially interesting for a research method that captures performance details such as articulations, dynamic and agogic accents, timbre, and tempo flexibility. This dissertation will consider performance decisions that are not often discussed in the research. For example, the question of how to accent the syncopations in this music properly. Performers use different techniques to emphasize notes beyond the accents on the score, from dynamic accents to agogic accents or other means. The question is, how do guitarists decide which accents to add (if any) to their performances? Recorded evidence will be collected to show the variety of answers to this question, without privileging any particular interpretation. At the conclusion of the study, there will be some account of which technical choices are more common and which performances can be grouped together by shared interpretations. Another original question considered in this study is whether one interpretive choice may affect other choices that a guitarist makes while performing this work. For example, if an exceptionally slow tempo is chosen to begin the performance, how does that affect the guitarist’s response to tempo changes later in the piece? The resulting study will help guitarists to understand better the history of performing the music of Villa-Lobos and it will provide a new perspective from which to make informed choices about interpretation.