Date of Award

12-2020

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)

School

Music

Committee Chair

Douglas Rust

Committee Chair School

Music

Committee Member 2

Danny Beard

Committee Member 2 School

Music

Committee Member 3

Joseph Brumbeloe

Committee Member 3 School

Music

Committee Member 4

Edward Hafer

Committee Member 4 School

Music

Abstract

This thesis aims to compare Korngold’s treatment of altered states of reality in his 1920 opera Die tote Stadt to that of other composers and apply a theoretical approach to explain the transitions between the diegetic realms, or multiple narrative levels, that the work is contained within. These are outlined by William Cheng in his article entitled “Opera ‘en abyme’: The prodigious ritual of Korngold’s ‘Die tote Stadt.’” An overview of Cheng’s article is provided, recounting the claims that he posits and the analyses that he uses to explain the transitions between these diegetic realms. Next, other instances of altered states of reality in compositions and research are considered; Katherine Syer’s dissertation entitled “Altered States: Musical and Psychological Processes in Wagner” is used to draw aesthetic comparisons between Korngold’s Die tote Stadt and Wagner’s operatic output. Finally, an analysis of meter is employed to explain three passages that represent diegetic transitions within the work. The use of metrical ambiguity in these passages aids in creating a sonic environment that smooths the transitions.

Available for download on Sunday, October 10, 2021

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