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Durham e-Theses
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Music composition

MacMillan, James (1987) Music composition. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

[img]Archive (ZIP) (2 x Cassette Tapes 2 x CD’s: Study on two planes. Three dawn rituals. An rathad do dh'Ardtalla. Songs of a just war. Sonata for Piano)
[img]Archive (ZIP) (2 x Cassette Tapes 2 x CD’s: Two visions of Hoy (seperated by further than Hoy). Festival fan fares. Appendix Three movements from the piper at the gates of dawn)


The works in this folio are not so much concerned with stylistic unity and consistency as with balancing a strongly subjective expression with the need to shape the music into an effective dramatic (or even melodramatic) entity. In achieving a successful fusion of these priorities the eight works gradually unfold various approaches to handling melodic, rhythmic, harmonic and textural parameters. In preserving and enhancing that which is purely instinctual there is an emerging realization throughout the folio that it has to be submitted to some exercise of the intellect, incorporating a degree of external pre-planning. This provides an ever-increasing security of control over my material and, I believe, a greater sophistication and facility of expression. Within this general concern there emerges one other major trait: a desire to give expression to received cultural characteristics from my own background, which is Scottish and Celtic, This is achieved either by absorbing some element of Celtic traditional music or by employing some extra-musical subject matter as an ingredient, ie: a poem as a setting or as an influence, or some quasi-programmatic handling of natural or cultural phenomena from my native country. However, the ultimate purpose in this was not to write ‘national' music (ie: any notion of parody is studiously avoided), but paradoxically to attain an individual voice.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1987
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:52

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