Robert Taylor

Professor

Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs

 
 

Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision

Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.

Vaughan Williams' Songs of Travel: a case study of art song as performance and pedagogical repertoire for bass trombone (2022)

The repertoire of the bass trombone as a solo performer is limited compared to other instruments. Although the number of compositions for the instrument is growing, there are periods in Western Art Music history where the instrument has little to no repertoire, or the repertoire is not appropriate for a student performer. This document examines the pedagogical and performance use of the art song cycle Songs of Travel, composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams, and transcribed for bass trombone. The songs are well-suited to performance on the bass trombone, written in the baritone register of the voice and using a varied range of dynamics, articulations, and tempi to express the emotions and to advance the narrative of the cycle.Transcribed vocal works are an excellent source of music for the bass trombonist, adding to the repertoire of the instrument from different periods and composers in Western Art Music history. In looking at the Songs of Travel as a case for performing art song, this document explores the use of song text to improve upon the performer’s concepts of phrasing, promote a legato style, expand upon musical expression, and reinforce a singing style of performing.

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Pedagogical potential in the complexism learning process: a performer's journey through Brian Ferneyhough's "Bone Alphabet" (1992) (2020)

When performers decide to take on the substantial task of learning and performing a piece of music in the style known as complexism (more typically called “New Complexity”), they are faced with technical and interpretive challenges of a hyper-virtuosic nature. These demands are far beyond what is typically found in the majority of other musical contexts and therefore can be daunting to the performer. This thesis focuses on the pedagogical potentials inherent in the learning process of a complexist work. Included are interviews with major performers of this style of music and their insights into the benefits of such a specialized learning context. Following this, a detailed analysis is provided of my own experience learning and performing Brian Ferneyhough’s “Bone Alphabet,” (1992) a solo percussion work in this style, with supporting video demonstrations. This discussion is complemented by the presentation of strategies for performers to surmount the technical and interpretive difficulties found in complexism. Complexism and the choice to take it on have faced criticism over the years, with arguments being that the abundance of compositional material is too much for a performer to properly realize, attempts to prepare the works yield only approximations that sound like improvisations, and that the amount of time needed to prepare a work is not beneficial at all to the performer. However, my experience learning “Bone Alphabet,” and the processes and choices I was required to make as a student of this style have helped to inform and serve numerous aspects of my musicianship in other contexts, such as increased technical facility in executing complex rhythms and more thoughtful and rigorous score study and interpretation. Through an analysis of my own experience as well as expert testimonials regarding this unique musical context, this thesis will illuminate the pedagogical potentials inherent in the learning process for works of musical complexism.

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Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

Graduate recitals (2023)

No abstract available.

Graduate recitals (2021)

No abstract available.

Seist chorus sections in Scottish Gaelic Song: an overview of their evolving uses and functions (2020)

This thesis examines the use of seist chorus sections in the Scottish Gaelic song tradition. These sections consist of nonsense syllables, or vocables. Although lacking semantic meaning, such vocables often provoke the joining in of the audience or listening group. The use of these vocable sections can be seen to have evolved in both their physical (sonic) characteristics and their social use and function over time while still maintaining a marked presence in Scottish Gaelic music across many genres and generations. I briefly examine theories surrounding seist vocables’ inception, interview three practitioners of Gaelic song about seist choruses’ inception and evolving function, examine four songs dating from a period spanning 1601-2016, and relate my findings to Scotland’s constantly evolving social and political climate.

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Graduate recitals (2019)

No abstract available.

Graduate Recitals (2018)

No abstract available.

Seist chorus sections in Scottish Gaelic Song: an overview of their evolving uses and functions (2020)

This thesis examines the use of seist chorus sections in the Scottish Gaelic song tradition. These sections consist of nonsense syllables, or vocables. Although lacking semantic meaning, such vocables often provoke the joining in of the audience or listening group. The use of these vocable sections can be seen to have evolved in both their physical (sonic) characteristics and their social use and function over time while still maintaining a marked presence in Scottish Gaelic music across many genres and generations. I briefly examine theories surrounding seist vocables’ inception, interview three practitioners of Gaelic song about seist choruses’ inception and evolving function, examine four songs dating from a period spanning 1601-2016, and relate my findings to Scotland’s constantly evolving social and political climate.

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Graduate Recitals (2017)

No abstract available.

Graduation Recital (2016)

No abstract available.

Graduate recitals (2013)

No abstract available.

Graduate Recitals (2012)

No abstract available.

 

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