Stephen Chatman

Professor

Relevant Degree Programs

 

Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - May 2019)
Fantasies (2018)

"Fantasies" is a sixteen-minute suite for a chamber ensemble that includes eightperformers: flute, clarinet, two percussionists, harp, piano, violin, and cello. The work consists offive movements and contains various melodic themes and thematic material. Motivicdevelopment is the most important compositional approach that I have applied in this work. Inthe second and third movements, the initial motives are modified by the motivic fragmentations,and transformed into the new melodies.The dissertation is divided into five chapters. The first chapter offers a basic overview ofthe piece, my personal inspiration, and other musical influences that led to the composition. Thesecond, third, and four chapters provide a comprehensive analysis of the entire piece. Concludingremarks are made in the fifth chapter, including philosophical and aesthetic associations.

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Lost : from a child's perspective (2018)

Lost: From a Child’s Perspective is a musical composition for symphony orchestra. It is approximately 16.5 minutes in duration. The piece presents a musical representation of the emotions a child experiences when getting lost. The musical style of the composition draws from 19th and 20th century concert music and film music influences. The first chapter discusses aspects of the composer’s personal life and the influence his upbringing had on the conceptual design of the piece. A brief discussion of programmatic music, and various harmonic and melodic sources that are influences for the piece follows in the second chapter. The third chapter discusses the musical form and style of the composition: medium, formal structure, narrative agents, melodic transformations, harmonic languages, and rhythmic treatment. The final chapter closes with a brief aesthetic statement. A program note and a complete musical score of the composition are included as appendices.

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Ordinary beauty (2017)

Ordinary Beauty is a piece for piano and strings (Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello, Bass).The string parts may be performed by a string orchestra, or with a single player on each part. Thework is approximately 23 minutes in length, and comprises of 5 movements, each named afterand inspired by scenes of commonplace beauty found in the natural surroundings of Vancouver.The movements are as follows: Leaf in the Wind, Petals in the Rain, Sunlit Grove, Hawk inFlight, and Ocean Spray.Ordinary Beauty overlays Romantic structures on minimalist patterns. The minimalistfigures heighten the rhythmic interest, while the Romantic melodic and harmonic principlesprovide the piece with structure and direction. The piece pays homage to the natural world, butalso explores the boundaries between nature and technology; minimalism has ties toindustrialization and machinery, while Romanticism is associated with pastoral imagery. Theintentional juxtaposition and hybridization of these styles questions the boundaries and limits ofboth the respective styles and their real-world associations.

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A Place for Us : a song cycle for amplified pop tenor and chamber ensemble (2016)

A Place for Us is a song cycle for amplified pop tenor and chamber ensemble (amplified stringquintet, piano, electric bass, and drum set). It is approximately twenty minutes in duration andis divided into ten short sections. The text was written in collaboration with writer TamaraChandon. It explores a love story using elements of an archetypal hero’s journey narrative. Themusic incorporates an eclectic array of styles and focuses on rhythmic attributes such as groove,syncopation, and backbeat.

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Hard times come again (2016)

Hard Times Come Again is a musical composition consisting of seven songs composed for alto voice, baritone voice, two violins, viola, cello, double bass, mandolin, banjo, guitar, and piano. In totality it is approximately thirty minutes in duration, and individual songs range from three to six minutes in duration. The songs take their text from poems constructed by the composer, along with poet Bren Simmers, from oral history of the Great Depression. The musical style of the composition draws on both folk music and classical music influences, with specific sub-genres, such as bluegrass, honky-tonk, and minimalism, also referenced.The written document puts the musical composition into personal and historical context. Aspects of the author's personal musical experience are discussed in the first chapter in relation to both folk music and classical music. A brief discussion of North American folk music as well as classical music that has drawn on folk music influences follows in the second chapter. The third chapter discusses musical traits of the composition including form, text, harmonic language, rhythm, and texture, and the fourth chapter includes a brief aesthetic statement. A program note and a complete musical score of the composition are included as appendices.

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Documentation to accompany the music score : Missa Pax (2014)

The Missa Pax (Peace Mass) is a nine-movement, thirty-three minute work for SATB chorus and large orchestra. The musical work resides within the tradition of the concert mass, an adjunct art form to the liturgical high-church mass. Through the use of style in rhythmic and harmonic language and through orchestration, the composer challenges aspects of the traditional form. These challenges to the boundaries of the art form create a strong metanarrative when considered from within the high-church tradition. This document serves three main purposes: (a) to offer a background into the composer’s own personal point-of-departure as the creator of the work, (b) to position the work’s stylistic influences within the context of the Western tradition’s musical output and (c) to explore the work on the grounds of music theory, explaining its formal principles, pitch structures, rhythmic organization, orchestration and texts and how they enable the objectives that follow from the composer’s artistic vision.

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Walking Towards the Sun (2014)

“Walking Towards the Sun," for string quartet, is a collection of musical meditations on my experiences hiking the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia. The scale, structure, and musical language of the composition are related to the Trail. Lasting almost eight hours, the piece is massive and idealistic. It is comprised of 80 movements that give unique interpretations to places and experiences from my hike. The movements are organized to trace my journey southward from Maine to Georgia. The musical materialutilizes both abstract and symbolic expressions to reflect my experiences on the Trail. The sound of the composition transports the listener by suggesting emotional states reflective of my journey. This paper will introduce the composition and explain its connection to my hike. The first section of this paper gives the premise behind my thesis and suggests a precedence in other composers’ work. This is followed by an overview of the composition’s structure and its relationship to the trail. Section 3 delves into specific musical techniques and procedures utilized in the work and an explanation of theinstrumentation choice. The paper concludes with an aesthetic statement, suggesting a context for the composition as a work of art. A complete version of the score, a table detailing the textural, harmonic, and other contributions to the works structure, and a program note for the composition’s performance are included in the appendix.

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Seraph for piano and string orchestra (2013)

Seraph is a fifteen minute composition for piano and string orchestra. In addition to traditional musical techniques such as variation and passacaglia, the work employs a distinctive approach to phrase structure, form, harmony, and compositional technique. An ascending natural minor scale serves as the main theme while other melodies, textures, harmonies, and motives interact in counterpoint with the theme. In addition, the theme undergoes its own developmental transformations and modifications, and it influences a distinctive harmonic language featuring extended, non-traditional chords and progressions that rarely repeat. Musical phrases and secondary melodies are unusual in length and mostly avoid expectations of cadence, while metric instability occurs through frequent meter changes. In addition to variation technique, the musical structure features episodes that contrast in compositional design through the development of less prominent motives and differences in approach to harmony. The piano part was partly composed through the use of transcribed improvisation, which serves as a basis for the harmonic and motivic structures heard throughout the composition. The piano part also features complex rhythmic divisions and technical demands for the performer while interacting with the orchestra in a variety of textures. As a whole, the work possesses several features which contribute to an original style and aesthetic.

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Taste (2013)

Taste is a work for a medium sized orchestra consisting of four movements and is approximately 23 minutes in length. Each movement is a musical illustration of one of the four traditional basic physiological tastes as perceived by humans: bitter, sour, sweet and salty. To represent the four physiological tastes musically, this work applies three unifying conceptual devices. The first device is the assimilation of the physical properties of taste into musical properties including form and texture. The second device associates both taste and sound with human emotions. The third device is the application of varied styles of music, or “polystylism” as representation of different aesthetic preferences or “tastes.” By presenting each taste in the context of a musical composition, this work draws a link between the human sense of taste and the sense of hearing.

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Jack and the blue flower : an aural myth (2012)

This Dissertation, entitled Jack and the Blue Flower: An Aural Myth, establishes a new approach to formal design, referred to henceforth as a Musical Personograph. This 17-minute work presents a highly developed musical portrait of an individual, in this case British writer and philosopher-theologian C. S. (“Jack”) Lewis. The conceptual and compositional designs are a synthesis of (1) the core principles of Personography, a psychological discipline that seeks to empirically determine the ways in which an individual establishes self-identity via an internalized and evolving life-story; (2) leitmotif and thematic transformation techniques, extended and expanded to include not only melody but harmony; rhythm; polyrhythm and polymeter; pitch centers; orchestration; tonality, polytonality, and atonality; (3) stratified textures consisting of perceptually distinct layers of musical material that contribute fundamentally to the overall shape and form of the work. Novel compositional principles applied include (1) an exploration of the expressive possibilities of an updated approach to programmatic music (musical materials with relationships to extra-musical symbols); (2) the use of intrinsically musical narrative and/or dramatic structures—that is, the establishment of a compositional design that imparts a narrative and/or dramatic structure to a work that functions independently of any imposed extra-musical associations. This work’s intrinsically musical narrative is accomplished via forward- and backward-pointing references (in time) to audibly recognizable musical material of primary importance, called Musical Aspects and Narrative Agents; changes to the musical context framing said Aspects and Agents as the work progresses; the use of multiple musical languages and rhetorical devices which, through shared cultural associations, enable the listener to assign dramatic and/or emotional values to the musical narrative as it unfolds.

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Four pieces for quartet : a composition for violin, violoncello, piano, and percussion (2010)

“Four Pieces for Quartet” is a 27 minute chamber work for violin, violoncello, piano, and percussion. Influenced by various elements of jazz composition and practice, its four movements draw from various eras of jazz history for source material. The chosen material from ragtime, bebop, modal, and modern jazz sub-genres functions as the impetus for motive and rhythmic development, gesture, compositional structure, instrumentation, orchestration, and instrumental interaction throughout the work. With the appropriation and incorporation of these materials, the composition seeks to subtly merge jazz and classical compositional techniques into a hybrid style.

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"Songs on the Waves" : a composition for flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone and piano (2009)

“Songs on the Waves” is a 20 – 21 minute chamber work for flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone and piano. Each of the four movements draws upon a different specific Canadian maritime folksong, and uses different elements of the traditional music to create its linear, harmonic and textural components. In some instances, the folksongs also inspire the form of the movements, as well as the constituent large and small-scale musical structures. Primarily, the movements seek to capture the essence of the poetic expression found in the folksongs. This is achieved through compositional choices regarding form, harmonic language, gesture, instrumentation, and the integration of the traditional materials into each movement. The result is a unique piece of art music that adds to the tradition of folksong-inspired works in the contemporary literature.

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The piano teacher chamber opera in one act (2008)

The thesis for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Composition consists of an original musical work, accompanied by an analytical document. “The Piano Teacher” is a chamber opera in one act, based on a libretto by the composer, adapted from the fantastic tale “With the Gypsy Girls” by Mircea Eliade. With a duration of approximately fifty minutes, the work calls for four singers (tenor, soprano, bass-baritone, mezzo-soprano) and fifteen instrumental parts (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, trombone, percussion, piano, harp, two violins, viola, cello, contrabass). The aim was not only to set to music a symbolic story, but also to adopt a personal approach to the operatic genre. This approach proposes a less explicit plot, as well as minimal stage design. In adapting the story, the central character of the teacher receives an extensive music-dramaturgical role, while the other characters are assigned relatively equal supporting roles. The opera comprises a prelude and twelve short scenes, most of which unfold uninterruptedly. A thorough discussion of the nature, influences, and vocabulary of the opera accompanies the musical score. The analytical document concentrates on particular musical ideas, as well as on several cyclical elements, providing detailed exemplification to illustrate their use. Both the score and the analysis suggest possible approaches to the stage production of the opera.

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Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2018)
Compositions (2018)

No abstract available.

Compositions (2017)

No abstract available.

A Compendium of Contemporary Compositions (2015)

No abstract available.

Compositions (2013)

No abstract available.

Compositions by Arvin Fekri (2012)

No abstract available.

 

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