Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Fay, R. Vernon||Haugland, A. Oscar (Archie Oscar), 1922-2013||Whybrew, William E., 1920-2007

Degree Name

M. Mus. (Master of Music)

Legacy Department

Department of Music


Bacon; Ernst; 1898- Songs. Selections


The subject of this paper is an analysis of Five Songs written by the contemporary American composer Ernst Bacon. The titles of these Five Songs in their proper order of appearance are: "It's All I Have to Bring Today," "So Bashful," "Poor Little Heart," "To Make a Prairie," and "And This of All My Hopes." This analysis and conclusions based on this analysis are presented in six chapters. Chapter I is introductory. It first indicates the scope of the analysis which forms the main body of the paper: (1) a harmonic analysis, (2) an analysis of line and texture, (3) an analysis of the rhythm, and (4) an analysis of the form. The second half of this chapter defines musical terms as they will be used in this paper. The two main species of terms defined are nonharmonic tone terms and terms related to musical form. Chapter II Is entitled "Harmonic Analysis." This chapter Is subdivided into three main parts. The first part presents measure by measure an analysis of the chords and harmonic progression of each of the Five Songs. The second part of this chapter discusses the treatment of tonality of each song. In this section it is discovered that Bacon is primarily a "tonal" composer, with his treatment of tonality occasionally reflecting twentieth-century techniques. The final part of this chapter pinpoints the special sonorities evident in the Five Songs, emphasizing those sonorities which reflect twentieth-century techniques of composition. Chapter III deals with "Line and Texture," and is again divided into three parts. The first part describes the characteristics of the vocal line. Considered in this section are the amount of conjunct-disjunct motion, a description of the size of the more common or unusual disjunct intervals, the contour of each individual phrase, the overall contour of each of the main sections of the song, and the range of each of the main parts and of the entire song. The second part of this chapter discusses the texture of each song in regard to homophony and polyphony and in regard to thickness. The last part of this chapter considers the relationship of the vocal line to the accompaniment, with emphasis on the more significant or unusual occurrences between voice and accompaniment. Chapter IV discusses the rhythm of each of the five songs. Included in this discussion are a description of the meter signatures, changes of meter, unusual or significant rhythmic effects, including syncopations, and an overall impression of Bacon's approach to rhythm. Chapter V is entitled "Form," and deals with the musical structure of each song. First, the formal structure of each song is diagrammed. This is followed by a brief discussion of the formal aspects of each song. The final chapter is a summary of the style of composition of Ernst Bacon as revealed from the analysis of the Five Songs. The general basic conclusion reached is that Ernst Bacon, when compared to most other twentieth-century composers, is quite conservative in his approach, but that he makes enough use of twentieth-century compositional techniques that his Five Songs sound contemporary.


Includes bibliographical references.


v, 84 pages




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