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Title: Towards hermeticist grammars of music : a proposal for systems of composition based on the principles of the hermetic tradition, with musical demonstrations
Authors: Hasler, Johann Friedrich Wolfgang
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis is a composer's manual on how to select and appropriately use musical materials in accordance with some of the parameters of the Hermetic Tradition. It puts to the reader's consideration a few proposals for Hermeticist grammars of musical composition. 'Grammar' here is used in the sense of a set of rules which govern the construction of musical discourse. Musical grammars thus comprise rules pertaining to the construction and selection of both 'lineal' musical materials such as pitch rows, rhythms, motifs and timbres, as well as of simultaneous events such as harmonic or contrapuntal textures. The adjective 'Hermeticist', derived from the noun Hermeticism, refers to a form of traditional Western urban, learned and humanist occultism. This occultism is distinct from folk, popular, or religious/devotional forms of magic, which also occur in the West as well as in other cultures and societies. It is also distinct from other Western occult movements that are either revivalist in their inspiration (such as Wicca or neopagan religions) or related to the 'pop culture' of the last quarter of the twentieth century, such as the movements of New Age and Chaos Magick. The first part of the thesis, the textual component, briefly examines the historical encounters between Hermeticism and music theory, very few of which have produced sounding pieces of music, while most of them have happened exclusively at the theoretical, philosophical or mystical-speculative levels. In the second part, the portfolio of musical compositions, I demonstrate the application of the proposed methods through pieces of music I have composed using the historical, theoretical and technical background presented at length in part 1. I further comment on these musical results through annotations and description of precompositional work, context research and composition processes used in each individual piece.
Description: PhD Thesis, Multimedia items accompanying this thesis to be consulted at Robinson Library
Appears in Collections:School of Arts and Cultures

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