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UBC Theses and Dissertations

John Weinzweig’s Woodwind quartet : a study in compositional development and serial methods Lind, Stephanie Kathleen


John Weinzweig was the first Canadian composer to use techniques of serial organization in his compositions. Through his teaching, composing, and promotion of Canadian music, he has been influential in the development of Canadian music. Because of this, it is of interest to study one of his significant works, the Woodwind Quintet (1963/64). This work exemplifies Weinzweig's serial techniques, including the use of row forms that share common segments (such as dyads, trichords, tetrachords, and hexachords), as well as an allusion to octatonic sounds. This thesis approaches Weinweig's work first from a serial standpoint, and then examines how the composer approaches the idea of motivic development within his work. Thorough analysis of twelve-tone relationships, themes, textures, and rhythms reveals how Weinzweig focuses not just on serial materials, but also on other aspects of composition. Following a brief introduction about the composer and the piece, Chapter 1 examines the properties of the row used in the Woodwind Quintet. The discussion continues, in Chapters 2, 3, and 4, by examining each movement from a different analytical perspective, giving an overview of the work as a whole. Texture and instrumentation are the focus of the discussion of the first movement; segmentation is examined in the second movement; and rhythmic motives are studied in the third movement. Rotation, inversion, and other serial techniques are examined in the work as a whole. This thesis attempts to give an overview of Weinzweig's compositional style while discussing specific passages from the Woodwind Quintet and their unique manner of development.

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