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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Time-consciousness and form in nonlinear music and Flux for large chamber ensemble Fitzell, Gordon Dale


This study comprises two components: a theoretical dissertation and an original musical composition. The dissertation, "Time-Consciousness and Form in Nonlinear Music," expounds an approach to analyzing certain music from the perspective of subjective time-consciousness. Specifically, it employs phenomenological constructs to examine the structure of nonlinear musical experience. Key concepts are demonstrated through analysis of the composition, entitled Flux, and several other works: Helmut Lachenmann's Dal Niente (Interieur III) and Pression, Gyorgy Ligeti's Fragment, Salvatore Sciarrino's Fifth Piano Sonata, and John Zorn's Road Runner. Chapter 1 investigates the relationship between music and subjective time-consciousness, asserting that certain musical passages evoke a unified act of consciousness in which perceived events remain simultaneously available for syntactic and semantic revision. This phenomenon, known as the "specious present," yields a sensation of indeterminacy and, in some cases, an enduring sense of present awareness. In Chapter 2 the latter sensation is defined as a 4>- state (phi-state). Conditions under which the present can be made to endure are examined, and four factors contributing to the likelihood of O-state emergence are established. Chapter 3 reconciles certain cognitive-scientific concepts with philosophical accounts of perception in order to devise a method for classifying <I>-states, and Chapter 4 examines a variety of local-level temporal relationships among 4>- states. Based on the assertion that each 4>-state possesses its own temporality, it is determined that 4>- states can emerge not only successively but also concurrently. Chapter 5 addresses large-scale relationships among O-states through the concept of stratification, according to which perceived events are streamed into separate time strata. Finally, in Chapter 6, the theories and procedures postulated throughout Chapters 1-5 are applied in a structural analysis of the opening thirty-three measures of the original composition Flux. The entire score for Flux is included at the end of the document.

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