The Three Versions Of The "quintet For Piano And Strings" By John Alden Carpenter: An Examination Of Their Contrasting Musical Elements Based Upon A Formal Analysis Of The Original 1934 Version

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)




The study includes a biography of John Alden Carpenter, as well as a chapter which traces the composer's stylistic evolution throughout his works. Within the latter section, the Quintet for Piano and Strings is placed in the perspective of the composer's entire compositional output. The heart of the study, a detailed structural and harmonic analysis of the original 1934 version, contains ninety examples which serve as a point of reference for the following section, a comparison and contrast between the original Quintet (1934) and the revised version of 1947. A number of essential thematic relationships seem less than clear in the revised first movement; only upon prior familiarity with the corresponding movement of the original does the formal design of the revised first movement become clear. With the excepted inclusion of some new thematic material that tends to be ineffective, the revised second movement follows the same thematic organization of the original; the revised movement is drier, less interesting contrapuntally, and tends to lack the tone color of the original. Although exploiting the themes of the original third movement, the revised third movement reflects a reduction and simplification of scoring when contrasted with the original movement. In spite of the fact that the entire revised Quintet (1947) reveals growth and change in the composer's conception of the original work, this revised work stands as an amendment to the original that may lack the soundness of structure to stand independently on its own. Although only four pages in length, the incomplete second revision (194?) reveals improvement over the corresponding portion of the exposition of the first complete revision and incorporates thematic material from both complete versions. The study brings into focus qualities and techniques employed in the original version of the Quintet (1934), including Carpenter's application of rhythm, tone color, and variation. This document pleads the case of theQuintet for Piano and Strings as a worthy contribution to the standard chamber literature.



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