Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type

Doctoral Essay

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Keyboard Performance (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Ivan Davis

Second Committee Member

Deborah Schwartz-Kates

Third Committee Member

Tian Ying

Fourth Committee Member

Dennis Kam


The life and works of the Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) have been well documented. However, a comprehensive study concerning any of his nine works for piano and orchestra has not been undertaken. Among this prolific output, the Mômoprecóce, fantasie pour piano et orchestra, stands as a faithful representation of the composer's skillful orchestration, descriptive piano writing through the observation of a childhood universe, and his multi-faceted approach to nationalism. The fantasy is a through-composed arrangement of a previous solo piano suite by Villa-Lobos entitled, Carnaval das crianças brasileiras (Brazilian Children's Carnival, 1919). This research aims to investigate the historic, stylistic, and interpretative aspects of Mômoprecóce, while discussing the composer's unique usage of the piano through his innovative compositional techniques and comparison of the fantasy with his original solo piano suite. Current literature in English, Portuguese and French is thoroughly examined, discussed, evaluated, and cited. In addition I provide a formal analysis, an interpretative guide, and a sociological perspective into Brazilian carnival, as specifically applied to the performance of Mômoprecóce.


Brazilian Music; 20th Century Piano Music.