Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type

Doctoral Essay

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Music Theory and Composition (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Lansing McLoskey

Second Committee Member

Charles Mason

Third Committee Member

Dennis Kam

Fourth Committee Member

Juan Chattah

Fifth Committee Member

T. Michael Sleeper


Tektosyne is a collection of three pieces for symphonic orchestra. This thesis provides an aesthetic and technical analysis of it, with particular emphasis on the constructive processes at basis of the individual and overall structures, and the generation and proliferation of materials. The title is an ancient Greek word, “tektosyne,” referring to the carpentry and, more generally, to any craftsman or workman, from gymnastics to poetry. The idea of using it as a title – and framing these pieces as “architectures” – came from a conversation I had with an architect, and my attempt to translate for him the basic ideas of my project: a dynamic system of contrasting forces and tensions. Far from any intention to provide a comparison between architecture and music – that would obviously result simplistic and forced - this analysis is the result of my personal dialogue with architecture, and particularly with Vitruvius’ treatise De architectura, through my specific point of view as a composer. Tektosyne incorporates materials and techniques belonging to past traditions, in continuity with Western composers like Ligeti, Penderecki and Sofia Gubaidulina, who offered, in their works, re-interpretations of traditional techniques. Even though, in Tektosyne, the genesis and elaboration of the materials are based on consistent mathematical procedures, the interpretative key of this work is in its dramaturgic and communicative strategies, meant to establish a contact with the audience and offer an emotional and spiritual journey.


tektosyne; alessandra salvati; intercolumnia; temenos; entasis; three architectures for orchestra