Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type

Doctoral Essay

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Keyboard Performance (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Santiago Rodriguez

Second Committee Member

James Floyd

Third Committee Member

Dennis Kam

Fourth Committee Member

Tian Ying


Although more famous for his vocal songs, French composer Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) contributed immensely to keyboard literature. Unfortunately, his works for solo piano are rarely studied and/or performed by pianists today. One of the most neglected piano works of Francis Poulenc is the set of eight pieces titled Huit Nocturnes pour piano. Recent research showed that there are very few scholarly studies found about Poulenc and no studies focused on his Nocturnes were found. The objectives of this study are to provide a performance guide for pianists who are exploring Poulenc’s piano works, specifically directed at, but not limited to Nocturnes and to promote awareness of Poulenc’s piano works. In order to achieve these objectives, the Nocturnes will be explored historically and musically in this essay. This essay starts with an introductory chapter that describes the issues, purpose, and methodology of this study. The second chapter consists of a brief biography of Francis Poulenc and historical background on Nocturnes. The third chapter has eight subchapters, in which performance related issues are discussed in detail. A brief concluding chapter will complete this essay.


solo piano; piano; francis poulenc; french; neo-classical; nocturnes; huit nocturnes