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Publication Date



UM campus only

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)


Music Theory and Composition (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Lansing McLoskey

Second Committee Member

Ferdinando De Sena

Third Committee Member

Melissa de Graaf


Prägnanz is a single movement composition for orchestra. This composition reflects the influence of minimalist composers such as Phillip Glass and Steve Reich. The structure of the piece is generated by a rhythmic motive that is transformed through a large-scale additive process. This overarching process is periodically interrupted by contrasting episodes, creating a form similar to a rondo. Several themes and gestures are explored, including a phasing rhythmic motive. The harmonic language is static, almost monolithic, in order to accentuate the gradual motion of the piece towards its goal. The title comes from Gestalt psychology; the Law of Prägnanz describes how the mind perceives simplicity within the complexity of reality. This tendency is mirrored in the piece through the focus on the central motivic transformation in spite of the complexity of contrasting themes, orchestrations, and gestures.


Pattern-pulse Music; Post-minimalism; Minimalism; Tonality By Assertion; Neotonality; Phasing; Additive Process; Music Inspired By Glass; Music Inspired By Reich; Prägnanz; Composition; Orchestra