Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)


Musicology (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Melissa de Graaf

Second Committee Member

Deborah Schwartz-Kates

Third Committee Member

Lansing McLoskey


The tragic and devastating September 11 attacks resulted in a variety of original musical responses. Exemplary works expressed their reactions through overt 9/11-concentric dialogues to express themes of mourning, military retribution, dissent and commemoration. An examination of such works concludes that effective musical responses express a direct message clarified by supporting musical and/or textual materials. Musical materials can accentuate the specific thematic message of the responsive work as they often evoke images and emotions reminiscent of the attacks and their aftermath. Compositional techniques used in these works are often reminiscent of historical works written in similar circumstances. The recurrence of these historical approaches illuminates the timeless compositional design of historical examples and exemplifies modern advancements in music composition and production. A comparison between classical and popular post-9/11 musical compositions concludes that certain classical and popular genres deal with responsive themes more effectively than others. A recommendation for further study is enclosed.


September 11; 9/11; Ground Zero; World Trade Center; Twin Towers; September 11 2001; September 11 Attacks; Terrorism; Terrorist; Musical Responses; Vengeance; Retribution; Military; Patriotic; Dissent; Political; Protest; Commemorative; Mourning; Vietnam War; Pearl Harbor; Hip-hop; Rap; Popular Music; Pop; Country Music