Master's Theses Abstracts

Master's Theses Abstracts


An Investigative Examination of Handel’s Camber Duets of 1741 and the Reasons for Their Composition

Leon Guedes Correia Neto, M.A.
Chairperson:  Dr. Wesley Roberts

This thesis investigates the two Italian chambers duets which Handel composed in July 1741, namely, Nò, di voi non vo’ fidarmi and Quel fior che all’ alba ride.  These works came after a lapse of almost twenty years of composition for this genre, which was virtually extinct by the end of the Baroque.  Less than two months later, Handel initiated the composition of his masterpiece Messiah and borrowed significant material from both duets for use in four oratorio choruses.  The reasons for the composition of both duets are still among the most intriguing chapters of the composer’s life.  Since there is no documented evidence to prove his intentions and purposes, scholars are still in disagreement about the subject.

        To fulfill the purpose of this study, a survey of Handel’s historical, sociological, cultural, and economical background in 1741 was necessary, as well as the origins and characteristics of the Italian chamber duet genre.  The thesis consists of six chapters investigating the chamber duet genre and Handel’s reasons for the composition of Nò, di voi non vo’ fidarmi and Quel fior che all’ alba ride.  It cites competing theories by Robert Myers, Jens Peter Larsen, and Donald Burrows, and offers other possibilities for the composition of these works.  An extensive bibliography is included. 

        Source materials include Handel’s biographies, documents, letters, memoirs, scores, facsimilies of manuscripts, and articles, as well as books about music in the Baroque.


Musicians in Shanghai During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976):  An Introduction With Representative Case Study

Yawen Kristen Ludden, M.A.
Chairperson:  Wesley Roberts

This study examines the effects of the Cultural Revolution on musicians in Shanghai from 1966 to 1976.  The process used by the Chinese government to promote its political ideology are explored with a focus on its effects upon the course of musical activity, music education, and representative musicians as they responded to the dramatic changes on society during the period.

            The interpretation of the Cultural Revolution has become one of the central issues in understanding Mao Zedong, the Communist Party, and China.  Shanghai has been the largest metropolitan city in China in the 20th century and has generally been considered the most culturally advanced in the country.  It was an important center for music during the Cultural Revolution, with half of Jiang Qing’s “Eight Model Operas” composed there.

            Aspects of musical life in Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution are brought to light through a series of case studies involving well known and relatively unknown musicians of the period, including several Western-style orchestral musicians and conservatory music educators, and a Chinese music composer.  Summary introductions to the Communist Party, Mao Zedong, political and musical leaders in Shanghai, and Chinese musical aesthetics are included.  The development of taking music to the masses, especially through the newly popular accordion, and the condemnation of the piano are chronicled.  Lastly, the impact of the Cultural Revolution on educational reform is addressed.

            The author conducted the study through personal interviews and correspondence with prominent musicians who were active in Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution, enhanced by her own experience as a native Shangainese.


Significant Women in early Twentieth-Century Brazilian Music

Josevania Machado da Silva Santos, M.A.
Chairperson: Dr. Wesley Roberts

This thesis seeks to emphasize the great contribution of Brazilian women composers, performers, and educators in the field of music in early twentieth-century Brazil.  Although male Brazilian composers had already been recognized in Brazil and Europe for their works, female composers and performers were virtually unknown.  Influenced and encouraged by male composers, they were in search of recognition for their achievements in composition and performance of classical and Brazilian folk and popular music. 

            In this study, the author has surveyed the social, cultural, and economic background of Brazil during the late ninetieth century and early twentieth century, identifying changes which made it possible for women to gain attention and recognition in Brazilian society.  Particular attention has been given to Chiquinha Gonzaga, Lucília Guimarães Villa-Lobos, Magdalena Tagliaferro, Bidú Sayão, and Carmen Miranda, with additional comments on lesser-known, yet significant, female musicians.

            Sources include biographies, memoirs, commentaries, reference works, and, occasionally, the Internet.  Most information is based upon reports from people who were influenced through the teaching or knowledge of these women.

            This thesis consists of nine chapters featuring the efforts of Brazilian women who made significant contributions in the development of music in Brazil, the country where the author was born.