2012 Student Research Conference:
25th Annual Student Research Conference

Samuel Barber's Hermit Songs: An Analysis of Textual/Musical Connections and Medival Musical Techniques
Curtis J. Worzalla♦
Dr. Warren Gooch, Faculty Mentor

Samuel Barber was a composer whose professional career spanned much of the twentieth century. The Hermit Songs are, arguably, one of his most famous contributions to song literature and demonstrate his mature compositional style. This song cycle is based on texts written by 9th-13th century monks. Evident throughout this work is Barber's ability to masterfully create connections between the music and text. This presentation identifies two primary musical/textual connections (sudden modal and accompaniment shifts on words of importance and narrative changes) and the use of a musical language that recalls aspects of medieval stylistic practices. To better comprehend the musical devices used to make these connections, the following research focuses on three of the Hermit Songs: "I. At Saint Patrick's Purgatory," "III. St. Ita's Vision," and "X. A Desire for Hermitage."

Keywords: Samuel Barber, Song Cycle, Music, Medieval, Contemporary


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 202-3
Location: OP 2117
Time: 10:00

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♦ Indicates Truman Graduate Student
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