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Timbre as a form-building property in the music of Kaija Saariaho

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  • Essay length: 14305 words
  • Submitted: 29/08/2002
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University Degree Music

The first 200 words of this essay...

Timbre as a form-building property in the music of Kaija Saariaho

Candidate number: 22025865

MUS335 Individual Research Topic

MMus Contemporary Music Studies

Abstract

This essay outlines the evolution of Kaija Saariaho's working methods from the 1980s to the present, with particular reference to her own research on timbre and form. Relatively recent music research began to address the need for new formal possibilities to suit the requirements of avant-garde composition. The main focus of this essay is on timbre as a form-building element in Saariaho's music, and her association with psychoacoustics, which examines the ways in which timbral form can be apprehended.

The essay commences with a summary of the historical background to Saariaho's interest in timbre and its relation to "spectral" music. After investigating her work in this field, the essay then examines Saariaho's violin concerto Graal Théâtre (1994) in more detail, to show how the composer's working methods and range of expression have expanded, with a subtle shift of emphasis from timbral concerns towards more linear, melody-led compositions. Throughout the essay, the author locates Saariaho's music in its historical context and circumstances, and looks at her music's relationship to

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