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Thesis 1

Thesis Title: Stylistic and aesthetic issues in selected piano music of Erik Satie
Degree Type: MPhil
Degree Specialism: Musicology
Supervisor(s): Dr Ita Beausang, Dr Mary Lennon, Mr Paadhraic O Cuinneagain
Thesis Status: Accepted
Date Submitted / Accepted: April 2004
Institution Submitting / Submitted To: Dublin Institute of Technology
No. of Volumes (no. of pages): 2 (Vol. 1 103pp, Vol. 2 99pp.)
Thesis Location / Link: DIT Conservatory of Music & Drama Library
Abstract: The aim of this thesis is to identify and explore the stylistic and aesthetic issues in the piano music of Erik Satie. In order to best achieve this aim, musical and extra musical factors are considered.
Chapter one presents a biography of the composer, detailing important parts of his childhood, and events that were to influence the man and his music. It provides an overview of his compositional career.
Chapter two explores Satieís cultural environment. This chapter puts the composer in the context of the contemporary trends in music in Europe at the time. It outlines Satieís artistic heritage, and how he differed from other composers working at the time.
Chapter three examines a representative selection on the piano works. Each work is approached individually, but subjected to the same processes. In as far as is possible, no preconceptions have been brought to them.
Chapter four collates the information gleaned in the previous chapter. Recurring stylistic and aesthetic issues are identified.
Chapter five focuses on the texts which are an integral part of the piano works. It explores the literary style employed, and the aesthetic concerns presented. Comparisons to the writing of James Joyce and Gerard Manley-Hopkins are made.
Chapter six approaches Satie from a psychological perspective. Here, the Hubert Desenclos method of handwriting interpretations is applied to a sample from Erik Satie. It uncovers the composerís motivations, concerns and personality traits. This chapter also includes a section dealing with doodle interpretation, where the composerís sketches are examined and de-constructed.
The conclusion collates the information presented in all the chapters, and forms a profile of Erik Satie, his concerns and motivations, and the way in which they manifest themselves as stylistic and aesthetic issues in the piano music.

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