Style and performance considerations in three works involving flute by Joan Tower
Yonce, Tammy Evans
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Joan Tower is a highly regarded contemporary composer who is known for her early serial style and subsequent organic style. Her compositional process is most frequently a collaborative one; a performer herself, she prefers to work with the musicians for whom she is writing. In addition to her Hexachords for solo flute (1972) and Flute Concerto (1989), which are her most commonly studied flute works, she has also written seventeen other chamber or solo works involving flute. This document contains a biography of the composer and an analysis of three chamber and solo works involving flute: Snow Dreams, Valentine Trills, and A Little Gift. A listing of Tower’s chamber and solo works involving flute and an interview with the composer are included as appendices. In addition to identifying formal aspects of the works, specific musical elements that are most salient to each work will be discussed. One of these elements in particular, density, will be analyzed in relation to how it creates or dispels intensity. Tower often employs the same compositional features in all three works to create this feeling of motion versus stasis, which is well illuminated through the analysis of the most salient musical elements.