The use of limited material to achieve expressive quality in Elliott Carter’s Eight pieces for four timpani
Baxter, Jillian Damitra
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This capstone project is divided into four major sections. Section one offers a brief history of the timpani from their use as military instruments to their twentieth century use as solo instruments with modification to aid increased tuning changes. Section two provides insight into Elliott Carter’s childhood, influences, and writing style with a brief biography. Section three provides an examination of the Six Pieces for Kettledrums written in the 1950s. Section four provides an examination of the two pieces “Adagio” and “Canto” which were included in his 1966 revision Eight Pieces for Timpani when Carter sought to take advantage of the extended tuning capabilities of the instrument. Sections three and four focus on elements showcasing unique qualities not found in compositions of the same time period, such as modulation techniques, interval usage, mallet choices, and special effects. These elements will also be related to how they challenge the performer in their execution of the piece as well as challenge the listener to experience the distinctions of the performance.