Date of Degree

9-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Music

Advisor(s)

Allan W. Atlas

Committee Members

L. Poundie Burstein

Ruth I. DeFord

Barbara Russano Hanning

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | Music | Musicology

Keywords

Puccini, Love Duets, Time, Bergson, Solita forma

Abstract

This dissertation examines the twenty love duets of Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924). It analyzes the ways in which Puccini manipulates poetic-dramatic and musical elements to represent the naturalistic ebb and flow of emotions, reflecting changing cultural approaches to time and the closely related moral controversy between “respectability” and “free passion.” My analysis draws upon two models: the solita forma de’ duetti and Henri Bergson’s philosophy of time. The solita forma principles provide the structural framework for assessing Puccini’s creativity in historical context. Bergson’s philosophy of time provides an aesthetic and experiential framework for illuminating Puccini’s constant quest for a naturalistic emotional and temporal unfolding. The analysis begins with a close examination of characters and dramatic situations, and moves on to the poetic-dramatic structures. Finally, I demonstrate how Puccini’s use of meter, tempo, and key changed over his career, and how the narrative unfoldings of these musical elements and thematic material came to add Bergsonian emotional-temporal depth to the unfoldings of his love duets.

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