Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Richard Kramer

Committee Members

Norman Carey

Philip Ewell

Geoffrey Burleson

Subject Categories

Composition | Musicology | Music Performance | Music Theory


Medtner, Tales, Fairytales, narrative, Muse and Fashion, conservative


This dissertation delves into the compositional approach of Russian-born composer Nikolai Medtner. A discussion of Medtner’s own words on composition from his book The Muse and Fashion: Being a Defence of the Foundations of the Art of Music is followed by original analyses of four Tales. Focus is placed on the composer’s philosophy regarding the relationship between form and narrative, in association with his expressed warnings of the dangers behind shifting compositional dominance from pure music to extra-musical narrative. The analyses are followed by a discussion of the vital importance of Medtner’s music and writings for future generations of composers. The dissertation aims to illuminate this pertinent message on composition from one of the last classicists of the twentieth century towards the classical scene of today.



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