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The symbolism of death in Arnold van Wyk's Five Elegies : an application of William Kimmel's theory concerning the Phrygian inflection.

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Arnold van Wyk (1916 - 1983) frequently referred to the extramusical concepts of the elegiac, and of mournfulness, introspection and death when describing the intended content of his works. The import of these concepts seems to have been a constant element spanning his entire oeuvre. In this dissertation, William Kimmel's theory concerning the Phrygian Inflection and the Appearance of Death in Music is applied to Van Wyk's Five Elegies for String Quartet. Kimmel's theory is applied to the following parameters of each of the Five Elegies: melody, harmony and structure. In addition. the elements of rhythm, pulse, texture and timbre are investigated. Since Van Wyk often linked the concepts of death and protest, an interpretation of the work as music of protest is included in the final chapter of the study. It is concluded that Kimmel's theory has substantial--although not conclusive--validity in terms of the work under study. It is moreover possible to trace the inflection's presence through the parameters of pulse, rhythm, texture and timbre. In the absence of specific indications by the composer of the substance of the intended protest, observations in this regard are of a speculative nature.


Thesis (M.Mus.)-University of Natal, Durban, 1991.


Van Wyk, Arnold, 1916-1983. String quartets., Van Wyk, Arnold, 1916-1983--Criticism and interpretation., Death in music., Theses--Music.