Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Document Type


Date of this Version



Thesis (M.M.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1950. Department of Music.


Copyright 1950, the author. Used by permission.


The purpose of this paper is the analysis and suggested solution of some of the technical problems involved in the singing of music written in the idiom of the twelve-tone technique.A resume of accepted vocal practice in vocal homophony and polyphony constitutes the first section of the paper, beginning with the liturgical chants of the ninth century and progressing chronologically to the end of the nineteenth century.Examples have been chosen which illustrate both the style of a given period and the progress within it. The latter section of the paper is devoted to a suggested solution of the problem of interval production in modern music, with the recommended use of the Hindemith system of interval evaluation as expressed in the second volume of the CraftofMusicalComposition.

A most significant conclusion to be drawn from this survey is that there is a trend of vocal music away from the realm of the traditional major-minor idiom, toward the complete independence of the free chord. It is the opinion of this writer that this “new” harmonization of a given melody accounts for the difficulty which the singer finds in singing modern music.

A second conclusion which seems obvious is that while almost everyone agrees as to what is pure consonance, eg. the fifth and octave, many disagree as to relative dissonance.It seems that, while we have retained the idea that the interval of the perfect fifth is still the strongest and most satisfactory cadence device, we have begun to disagree with the traditional harmonization of that interval in its dominant to tonic usage.The obvious point to be made is this; we should be trained to sing at sight with equal facility any and every interval of the chromatic octave.Regardless of its feeling of consonance or dissonance, the interval itself is the important thing, in its relationship to the melody of which it is an integral part.

Advisor: Donald A. Lentz