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Three Flute Chamber Works by Alberto Ginastera: Intertwining Elements of Art and Folk Music

Breta L Neel, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Alberto Ginastera’s output includes three chamber works containing the flute, all composed within the period of objective nationalism (1934-1947), a designation provided by the composer to encompass those works that present folk elements in an overt manner in a largely tonal framework. Impresiones de la Puna and Cantos del Tucumán, written in 1934 and 1938 respectively, contain salient folk elements and are thus representative pieces of this stylistic period. In addition to folk characteristics, these early works also contain pitch-class sets which serve to unify the pieces, thereby suggesting future elements of the composer’s style. The Duo for Flute and Oboe, composed in 1945, toward the end of the period of objective nationalism, in many respects presents features more in alignment with the subsequent period of subjective nationalism (1947-1958), a period characterized by the subtle presence of folk elements. The use of a twelve-tone series to generate much of the melodic and harmonic material in the Duo, the quartal harmonies, and the neo-classical style suggests a new compositional approach for Ginastera. Yet a closer examination reveals that the Duo shares many of the same set classes with the two prior pieces. In addition, folk elements continue to be present in a subtle manner in the melodic, harmonic, rhythmic, and formal aspects of the piece, often tightly intertwined with the art music elements, such that it is possible to view the same entity from both an art and a folk music perspective. The analyses of the three chamber works focus on salient art and folk music elements, and how these characteristics are integrated to create these pieces. The analyses thus provide a glimpse into Ginastera’s compositional development, as well as revealing facets of Ginastera’s later style that are present in these early works.

Subject Area

Music theory|Music

Recommended Citation

Neel, Breta L, "Three Flute Chamber Works by Alberto Ginastera: Intertwining Elements of Art and Folk Music" (2017). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI10683409.