Music, School of


First Advisor

Tyler Goodrich White

Date of this Version



Amanda McCullough, "The Transmutation of the Immutable Abyss" DMA diss., University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2017.


A DOCTORAL DOCUMENT Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Musical Arts Major: Music Under the Supervision of Professor Tyler Goodrich White Lincoln, Nebraska May, 2017

Copyright (c) 2017 Amanda McCullough


The Transmutation of the Immutable Abyss is a song cycle for a female voice and chamber orchestra, originally inspired by the instrumentation of a community theater pit orchestra. This piece sets eight poems by A. R. Ammons over eight movements. One primary goal of this piece was to combine elements of jazz and contemporary classical music.

The Transmutation of the Immutable Abyss also explores duality along with the combination of disparate elements to create a more complete whole. In a literal sense, jazz and classical elements coexist in varying amounts of prominence. Also in a literal sense, elements of tonality such as clear tonal centers are conflicting with moments of nontriadic, including the fifth movement which is serial. The narrative tells a story of metamorphosis and circularity, reflected in the selected poems of A. R. Ammons. Often the circularity of the text reflects opposing forces, creating again, a sense of duality.

Adviser: Tyler Goodrich White

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