Music, School of


First Advisor

Thomas Larson

Date of this Version

Spring 4-22-2019


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 Thomas Larson. Lincoln, Nebraska: April, 2019

Copyright (c) 2019 Wataru Niimori


String Quartet No.1 in G Major is an original composition comprised of four movements: 1st (Allegro Con Brio: a fast tempo with spirit), 2nd (Adagio: a slow tempo), 3rd (Minuet and Trio: a moderate tempo with triple meter) and 4th (Presto: very fast). This four-movement form, in other words, the sonata cycle, was developed during 17th and 18th centuries in Western Europe for instrumental music. It reached its heyday in the middle of the 18th century through the next whole century. Composers in the Classical Period such as Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91) and Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), wrote a large number of solo piano, string quartet and orchestral works employing this form. My musical background and long-term focus on the study of classical music, jazz and film scoring hugely influenced my composition hereupon incorporating the traditional musical language.

The first movement is written with the sonata-allegro form, which consists of an exposition followed by a development and recapitulation with coda. This form, employed in the first movement, was popular among composers in the Classical Period. G Major is the central key of this movement and this lively main theme is introduced in the first two measures, but also frequently appears through the entire movement as variations. The second movement has a solitary mood overall in E minor, applying specific bowing techniques such as sul ponticello. The third movement, starting from minuet in G minor, is thoroughly written with triple meter, 3/4, however, the rhythmic modulation, two against three, occurs. The contrapuntal compositional technique is applied. Trio of the second part of the third movement reflects more jazz vocabulary in harmony and melody, though still using the original theme of this movement. The fourth movement is the grand finale and returns the mood of the first movement. An 8-note motif is introduced in the first four measures of the fourth movement and varied in the exposition and recapitulation of the sonata-allegro form. I was highly influenced by a style of film scoring in writing for strings in the development section: polymeter (7/4) and ostinato.

Advisor: Thomas Larson

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