Music, School of


First Advisor

Gregory Simon

Date of this Version

Spring 4-29-2022


Douglas, Coral. "The Bleached Bones of a Story." M.M. thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2022.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Music, Major: Music, Under the Supervision of Professor Greg Simon. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2022

Copyright © 2022 Coral Douglas


All ideas stored in our heads are simplistic in nature, or relational to others, which allows for the production of more complex ideas. As is such, small memories supplement beautifully full, yet inherently relational concepts. Small scale ideas are useful to performers (and to audiences), as it is difficult to handle brain capacity overload; it's impossible to multi-task, let alone keep multiple ideas going at once to their fullest, especially when presented with dense new materials. In composing with mental participation for audience members and performers in mind, I propose that composers should create clear formal devices, intend their materials to have memorable purpose, and allow for repetition of material and silence, so that audiences may process and commit materials to memory. Composers should also strive to lessen the effects of performance anxiety and create trigger moments to refresh momentary awareness. Allowing performers’ minds to rest for periods of time has also been proven to improve performance. A composer may also unite certain materials with each other to give new context and afford their audience the ability to emotionally participate with the work. In trying to prove the effects of these methods, I wrote a seven-movement piece that introduces materials, supplies moments of rest and recontextualization, allows for audience and performer emotional self-inserts, and prioritizes playability for performers, in efforts to showcase the importance of the intersection between memory, time, and musical cognition.

Advisor: Gregory Simon

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