Music, School of


An Overview and Analysis of the Solo Piano Works of Vasilije Mokranjac

Boban Martic, University of Nebraska at Lincoln

Document Type Article

This version of the dissertation has been withdrawn. The ProQuest version remains available at
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 Mark Clinton. Lincoln, Nebraska: March 2009. Copyright (c) 2009 Boban Martic.


Vasilije Mokranjac (born in Belgrade, Serbia, 1923, died in Belgrade, 1984) was a Serbian composer whose works profoundly influenced Serbian national music in the twentieth century. He belongs to the generation of Serbian composers who began their studies just after Second World War. After the avant-garde movement in Serbia that lost momentum even before Second World War, composers, perhaps as a reaction to this horrible period in human history, returned to tonality and other traditional forms of classicism and romanticism. Mokranjac belongs to the group of Serbian neo-classic composers who drew upon musical styles of the past as a source of inspiration for their own intensely personal language. Throughout his life, he was a composer who did not necessarily follow contemporary tendencies, but always followed his own ideas. Although academic studies of Mokranjac have been growing in recent years, only a few biographies have been published, along with several articles on Mokranjac’s piano works and books focusing on his symphonic music. This document will provide clearer, more in-depth analysis of his piano works, which will be based on the careful study of the musical score, in addition to discussing external influences. Mokranjac’s piano works demonstrate a profound understanding of the instrument and its technical, virtuosic, and expressive abilities. Many of them also reveal a significant gift for improvisation. This study will also comment on Mokranjac’s contributions to twentieth-century Serbian musical life, particularly with regard to his dual role as a composer and pedagogue.