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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 John R. Bailey. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2010
Copyright 2010 Javier A. Montilla


The significance of the works by Venezuelan-born composer Paul Desenne lies in his unique compositional style that incorporates elements of Latin American folk, pop, and traditional music within the framework of the Western European tradition. His works, though easily classified as art music, nevertheless gain much of their emotional and referential meaning through this rich borrowing.

This document focuses on three of Desenne’s flute pieces: the Solo Flute Sonata (2001), Gurrufío for flute orchestra (1997), and Guasa Macabra for flute and clarinet (2003). It provides an analysis of the three works, examining formal, structural, motivic, and rhythmic aspects. Scores and interviews with the composer have been employed as primary sources. Bibliographical material closely related to his music and other secondary sources support this analytical approach. This document also provides an introduction and stylistic discussion of Desenne’s other pieces that incorporate the flute.

Chapter one consists of an introduction to Desenne’s life and general considerations of his musical style. Each of the following three chapters focuses on one the three aforementioned flute works, including information about the composition and premiere of each piece as well as analysis and an examination of its incorporation of traditional folk elements. The final chapter presents an introduction to and stylistic discussion of the other flute pieces by this composer. This study intends to provide a basic understanding of Desenne’s flute music, including general characteristics of his musical style, paving the way for further investigation of Desenne’s music, and flute music in particular.

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