Music, School of


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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 Carolyn Barber. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2011

Copyright 2011 Clifford N. Towner


This study is an update to the 1978 thesis of Acton Eric Ostling, Jr. and the 1993 replication study by Jay Warren Gilbert. These two studies explore a process for evaluating specific compositions, from a selected list, against a set of ten criteria defining serious artistic merit. This study reevaluates those compositions that met the criteria in the previous studies, as well as those compositions that were within ten points of meeting the criteria in the previous studies. Additional compositions, especially those composed since 1993, are also included.

The study utilizes eight procedures for accomplishing its objective, including defining the ensemble, setting parameters for the types of compositions to be evaluated, formulating a method for creating an expansive list of included compositions, and selecting expert evaluators. In all, a list of 1,680 compositions, using 589 compositions from the previous studies as a foundational core, were evaluated in this study. The core included the 362 works from the Ostling and/or Gilbert studies that met the serious artistic merit criteria.

These 1,680 works were evaluated against the ten criteria defining serious artistic merit that were created in the original study by Ostling. A select panel of wind-band literature experts, using a modified five-point Likert scale, rated the list of compositions. From this data, 144 compositions were identified as meeting the criteria for serious artistic merit while being known to at least a majority of the evaluator panel. A further 161 compositions met the criteria but were only known to a small number of evaluators. An additional 188 compositions were also distinguished because they were known to at least a majority of the panel and were within ten points of the serious artistic merit delineation. Finally, comparisons are made between the three studies, and eighty-nine compositions are proposed as a beginning core foundation in the wind-band repertory on account of having met the serious artistic merit criteria in all three studies.

Adviser: Carolyn Barber