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Seventeenth-Century Musical Settings of II Samuel 18:33

Megan Jennifer Kaes ('08), Catherine McGee ('07), Donna M. Di Grazia

This project investigates the phenomenon of compositional modeling in settings of II Samuel 18:33 written by 13 seventeenth-century English composers: Thomas Weelkes, Thomas Tomkins, Michael East, Robert Ramsey, John Milton, Elias Smith, Giles Farnaby, William Bearsley, Richard Dering, and four anonymous composers. These settings seem to have been composed within a relatively short period of time, an unusual occurrence that has led several musicologists to suggest that the pieces were probably written in 1612, in response to the death of Prince Henry. However, significant musical similarities between the settings as well as the an initial text phrase, “When David heard that Absalom was slain,” which is absent from the biblical text, suggest that the pieces cannot have been written concurrently in 1612. Through careful examination of the music, original manuscript sources, and secondary literature, we have found evidence that these pieces were written over a period of at least a decade, and perhaps longer (ca. 1609-1625), and have established a potential scheme for how they may have emerged over this period. Our conclusions refute the general belief among scholars that these pieces were written for Prince Henry and call into question the accepted chronology of several important seventeenth-century manuscript sources.
Funding provided by: SURP (NEH)

Film and Television Scoring

Brendon Lewis Randall-Myers ('09), Jonathan Miller

This summer, I have worked with Jonathan Miller, who, in addition to teaching the electronic music studio, also writes and produces music for film and television. Day to day work has included audio/video synchronization, sound production/recording, mixing, sound design, and composition. My biggest project has been to write and record a good deal of the music for a documentary Jon took on as a free project. I have worked mostly in two programs, Digital Performer 5 and Live 6, the former for orchestral work and the latter for pop and genre pieces. Audio/Video synchronization has been in Final Cut Pro, although we have focused more on music production. The basic process of scoring a scene involves placing markers at important points in the video file, then using those markers for both the tempo of the piece, but also for changes in mood, instrumentation and melodic/harmonic character. The music must fit the scene closely in style and mood, and finding the right character the piece is often harder than anything else. My results are 5 orchestral pieces and 10 pop/genre pieces, closely watched over and approved by Jon for use in a documentary that will hopefully air sometime in 2008.
Funding provided by: SURP (Richter)

Research at Pomona