Laura Sheils, A Comparative Analysis of Irish Contemporary Choral Composers' Innovative Approaches to Text-Setting (MA, Dublin City University, 2021)

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 Author:  Sheils, Laura 
 Title:  A Comparative Analysis of Irish Contemporary Choral Composers' Innovative Approaches to Text-Setting 
 Degree, institution:  MA, Dublin City University 
 Status, year:  accepted, 2021 
 Volumes, pp., etc.:  1 (79pp.), 15271 words 
 Supervisor(s):  Dr Barbara Dignam 
 General specialism:  Musicology: Analysis 
 Content, timeframe:  2019-2021 
 Content, key terms:  Concepts:
Genres, instruments: 
Choral Studies; Contemporary Composition; Text-setting Analysis.
Seán Doherty; Rhona Clarke; Eoghan Desmond; Eoin Mulvany; Michael Holohan; Siobhán Cleary.
Choral Music; A Cappella

This dissertation centres on the comparative analysis of six Irish contemporary choral composers’ innovative approaches to text-setting, engaging with the compositional techniques applied by each composer to convey their personal interpretation of poetic texts. Through compositional analysis and text-setting analysis, the musical structure, compositional elements, and vocal style within works are examined in light of the explicit text(s) set by the composers. This research highlights the intricate relationship between music and text and the idiosyncratic capacity of choral music to personify a text’s meaning, imagery and emotions. Irish contemporary composers have been daring in their text-setting, extending the boundaries of conventional choral writing to narrate a text. Their musical language not only reinforces the text(s), but extends to its deeper meaning through their manipulation of poetic form, word- painting of individual words and their phonetic components, as well as their mimetic presentation of the overall poetic mood. Through their innovative approaches to text-setting, today’s Irish choral composers have produced challenging, engaging works which represent the high artistic quality of Ireland’s choral music, as well as our rich culture, literature and tradition of story-telling.