Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Creative Arts


School of Music

Committee Chair

Peter Amstutz

Committee Co-Chair

William Haller

Committee Member

Howard Jackson

Committee Member

James Miltenberger

Committee Member

Ju-Hyeong Park


"Down by the Riverside" and "Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues," by Frederic Rzewski (1937 - present), are the third and fourth ballads, respectively, of the four that comprise his North American Ballads, completed in 1979. These two pieces are often performed together, without the first two ballads, perhaps because they seem to appeal to a wider audience, due to Rzewski's incorporation of familiar musical elements including folk music, jazz, blues, and improvisation.;These are impressive works which require a high level of skill from the pianist; this may also contribute to the frequency with which they are programmed for performance in recitals and competitions. Progressive music from our own time is often overlooked by performers beacuse it can be farfetched and exclusive and can sometimes alienate listeners. However, the purpose of this research is in part to encourage pianists, particularly collegiate piano students, to perform contemporary works such as these, because they can appeal to most listeners.;This research project addresses the following crucial topics related to these works: First, there is a biographical disscusion of the composer from his childhood through the 1970s, when the North American Ballads appeared. Included in this biography is a discussion of the background of these pieces, the folk music incorporated in these works, and how this familiar material can appeal to the public. The primary focus of the research is a pedagogical discussion of "Down by the Riverside" and "Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues," with suggestions by the author and others for learning and performing these works.