Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Creative Arts


School of Music

Committee Chair

James Miltenberger.


Studying and performing twentieth-century compositions are important for piano students to become well-rounded musicians. This study presents a performance analysis of repertoire from three highly influential American composers: Four Piano Blues (1926-1948) by Aaron Copland, Excursions Op. 20 (1944) by Samuel Barber and Suite de Danzas Criollas Op. 15 (1946) by Alberto Ginastera. Although these works are not the most technically demanding works by these composers, the nationalistic character of the Argentine and American folk melodies and dances; the popular styles of ragtime, blues and jazz; as well as their incorporation into twentieth-century compositional technique will challenge students in their performance approach.;The purpose of this research project is to provide performance and pedagogical suggestions based on stylistic and interpretive analyses. The analyses of these pieces focus on aspects of piano performance, such as the basic technical approach, interpretation suggestions for specific sound production, interpretation of complex meters and jazz rhythms, as well as examinations of pedaling, dynamics, and articulation. Selected aspects of timbre, texture, harmony, melody, rhythm, and form are discussed as they relate to the interpretation and performance of these pieces. It is hoped that this study will help students not only in playing each selected composition, but also in making twentieth-century American music more accessible to interested musicians.;There are four chapters in this study. Chapter I provides an introduction for this research. Chapter II is divided into three parts, with each part reviewing scholarly books, theses, dissertations and journal articles related to one of the selected composers. Chapter III offers suggestions and guidelines for performance as well as an investigation of style elements of the selected compositions. Chapter IV presents a summary, conclusions, and recommendations for further research.