Date of Graduation
From the appearance of Amaldeo Roldanâ€™s Ritmica No. 5 and No. 6 in 1930 and Edgard Vareseâ€™s Ionisation in 1931, until the United States involvement in World War II brought a hiatus to the genre, over fifty works for percussion ensemble were published. At the height of this outpouring, two works for percussion ensemble on a similar cultural topic were written, Carlos Chavezâ€™s Xochipilli: An Imagined Aztec Music (1940) and Lou Harrisonâ€™s The Song of Quetzalcoatl (1941). Within Chavez and Harrisonâ€™s titles are the names of two well-known and highly revered Aztec deities, Xochipilli and Quetzalcoatl. Consequently, this project determines to what extent these pieces draw from pre-Columbian Aztec indigenous musical methods, material, and instrumentation. A full analysis of both works identifies the various compositional techniques and musical elements of their respective composers. These components are then examined and compared to Aztec musical characteristics through three strains: (1) Archaeomusicology, (2) 16th century chronicles, (3) Survival in living traditions. Both Chavez and Harrisonâ€™s works are then compared to each other as to the extent of Aztec influence occurring in each, the extent each are representative of nationalistic and regional pieces, and each workâ€™s contribution to the modern percussion ensemble.
Roberts, Shawn M., "Aztec musical styles in Carlos Chavez's â€œXochipilli: An Imagined Aztec Musicâ€ and Lou Harrison's â€œThe Song of Quetzalcoatlâ€: A parallel and comparative study." (2010). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 9659.