El Salon Mexico Copland Analysis

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  • Topic: Orchestra, Concert band, Aaron Copland
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El Salón México by Aaron Copland: A Study and Comparison of the Orchestral Score and Two Transcriptions for Band

D.M.A. Document Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Musical Arts in the Graduate School of The Ohio State University

By Erika Kirsten Svanoe, M.M. Graduate Program in Music

The Ohio State University 2009

DMA Document Committee: Russel Mikkelson, Advisor Hilary Apfelstadt Richard Blatti Daryl Kinney

Copyright by Erika Kirsten Svanoe 2009

Abstract Aaron Copland completed the orchestral score to El Salón México in 1936 marking a turning point in his career. The piece received more performances in the year following its completion than any of his previous orchestral works. It was well received by both critics and audiences due to his focus on melody and shift in thinking towards using the “simplest possible means” to make the music more accessible to the listener. Mark Hindsley completed a band arrangement of El Salón México in 1966 that included numerous changes to the meter and rhythmic notation found in Copland’s orchestral score. The author conducted a comparative analysis of Copland’s published orchestral score, the El Salón México manuscript materials, Bernstein’s arrangements for piano, and Hindsley’s transcription for band. This investigation sought to determine why Hindsley chose to include metric alterations that differ from the orchestral score, and how he decided what meters would be appropriate. The study of Copland’s manuscript materials of El Salón México revealed that Copland simplified the meter and rhythmic notation after the composition was complete. These rhythmic alterations were completed during the orchestration process in an effort to make the piece more performable. Much of Copland’s original conception of rhythmic notation, that appears in his manuscript sketches, also appear in Bernstein’s piano arrangements. In addition, many of the alterations Hindsley utilized were similar to the


metric and rhythmic notation in Bernstein’s arrangements. In some sections of the music, Bernstein’s and Hindsley’s notation more closely match Copland’s original conception of rhythmic notation than the orchestral score. The comparative analysis also revealed Hindsley’s scoring techniques, including heavy doubling, unnecessary changing of wind instrument timbres and numerous changes to meter and beaming. The author created a new arrangement for band that restores all the orchestral meters and modernizes the instrumentation and orchestration. The intent was to provide today’s conductors the option of using a transcription more closely related to the published orchestral score.



Dedicated to my husband and closest friend Erik Evensen.


Acknowledgements I would like to thank my teachers at the Ohio State University for their help and guidance in completing this project, including my committee members Hilary Apfelstadt, Daryl Kinney, Richard Blatti, and especially my advisor Russel Mikkelson who proposed the idea for project and guided the work throughout the process. I would also like to thank him and the Ohio State University Wind Symphony for their preparation of my arrangement that resulted in a wonderful performance. Thank you to Philip McCarthy from Boosey & Hawkes, and James Kendrick and Jessica Rauch from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music for assisting with the various permissions needed to complete this project. I would also like to thank the librarians at the Library of Congress for their assistance, particularly Loras Schissel for mailing a copy of a necessary manuscript. Finally, I’d like to thank my family for all of their support the past three years. I need to give a special thank you to my husband Erik Evensen, who has been my greatest supporter.



January 26, 1976................... Born, Janesville, WI, USA 1999...................................... B.M.E. University of...
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