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An investigation into narrative as a compositional approach

posted on 05.12.2016, 02:09 by Toppi, Antonio
This folio of seven musical works explores compositional approaches to narrative. Central to this project has been the study of narrative in the literary sense and its musical representation and manifestations. My compositional approach was informed by an understanding of narrative that developed through interdisciplinary readings in literature, literary theory and musicology. The compositions offer a variety of approaches to how non-musical narratives may be expressed in music. Three of the compositions are chamber works for recorder, flute, piano and bass viola da gamba that musically realise stories from Ovid's Metamorphosis. The three theatre excerpts belonging to the musical play In the Beginning .. .In the End .. explore stories inspired by real situations. The accompaniment of these works consists of flute, clarinet in Bb, violin, violoncello, keyboard and percussion. The voice is incorporated as either a soloist, in a quartet or in a choral group. The seventh work is an electronic realisation of the personal narratives of my four grandparents' lives in Italy during and post World War 2, and travel to Australia in the 1970s. The seven compositions are accompanied by a critical commentary that provides insight on narrative in both the literary and musical senses, and the musical influences that have guided my investigation. Details on my compositional techniques are included to outline how narrative has been worked into my approach.


Principal supervisor

Thomas Reiner

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music

Degree Type


Campus location



Faculty of Arts