An Analysis of Triadic Post-tonality in Sky Macklay’s Many Many Cadences for String Quartet

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Emerging composer Sky Macklay has written a string quartet entitled Many Many Cadences (2014) which inventively combines the basic operations of neo-Riemannian triadic transformations and voice leading  (e.g., Parallel (P), Leading-tone (L), Relative (R), SLIDE, etc.). Concomitantly, predominant-dominant-tonic, dominant-tonic, deceptive, and plagal progressions, and expected resolutions of active scale degrees (e.g., the leading tone) in the standard cadential formulae of Many Many Cadences are overwhelming. Macklay’s parsimonious voice leading is a systematic consequence of her transformational operations. In fact, Macklay’s harmonic use of ic1/2 voice-leading parsimony may often implicate a contextually fluid voice mapping involving a dual process of inversion. Appropriating Iannis Xenakis’ kinematic diagrams for this study’s own special, non-mathematical use, I will present Macklay’s return to pre-modern tonal expectations as both a literal return to common-practice tonality as well as a triadic post-tonality.  As the first in-depth analysis of any work by Sky Macklay, this detailed study explores the chord-note mapping premise of Macklay’s neo-Riemannianism and its relevance to twenty-first-century musical discourse.

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Last modified on Friday, 08/03/2019

Zane Gillespie

Zane Gillespie is a composer, theorist, scholar, pianist, vocalist, and member of The College Music Society (CMS), The Society for Music Theory, The New Zealand Musicological Society (NZMS), and The Poe Studies Association (PSA). His original research has been published in peer-reviewed journals includingArts, The Edgar Allan Poe Review, Humanities, as well as forthcoming in both College Music Symposium and the proceedings ofLe Neuvième Congrès Européen d'Analyse Musicale (EuroMAC9). His music-theoretical research has been accepted for presentation by The Thirteenth International Music Theory and Analysis Conference 2016 in Rimini, Italy, the 2016 meeting of the NZMS in Hamilton, New Zealand (where he also served as Chair for Session B6 entitled "Composition and the Net"), Mississippi University for Women’s 2017 Music by Women Festival, EuroMAC9 in Strasbourg, France, by the 2017 CMS Southern, Great Plains, Rocky Mountain (where he also chaired Session IX: “The Language of Art”), and Pacific Northwest regional conferences, as well as the Sixtieth National Conference of The College Music Society in San Antonio, Texas. Zane was Chair of the session “Aesthetics and Philosophy” at The Fourth International PSA Conference (2015) in NYC. As a guest speaker at The 2017 American Society for Cybernetics Conference “Resilience and Ethics: Implications,” held in Salem, MA, Zane gave a lecture/recital featuring his Autopoiesis for Piano and two worksfor fixed-media electronics: AURA (Mark II) and DIGILOG Suite. The 2016 CMS South-Central Regional Conference selected his Two Noumenist Poems (duets for soprano and alto vocalists and piano) for performance during Composer Concert 2 of the conference, held at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, TX. Zane’sQuartet for Alto Saxophone and Strings, commissioned by concert saxophonist Walter Hoehn, was performed in Concert V of The Eighth Annual Belvedere Chamber Music Festival (2014), held at Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Memphis, TN. His neo-Romantic music earned him the Nancy Van de Vate Composition Award three times from The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss).  Zane holds degrees from Ole Miss (BM; MM), and The University of Memphis (DMA) where he received The Scheidt School of Music's 2011 Smit Composition Award. Zane lives in Memphis, TN.

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