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Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program



Roland Jordan, John Perkins, Orland Johnson


English (en)

Date of Award


Degree Type

Restricted Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


In this study the Rite of Spring is treated as a rhythmic form in which the elements, including pitch, orchestration, dynamics, motivic relationships and timbre, are all seen as functions of the rhythmic structure. The author first approaches the work descriptively and includes a consideration of the listener's experience. Using this approach, the Rite is treated as a series of rhythmic stages with varying levels of intensity. Juxtaposition of these stages creates the form. For purposes of analysis, the dances are placed into categories based upon similarities in rhythmic profile. A detailed analysis of the dances in Part I, particularly the Introduction and "Danses des adolescents" is followed by the discussion of the relationship between the dances of Part I and II. The study also includes a brief comparison of the nature of rhythm and form in the Rite to aspects of 18- and 19th-century Western art music, selected examples of jazz, and music of West Africa and Bali. Also discussed are characteristics of Russian folk music that may have influenced Stravinsky's particular compositional choices.


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