Honors Program

Fine and Performing Arts Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Alison Deadman, Kenton Coe

Thesis Professor Department


Thesis Reader(s)

Scott Koterbay


As a music student who was always more attracted to the “academic” side of music rather than the performance side, I have come to hold a great respect for music history. This interest only grew when I got the opportunity to study music for a semester in Edinburgh, Scotland. Being surrounded by so much history, both musical and artistic, only fed my passion. I began to notice many similarities between the development of music and art both during lectures at the university and in my leisure time in galleries. I noticed that composers and visual artists in the same time period would hold similar beliefs or thoughts, therefore similarities could be found between the two art forms. Oftentimes, I would come across a composer whose compositional techniques were directly influenced by an artist and/or vice versa. I became interested in this type of cross-pollination in music and soon began to ask myself the question “Have the development of art and music always been influenced by each other? How many composers were inspired by art?” When it came time to begin my honors thesis, I decided to address this topic. So, I chose to explore this type of cross-pollination in music and, in conjunction with this research, create my own musical composition based on a work of visual art of my own choosing. Specifically, I wanted to look more carefully at the technique composers had used historically to connect their pieces of music with particular pieces of visual art. I therefore chose several art-influenced compositions to examine how the music expresses the art.

In the first chapter of my thesis, I discuss the problem of turning spatially existing art into a temporally existing composition and explore several compositions in which the composers chose to construct a musical narrative as an approach to this challenge. In the second chapter, I revisit the problem of turning art into music but instead explore a different set of compositions that overcome this issue using a ‘snapshot’ technique. In the third chapter, I take a look at ekprasis as a technique used to translate abstract art into music and focus on how one composition in particular expresses the artwork. The fourth chapter is a journal discussing the art I have chosen, the stages in my compositional process, and how I used what I learned from my research to create my own composition. I have included the score of my composition as the fifth chapter.

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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