Date of Award

Spring 4-19-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Music


School of Music

First Advisor

Stephen Lias

Second Advisor

Courtney Carney

Third Advisor

Samantha Inman

Fourth Advisor

Jamie Weaver


This thesis analyzes three early Michael Torke “color” pieces, Ecstatic Orange, Bright Blue Music, and The Yellow Pages. This analysis provides insight into the compositional process of his early works, which continues to define his style today. Torke’s techniques include rhythmic motives and their variations, rhythmic canon, sectioning as the basis of form, and stratification. This thesis also provides an analytical notational device when defining a Rhythmic Canon Sequence or a Rhythmic Entrance Series. Through this analysis I demonstrate that all three pieces share these compositional techniques but are displayed in three very different pieces. I also explore the phenomenon of the golden section in each of the three pieces and describe the formal and aesthetic significance of the moments in all three pieces. In addition to this analysis, this thesis includes an original piece for symphonic band based upon the findings of my research, entitled Primary, Secondary, Tertiary. The title comes from different types of colors and is a tribute to Torke’s color titles. The analysis of my own work parallels the criteria applied to the Torke works.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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