The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees one’s self of the chains that shackle the spirit.
— Igor Stravinsky (1942)

My research on Stravinsky has two distinct strands: compositional process as relating to his style as a composer and his use of scalar materials.


Stravinsky's Compositional Process

My interest in the composer's compositional process began with my master's thesis, which used Stravinsky's opera The Nightingale as a case study to model the stylistic transition around 1908-1914 where he shifted from reflecting his teacher Rimsky Korsakov to a more individuated style seen in The Rite. In it, I used sketch studies to gain insight into this stylistic transition as well as his working methods at the time. Future research will expand on this, looking at some of the often overlooked intervening pieces such as the Three Japanese Lyrics


Stravinsky's Polyscalarity

My second interest lies in defining the composer's use of polyscalarity. I am particularly invested in exploring Stravinky's use of so-called octatonicism. This interest led to the paper presented below at the Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic. The basic premise it is as follows:

Most established analytical analytical traditions view Stravinsky’s work entirely in terms of octatonic and diatonic interactions, often ignoring notes in order to fit the music into these two collections. Tymoczko’s 2002 study, however, revealed the ambiguity of scalar affiliation that exists within any set of pitches, showing that Stravinsky’s music is better understood as exhibiting polyscalarity, rather than simply diatonic and octatonic collections. My work expands on this, showing how multiple scalar collections—often projected through various textural layers—within Stravinsky's music are combined together on the musical surface in order to project a larger scalar collection on a higher level. This explanation allows for a better understanding of Stravinsky's so-called octatonic collections that often contain an extra note.

I am also working on a project that was born out of the above paper examining how Stravinsky constructs his scalar collections from small-scale pitch class sets. This project draws on Richard Parks's genera to construct a theoretical framework for Stravinsky's octatonicism. 

Articles in Progress

"The allegory of Stravinsky's The Nightingale: The Real nightingale as a bridge between two worlds" (2017) 


Conference papers

"Exploring Polyscalarity in the Music of igor stravinsky: discerning surface- and deeper-level scalar collections"

  • Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic (2014)(Abstract) (Handout
    • Winner of the 2014 Dorothy Payne Best Student Paper Award

"Duality in igor Stravinsky's Compositional Process As Seen in The Nightingale (1908-1914)"

  • Allegheny Chapter of the American Musicological Society (2010)
  • Boston University Music Society Graduate Student Conference (2010)

Master's Thesis

"Dualities in igor Stravinsky's Artistic Process as Seen in The Nightingale (1908-1914)"

  • Completed in 2011 at The Pennsylvania State University under the supervision of Maureen Carr (PDF