Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Music (MMUS)




The purpose of this paper is to look historically at the life of Ned Rorem and analytically at one of his compositions. Rorem was born in Richmond, Indiana, in 1923, but was raised in Chicago. He studied at the Curtis Institute (1943) and at Juilliard with Virgil Thompson and David Diamond (1944). In 1949 after winning a Fulbright scholarship, he worked with Honegger in Paris. Rorem has been a very important composer and writer. Among his many important compositions is A Quaker Reader, which is a multi-movement organ work made up of eleven pieces. Inspired by the composer's Quaker upbringing, each piece is prefaced with a quote from a member of the sect. Rorem wrote this work in 1976 after being commissioned by Alice Tully to compose -an extended organ work to be performed on the Kuhn organ in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. In the selection process, two pieces from A Quaker Reader have been chosen to be analyzed. The first, "There is a Spirit" will be descriptively analyzed as to tonality, motivic sequences and canonic melody. The second piece, "First-Day Thoughts" will be analyzed with techniques as described in Allen Forte's The Structure of Atonal Music. Examples of Kh/k set complex and similarity relations allows for analysis· of significance in this piece. Then, specifically, complementation, inclusion, and invariance can be explored s to its significance related to the piece.


A THESIS EQUIVALENT PROJECT Presented to the Department of Music and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Music (MMUS) University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1994 Jill L. Billingsley.