Publication Date

Fall 2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Music and Dance


Brian Belet

Subject Areas



String Quartet No. 1, by Jeffrey Scott Perry, is absolute music. It uses unconventional techniques that challenge the interpretations of performers and listeners. Performers treat tempos and phrasing flexibly that yields a different version of the piece with each performance. The structure is Rounded Binary, but is manipulated to be purposefully obscure until the last measures of the piece. This is accomplished by incorporating ideas of motivic development into the overall form. The first four motifs are the source of all subsequent material. Therefore, motivic development is vital to the construction of the piece and becomes a unifying factor between both melodic and formal identities. There is no intentional harmonic progression. This directs the listener to focus on the tension and release that occurs linearly and not vertically. Musical color, without the use of tertian harmony, relies on other music elements such as timbre, texture, tempo, dynamics, and transposition.