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Sketch Book is a collection of short movements conceptually derived from various art forms and definitions associated with the word “sketch.” Sketch In seeks to embody the artistic process of realizing a visual concept into a tangible drawing. To the observer, what begins as separate, abstract lines and shapes coalesces into something beyond the physical medium; the art comes to life. Character Sketch draws on the literary practice of fleshing out the basic profile of a fictional character as part of an author’s preparation for writing a story. I aimed to musically create a complex character with deep and ambiguous traits not readily discernible to the listener. Is the character sinister, or a misunderstood hero, or in denial? A “longer story” is needed to untangle the mystery. Sketch Comedy is a musical depiction of the theatrical art form, whose skits are typically based on the development of a single comedic theme. The music composed for this movement is aimed at expressing a simple conflict between two entities. Police Composite Sketch is a dark portrayal of a witness’s description of a criminal to a police sketch artist. I began this movement by locating an authentic transcribed witness statement given to a police sketch artist, then recording myself reading it aloud, as though I were the witness. I then carefully dictated my reading, adjusting and converting it into a declamatory melodic line subsequently tailored for a solo violin. The movement ends with the suspect still at large. Thumbnail Sketch is substantially shorter and quieter than the other movements, as it portrays the practice of an artist making a small, rough sketch outlining the basic framework for a larger work of art. It functions as a transition between its adjacent movements, but also foreshadows the final movement. Escher Skesch is a return and development of the opening movement's musical character. The title is a blend of two contrasting art elements: A tangible kids’ drawing toy, and the intangible, reality-bending art of M. C. Escher. These two elements meet in an exploration of the impossibility and conundrums of art. As a youngster using a drawing toy, I was unable to realize my ideas because of the device’s inherent mechanical challenges, although I enjoyed the fumbling experience. Escher’s artistic depictions of looping staircases and interlocking positive and negative space could not physically exist in the real world, yet I am captivated by it. Along these lines, this movement’s music revels in expressing the impossible. Sketch Out concludes Sketch Book, relating back to the first movement by contrasting the impetus motivating the sketching. Whereas Sketch In is about the physical manifestation of an idea, Sketch Out seeks to portray an artist’s ravenous inner compulsion to create. Sketch In is externally driven, while Sketch Out is fueled from within. The movement progresses according to the alternative slang definition of its title.
Date of Defense
April 9, 2018.
A Dissertation submitted to the College of Music in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Music.
Includes bibliographical references.
Evan Jones, Professor Directing Dissertation; Alexander Jiménez, University Representative; Clifton Callender, Committee Member; Mark Wingate, Committee Member.
Florida State University
Spotts, A. (2018). Sketch Book. Retrieved from http://purl.flvc.org/fsu/fd/2018_Sp_Spotts_fsu_0071E_14447