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Stylistic combination and methodical construction in William Duckworth's Southern Harmony

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William Duckworth's Southern Harmony is an extended work for unaccompanied choir in which minimalist procedures are used to interpret and adapt specific tunes from rural American shape-note music. Duckworth's adaptive processes both amplify and obscure features that are salient in the shape-note tradition, as exemplified by William Walker's The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion . In Southern Harmony , Duckworth separates melodies, notes, and chords from their shape-note context, and processes them with methods foreign to the shape-note style. Because of this, Southern Harrmony can be perceived both as an evocation of its source and as a background for compositional technique. The shape-note tunes simultaneously function as the subject matter and as the foundation for technical manipulation.
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Keywords: Southern Harmony; William Duckworth; William Walker; minimalism; post-minimalism; shape-note

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Minimum Security Composers Collective

Publication date: 01 January 2001

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