Dahlke, Andrew

Committee Member

Reddick, Carissa

Committee Member

Bellman, Jonathan

Committee Member

Zia, Ather


College of Performing and Visual Arts; School of Music


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



161 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


Dorothy Chang’s saxophone works are significant contributions to modern saxophone repertoire. Chang’s music employs multifaceted construction that presents unique post-tonal vocabularies with significant motivic action within traditional frameworks, which creates a dialogue with the past and present. This provides a wealth of interpretive avenues for performers. Nonetheless, there is a lack of scholarship pertaining to Chang and her works. This dissertation’s analytical focus of Two Preludes for alto saxophone and piano (1993), Walk on Water for alto saxophone and cello (2004), and Afterlight for soprano saxophone and piano (2018) initiates the necessary conversation of Chang’s importance as a composer while providing a useful resource on performative and post-tonal interpretation. After tools of general analysis (which includes formal, thematic, motivic, and stylistic consideration) are applied, each piece is contemplated through the lenses of agency and narrative theories, most notably those of Hatten, Agawu, and Almén. This multi-tiered approach reveals how Chang’s three saxophone works possess commonalities of developing variation and simultaneous opposition, which both play integral roles in the cultivation of narrative. Agential roles and narrative can then be traced back through the different levels of analysis to reveal narrative parallelism, which iv reinforces the potential avenues of meaning inherent in Dorothy Chang’s work. Finally, performance suggestions are provided that are grounded in these analytical findings.

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Copyright is held by the author.