First Advisor

Landry, Dana

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This study primarily describes the Haitian méringue from a historical analysis and a collective musical analysis of digital editions published from 2016 to 2020 that include previously unavailable piano compositions from Haiti’s first composers. Secondarily, this study clarifies the performance practice of innovative rhythmic notations from Haiti and Puerto Rico to indicate a relaxed syncopation of the tresillo-based five-beat syncopated rhythm. The history of the development of the méringue involves the creolization of mainly European and African dances. Comparison with compositions of origin dances reveals common structures between them. The European salon style inspired these Haitian compositions that resemble Romantic Period salon music for listening entertainment away from the dance floor. The setting of the innovative rhythmic notations in these works questions the performance practice of an elastic execution in supporting rhythms, as opposed to the common paradigm of only a flexible melody, and whether these two elements of background and foreground should have an independent treatment to preserve cross-rhythms and the original style with African-derived drum ensembles.


171 pages

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