Document Type


Date Created



Core to Western music education curriculum is the teaching and history of “word painting,” or text expression particularly as it pertains to the sixteenth-century madrigal. This approach to text expression is explored primarily through the lens of melodic and harmonic movement through a vocal line and the manner in which the line allows for better portrayal of the text or poem. The purpose of this thesis is to take a new approach to text expression in contemporary choral literature through the viewpoint of rhythm and meter. In this thesis, various analytical techniques from decades past and present are applied to Jake Runestad’s 2015 choral work Come to the Woods, composed of text samplings from naturalist John Muir. The thesis explores rhythmic and metric analytical methods outlined by Harald Krebs, Christopher Hasty, Wallace Berry and Godfried T. Toussaint and applies them to Runestad’s choral work, subsequently demonstrating the distinct purpose each method possesses for the utmost portrayal of Muir’s text.


Rhythm; meter; choral music; text painting; mathematics; metric dissonance