Ursidae: The Undergraduate Research Journal at the University of Northern Colorado

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Carissa Reddick


After the end of the Romantic era of music, one of the most infamous new compositional styles was Arnold Schoenberg’s twelve-tone technique which uses all 12 tones of the chromatic scale to form a set that is then manipulated in various ways to produce an entire piece of music. Quite frankly, the end result is difficult to listen to. Needless to say, twelve-tone technique has since fallen out of popularity. However, some composers have modified the twelve-tone technique to create music that is strikingly beautiful. Samuel Barber is one such composer. His piano piece Nocturne Op. 33 contains twelve-tone compositional techniques, but they is masterfully disguised so as to make the piece easier to listen to and understand. My analysis delves into the piece and uncovers the twelve-tone techniques employed in hopes to introduce the music of Samuel Barber to others as well as foster an appreciation for the piece itself.

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