Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Niah Donnelly 

BA [Hons] Creative Music Production

I am a composer and keyboard player with a background in classical piano. I focused on performance by choosing the practice pathway - taking lessons in keyboard accompaniment, taking part in group performances with my classmates and developing my interest in singing. In my final year I focused on composition and went back to my roots in classical music to study "Impressionist" piano music, with the aim of inspiring contemporary compositions. I currently play keyboard and backing vocals for live shows for Ezra Williams and would love to be more involved in the live music scene in the years after completing my degree.

Project Description

The objective of this research is to discover the theoretical, compositional techniques found in the music of female composers of the early twentieth century in order to spark inspiration for three original contemporary pieces of music. Two pieces by Lili Boulanger were selected to be analysed and compositional devices were defined within. These compositional devices were employed to create three pieces of music which were then analysed under the same system of analysis to discover if old techniques can still be relevant today. The project is worthy of study as it analyses the features of a classical era that was groundbreaking at the time and influenced the trajectory of both classical and non-classical music for decades after. The project is viewed through a feminist lens, with the secondary aim being to highlight relatively unknown pieces and female composers whose accolades were stunted by a patriarchal musical society.

Thesis Title

Analysing and Recontextualising Musical Impressionism: Can the Works of Female Composers of the Early Twentieth Century Be Used to Inspire a New Generation?