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Assistant Professor of Music Theory Completes Doctorate

  • September 2013

Dr. Daniel Monek, Department Chairman

"Dr. Yorgason has been a wonderful addition to the music faculty at Marietta and over the past three years has brought numerous enhancements to the theoretical study that is such an essential part of our music curriculum. The entire department celebrates his accomplishment and looks forward to his many future successes as a theorist and as a teacher."

Dr. Brent Yorgason, assistant professor of music theory at Marietta College, successfully defended his dissertation at Indiana University on August 11, 2009. His dissertation is entitled “Expressive Asynchrony and Meter: A Study of Dispersal, Downbeat Space, and Metric Drift.”

Dr. Yorgason comments about his work, “In my dissertation research, I wanted to write something that was both accessible and meaningful to performers and ordinary listeners, not just to music theorists. Many of the concepts that I discuss here have not been previously examined by other music scholars—most notably, the relationship between expressive asynchrony in performance and the perception of meter and the beat by listeners—so I had to invent a lot of my own terminology and analytical methodology. I think that this work will be a valuable asset to performers as well as music theorists and will open up some new directions for research.”

The members of the dissertation committee were highly enthusiastic about the project and encouraged Brent to consider publishing this research as a book. His wife Sarah, who accompanied him to the defense, stated that “this is the wonderful culmination of many years of hard study and work. I am very proud of him.”

“The completion of doctoral studies is a significant milestone in the life of any academic as it is not only the completion of formal study, but the beginning of a lifetime of research and teaching,” says department chairman Dr. Daniel Monek. “Dr. Yorgason has been a wonderful addition to the music faculty at Marietta and over the past three years has brought numerous enhancements to the theoretical study that is such an essential part of our music curriculum. The entire department celebrates his accomplishment and looks forward to his many future successes as a theorist and as a teacher.”

Dr. Yorgason is in his third year of teaching in the music department, and his courses include theory, composition, aural skills, jazz history, and orchestration and arranging.

Nick Geibel Receives Summer Fellowship

  • September 2013

Nick Geibel, a senior music education major, was chosen to participate in Marietta College's Investigative Summer Fellowship Program for 2009. Working directly with music composition professor Dr. Brent Yorgason and modern language professor Dr. Janie Rees-Miller, Nick's project was to compose a choral piece based on modern Middle Eastern modes in an ancient Egyptian text. Nick chose a text from the Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead (also known as the Book of Going Forth by Day) which contains spells and prayers to ensure safe travels for the dead in the underworld. When asked why he chose a language that has not been spoken for three thousand years, Nick said, “I wanted to expose people to a language they might not ever have exposure to, and to pique some interest in a history and culture that does not exist anymore.” The piece is entitled Going Forth By Day and is a four-part choral work with percussion. Nick said the most difficult challenge in composing in an ancient language was “working with the vowels, because in the text the vowels were assumed and no one really knows how the vowels were pronounced.” He worked with Dr. Rees-Miller to translate the hieroglyphics individually and set the text to a Middle Eastern mode. According to Dr. Yorgason, “Nick wanted to preserve some of the rough edges that Western ears experience when listening to Middle Eastern music. In this composition, he has attempted to blend these unique Middle Eastern rhythmic and melodic procedures with Western harmonies and textures.” The piece will be premiered by the Marietta College Concert Choir under the direction of department chairman, Dr. Daniel Monek during their fall concert series. Their fall concerts are October 22 at 7:30pm at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Parkersburg, WV and Friday, October 23 at 7:30pm at the First Presbyterian Church in Marietta, OH.