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Finale 2002 - [M O G new, submit]2003
The Dissertation Committee for Seil Oh certifies that this is the approved version of the following dissertation:
The Man of God for Orchestra:
A Descriptive Analysis
A Descriptive Analysis
The University of Texas at Austin
in Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements
August 2003
to the Memory of Rev. Samuel Kim
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my academic advisor, Dr.
Donald Grantham, for guiding me in working on this dissertation. I am grateful to
him for his patience and warm encouragement in reviewing every detail of this
dissertation for an extended period of time. I am also much indebted to Professor
Dan Welcher, who guided me as my composition professor. I am especially
grateful for his help in bringing me to understand professionalism as a composer.
He taught me invaluable techniques and strategies employed in writing this
composition, without which this dissertation could not have been done. I also
thank Dr. Russell Pinkston, Dr. David Neumeyer, Professor Jeff Hellmer and Dr.
Thomas O’Hare for their careful reading of this dissertation and for their
invaluable comments.
I wish to thank Dr. Kevin Puts for teaching me orchestration techniques and
Dr. Robert Cuckson of the Mannes College of Music for allowing me to
experience his wonderful composing technique. Their strong support, friendship,
and encouraging comments were greatly helpful in the completion of this
I would like to thank all my friends who encouraged and helped me on this
project. I want to express my special gratitude to Jeremy Cumbo, who proofread
the analysis portion of the dissertation and provided insightful suggestions. I am
also indebted to Chris Staefe, who solved many technical problems that I faced in
the computer engraving of this score. I want to thank John Lato and Per Bloland
for their help with my doctoral recital, and Younghwan Yeo, Seunghee Ha,
Heaseung Oh, Yi-Chen Wu and Emily Zizza for their friendship and support.
I could not have done this work without the dedication and support of my
parents, Kyung-hwan Oh and Bok-im Kim. Also, no words could sufficiently
express my thanks to and respect for my wife Mijung Ban. Her dedicated love,
sacrifice, and support made this dissertation possible, and she gave me strength to
get through this work.
Finally, I am deeply indebted to the late Rev. Samuel Kim, who spiritually
took care of me and motivated me to write the composition through his sermon.
August, 2003
A Descriptive Analysis
Supervisor: Donald Grantham
“The Man of God,” based on the biblical story of David, is an orchestral
piece in one movement. The composition is scored for a standard large symphony
orchestra, and is approximately fifteen minutes in duration.
This is my first attempt to compose a programmatic piece in the Romantic
aesthetic. I did not try to describe every detailed event, even though the music
follows the basic story line. David’s story is the basic source of this composition,
but it is expressed in abstract musical language.
The analysis portion of this dissertation discusses the composition’s main
themes, pitch organization, harmonic and rhythmic materials, and its formal
Pitch Organization................................................................................................. 21
“The Man of God,” based on the biblical story of David, is an orchestral
piece in one movement. The composition is scored for a standard large symphony
orchestra, and is approximately fifteen minutes in duration.
The title, “The Man of God”, which refers to King David in the Bible,
comes from a sermon of Samuel Kim. Kim was the senior pastor at the Korean
Baptist Church of Austin and passed away in the summer of 2000. His sermon
was based on David’s life. It inspired me very much and motivated me to
compose this work.
The composition is a symphonic poem, which, according to the Harvard
Dictionary, is a type of nineteenth and twentieth century orchestral music based
on an extra musical idea, either poetic or realistic. The symphonic poem, also
called tone poem, belongs to the general category of program music, representing
its most recent and sophisticated embodiment. Usually the term is reserved for
compositions in one movement, in contrast to the program symphony.
This is my first attempt to compose a piece in the Romantic aesthetic,
expressing an extra musical idea. However, I did not try to describe every detailed
event, even though the music follows the basic story line. The story is the basic
source of this composition, but it is expressed in abstract musical language.
The instrumentation of this composition is as follows: one piccolo, two
flutes, two oboes, one English horn, two clarinets, one bass clarinet, two
bassoons, one contra bassoon, four horns, three trumpets, two trombones, one
bass trombone, one tuba, one timpanist, three percussionists, one harp, and
The analysis portion of this dissertation discusses the composition’s main
themes, pitch organization, harmonic and rhythmic materials, and its formal
The formal structure of the composition works in conjunction with a
number of parameters - thematic, rhythmic, timbral, and textural - but it is mostly
articulated by the story line of David’s life. The form of this composition can be
divided into six sections in large scale: Introduction - Section A - Section B -
Section C - Section D - Coda. There are short transitions between the main
sections. The form in large scale is as follows:
Introduction (mm. 1-33)
Transition to Section A (mm. 34-44)
Section A (mm. 45-137) – The appearance of David being anointed as
King by Samuel
Transition to Section B (mm. 138-142)
Section B (mm. 143-291) – The battle against Goliath, fighting him in the
name of God
Section C (mm. 306-362) – David’s singing with harp
Section D (mm. 363-475) – The conflict against King Saul, David finally
becoming King of Israel
Coda (mm. 481-528)
Each section is divided into subsections, which are indicated by small
The introduction is divided into two subsections: a (mm. 1-16) and a′
(mm. 17-33). The first subsection (a) is composed of four elements: long
sustained tones in the strings, rhythmic motive in percussion, scale material based
on octatonic scales in woodwinds, and fourth chords in brass. The second
subsection (a′) is a repetition of the first section, but it is more extended and
develops to a climax from measure 29 to 33. It has the same elements as the first
half, but it contains higher pitches in strings and brass, more voices, more
complex rhythmic polyphony in woodwinds, and louder dynamics. The
introduction does not contain any specific story point, but it creates a chaotic
feeling and exposes some important musical elements, such as the rhythmic
motive and the fourth chords.
The transition to the first major section (A) is composed of three-voice
counterpoint: a long sustained pedal tone (E flat), and two different lines in the
violins. This transition is designed to smoothly move from the introduction to
section A. Through this section, the tension and energy built up in the
introduction are released, and the music is smoothly connected to Section A.
Section A is divided into two subsections: a (mm. 45-88) and b (mm. 89-
137). In the first subsection (a), violas and cellos, over repeated tones in the bass,
play long chordal passages based on fourth chords. The harp sparsely joins to play
the fourth chords. The first chordal motive, three chords from measure 48 to 53, is
employed as an element of transitions in later sections. The atmospheric and
pastoral mood of this subsection is a preparation for the appearance of David.
In the second subsection (b), the theme of David is presented in solo flute
from measure 90 to 99 over repeated notes played by horns. The pastoral flow is
interrupted by a chaotic sound mass (mm. 100-108), which comes from the
introduction. This is inserted as an interruption to avoid too simple musical flow,
as well as to achieve coherence in formal structure. After the sound mass, the solo
oboe starts to play the theme again, along with a counter melody played by
English horn in measure 112. Then the cellos take over the theme, and the first
violins imitate the melody in canon while the bass parts play the counter melody.
Woodwinds start to play fourth chords derived from the first chordal section as an
accompaniment in measure 125. The main theme is extended and developed,
arriving at a forceful chord in measure 134. In terms of texture, while the first
subsection is homophonic, the second subsection is melodically and rhythmically
polyphonic; it is composed of four-voice counterpoint, and different kinds of
rhythms are simultaneously used, creating a rhythmic polyphony.
In measure 136, the percussion begins to play the rhythmic motive, and
then the transition to Section B occurs. The transition features a rhythmic unison
based on the rhythmic motive. At the same time, three trombones play the three
chords derived from the chordal motive (mm. 48-53) against the rhythmic unison.
This music proceeds to Section B, which is the battle scene.
Section B depicts the battle between David and Goliath. It is divided into
eight small subsections: a (mm. 143-180), b (mm. 181-192), c (mm. 193-212), b′
(mm. 213-233), d (mm. 234-251), c′ (mm. 252-264), e (mm. 265-276) and f (mm.
The B section is more focused on rhythm than the preceding sections. The
subsections can be classified according to their basic rhythmic unit: a and c are
based on triplets; b, b′, d and f are based on sixteenths; and subsections c′ and e
are a mixture of both of these two rhythmic units.
In subsection a, two main themes, those of Goliath and David, are
presented. The theme of Goliath appears in trombones, clarinets and bass clarinet
on the repeated triplet rhythms (mm. 147-155). Then the varied theme of David is
played by the woodwind section (mm. 159-168). Here, the low trombones
represent the strong, powerful Goliath, while high woodwinds represent the small
boy David. From measure 166 to 175, the theme of Goliath is restated in the first
trombone and the second trumpet, and then the bass parts play a bass line derived
from Goliath’s theme (mm. 172-175). By way of the rhythmic unison, the music
progresses to subsection b. Here, the fast running passage based on sixteenth-note
rhythms played by the strings is noticeable. It is derived from the scale gesture of
the woodwinds in the introduction. Musically, it plays an important role as a
driving force for the entire piece, as well as for this battle scene. In the battle
scene, it is also designed to create a more tense and energetic mood, as well as to
give the music more rhythmic variety contrasting with the dominating triplets.
The simple varied fourth chords presented by the horns (mm. 185-192) recall
those by the brass section in the introduction. Subsection c begins with a strong
pure brass sound with lines derived from the head of Goliath’s theme (mm. 193-
200). These lines are presented in canon. Then high woodwinds play an ostinato
pattern based on its tail. All the instruments play this material within a sparse
texture with strong initial attacks. In measure 213, subsection b′ appears with the
fast running sixteenth-note passage. From measure 223 to 229, the fragmentary
fast running passage is played along with the rhythmic unison based on the
rhythmic motive. Then the dynamic diminishes as it moves into subsection d.
Here, the piccolo plays David’s theme, with other supporting voices in oboe and
clarinet accompanied by the soft and fragmentary fast running passage in the
strings. Also, the fragmentary rhythmic motive moves into the percussion. In
measure 242, the first trumpet takes over the melody, with the counter melody in
the horn, moving into subsection c′. From measure 250 to 257, fragments of
Goliath’s theme in trombones are played with glissandos against David’s theme.
In subsection c′, the same elements from subsection c are used: high triplet
ostinato, and fragmentary strong bass along with the fast running passage in the
strings. The music then proceeds to a more extended rhythmic tutti section
(subsection e). The three trumpets play David’s theme strongly against the entire
orchestra, and then the scene where David kills Goliath with a stone occurs
(subsection f). This section depicts David striking Goliath and Goliath’s death,
with the slapstick in measure 285 representing the death blow. From measure 288
to 294, the trombones play a descending chordal passage that represents Goliath’s
death, and then the transition to section C occurs.
The transition to section C consists of the chord progression based on the
chordal motive from measure 48 to 53. The passage by three soli violins creates a
delicate mood going into the soft and peaceful Section C.
In contrast to the previous section, section C is very soft, harmonic and
peaceful. It is divided into three subsections: a (mm. 306-333), b (mm. 334-346)
and a′ (mm. 347-362).
Subsection a is introduced by two static voices with grace notes played by
English horn and bass clarinet over sustained chords in the strings. The fifth
chords then appear in strings and harp in measure 313. Over the fifth chords, the
piccolo plays a long solo passage which contains many grace notes, and then a
similar passage is presented by the solo clarinet. Basically, the melodies are
derived from that single static note decorated with grace notes. After exposing the
solo passages, solo woodwind instruments begin to perform each melodic line
over solo harp accompaniment in subsection b. Each melody contains the melodic
figure of David’s theme. This gesture, melodies accompanied by harp, represents
David’s singing and playing his harp in a peaceful mood. Independent melodic
lines in different woodwind instruments make this section contrapuntal, whereas
subsection a is homophonic in texture. In subsection a′, the same melodic and
harmonic material reappear. The same melodies which were exposed in
subsection a in English horn and bass clarinet in the low register (mm. 307-311)
are repeated in solo oboe and solo clarinet in the high register (mm. 352-356). The
fifth chords conclude this peaceful section. In overall form, this section is
musically significant because the tension built up in the previous section is
released, and the musical flow is smoothly connected to the next section, which
contains tense and uneasy situations.
Section D tells the story of the conflict between King Saul and David and
contains the most important climax of entire piece. It is divided into three
subsections: a (mm. 363-405), b (mm. 406-448) and c (mm. 448-475).
In subsection a, the theme of Saul is exposed in the clarinets from measure
368 to 375. Other important musical elements are dry and uneasy rhythmic
gestures played by pizzicato string bass and woodblocks, and long sustained tones
used for contrast to the detached and dry rhythmic figure. After exposing the
theme, David’s melody is played by the flute (mm. 373-380). These melodies,
based on the two themes, are contrapuntally developed over the rhythmic bass. In
measure 395, due to the rhythmic part with meter changes, tension is increased
and the music moves into subsection b. The tempo of this subsection is faster (a
quarter note equals approximately 110) than the previous one, and as a driving
force, continuous sixteenth-note rhythms are used. Saul’s theme, begun in
clarinets and piccolo in measure 403, is taken over by horns. This melodic figure
is transformed into David’s theme, played by trumpets with vigorous string
accompaniment containing fourth chords. From measure 420 to 430, the
woodwind section loudly plays Saul’s theme, and the music moves into the last
conflict scene between Saul and David. From measure 439 to 448, trombones
strongly play Saul’s melody against a fragmentary version of David’s theme over
an uneasy, strained background of violas and cellos. Finally this leads to
subsection c, which contains the final climax beginning in measure 448. Getting
out of the conflict scene, trumpets and trombones triumphantly play David’s
theme in canon. Then strings take over the melody and develop it by sequence in
preparation for the climax. The climax, beginning in measure 461, consists of
long tones played by strings containing fragmentary motives from David’s theme,
and big chords played by the full orchestra. In terms of dynamics, this part has the
loudest intensity; all instruments play fff.
The transition to the Coda is almost the same as the big rhythmic unison,
which already appeared as transitions between previous sections.
The Coda is divided into three subsections: a (mm. 481-499), b (mm. 500-
510) and c (mm. 511-528).
Subsection a consists of three elements derived from previous sections:
fast running passages in the strings, repeated notes in the bass parts, and the
fourths in the brass section. Here, the fast passages in the strings come from the
battle scene, but the rhythm is in augmentation. The repeated bass is from Section
A, but it is in much faster tempo and is more dynamic. The contents of the fourth
chords in the brass are almost identical to those in the introduction.
In subsection b, the varied form of David’s theme derived from Section C
(mm. 319-326) is presented for the last time in piccolo over the soft, fast running
passage in the strings before the loud and noisy ending of subsection c. The fourth
chords, with crescendo in the brass section, lead into the last section. The last
section is composed of materials from the battle scene centering on the passage in
sixteenth note rhythms. Here, all woodwinds play the fast running passage,
driving the music to the end, and other instruments add intensity with fast
repeated notes. All instrument conclude with the very loud dynamic (fff)
increased by a crescendo.
The Three Main Themes
In this piece, there are three important main themes, which represent the
characters David, Goliath, and Saul. The most important one is David’s theme,
which is presented in the flute from measure 90 to 99 (Example 1).
Example 1. David’s theme
The theme is composed of two ideas. Its first half is centered on a chord in
fourths. The second half outlines a triadic figure. The first half with the fourth -
chords represents his spiritual aspect, and the second half stands for human
aspects of David. Those two harmonic aspects in the theme also affect the
harmonic structure of this piece. This theme appears throughout the entire piece
as the basis for variations. David’s theme is restated in the oboe (mm. 112-118)
after the interrupting element (mm. 100-111) with a counter melody in the
English horn. Then strings take over the melody, and the theme is developed in
long phrases. In the second section, called the battle scene, the theme appears in
varied form and is adjusted to fit the fast tempo. The first presentation appears in
the whole woodwind section from measure 159 to 168 (Example 2).
Example 2. David’s theme in the battle scene
In the middle of the second section, David’s theme appears in the piccolo in soft
dynamics with other counter melodies over fast running strings (mm. 234-247).
From measure 267 to 276, three trumpets triumphantly play the theme in very
loud dynamics against the rhythmic unison in tutti. (Example 3)
Example 3. David’s theme with rhythmic unison section
From measure 319 to 347, several melodies are presented in woodwinds over harp
accompaniment, which represent peaceful singing after the battle. The melodic
figures, decorated with grace notes, are derived from the theme of David
(Example 4).
Example 4. The melodic figures derived from the theme of David
In the fourth section, the theme appears in the flute in varied…