Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Martha Councell-Vargas

Second Advisor

Lauron Kehrer

Third Advisor

Joanna Sblendorio


Birdsong has been widely used throughout western classical flute repertoire. However, the detailed similarities behind the flute’s sonic properties, the compositional techniques used, and a work’s specific corresponding birdsong are not clear. In comparing three birdsong-inspired works to spectrograms of corresponding recordings of the Northern Cardinal, Common Blackbird, and Eurasian Skylark, many similarities and differences emerged. The use of grace notes and flutter tonguing can portray birdsong with some accuracy. However, the compositions studied often lacked accuracy in the size of intervals in melodies or trills as well as overall speed of the gestures being mimicked. Many of these inaccuracies were intentional due to the flute’s frequency range being far below the corresponding bird’s frequency ranges. However, greater use of techniques like trills between non-adjacent notes and varying speeds of flutter tongue may be implicated in future compositions of birdsong-inspired works for the flute.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted