Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Music



First Advisor

C. Curtis-Smith

Second Advisor

Dr. Richard Adams

Third Advisor

Dr. Mattew Steel

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The Mass for Strings, Winds and Chorus was written with two primary purposes: (1) to produce a complete setting of the Ordinary of the Mass utilizing an isorhythmic cantus firmus style, similar to the cantus firmus settings common in the Medieval and Renaissance periods; and (2) to compose this setting in such a manner that it is performable in the environment originally intended for the Ordinary.

The isorhythmic cantus firmus technique of composition was almost exclusively used during the Medieval and Renaissance periods. The technique consists of imposing a rhythmic structure upon a common melody (often from plainchant or folk music), and using this as an inner voice, while all of the other voices are composed around it. It is first found in the Kyrie beginning in the twelfth measure in the alto part. This cantus firmus is then used in various sections in all five movements. The imposed rhythm is not identical in all appearances, but is proportional to the original statement.

The Mass for Strings, Winds and Chorus was written with the amateur church orchestra and choir in mind. The orchestra called for is small, and the parts are written in a simple style, so that competent amateurs will be able to perform them with a little practice.

Included in

Composition Commons