Thoughts on Modern Music: Serialism
in Roberto Gerhard's First String Quartet

Rachel Mitchell, University of Texas at Austin

Roberto Gerhard's idiosyncratic use of the twelve-tone method is well documented in his writings. His compositional design sheds light on more pertinent issues such as his position regarding the early use of hexachordal combinatoriality, his views on the tonality of the twelve-tone system, the serialization of non-pitch parameters, and the compositional importance of the twelve-tone set. These issues reflect the influence of his teacher and mentor, Arnold Schoenberg, as well as Gerhard's own exposure to avant-garde music as president of the International Society of Contemporary Music (ISCM). Providing examples from the third movement of Gerhard's first string quartet, this paper will explore his views on the state of music composition at the dawn of the modern era.