Date of Award

January 2013

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)



First Advisor

Thomas Couvillon

Department Affiliation



The research presented in this thesis is an examination of processes at work on multiple levels within Phrygian Gates by John Adams. Previous analyses have presented detailed insights in specific areas, including proportion and temporality, closure, and the roles of process and intuition. This analysis draws from elements of other studies, expands upon them, and presents new research in pitch relationships and formal design in order to explore the interaction of those elements with regard to process and to present a comprehensive view of Phrygian Gates.

Chapter 1 discusses Phrygian Gates in the context of John Adams's compositional output and presents a survey of relevant literature. Chapter 2 delves into processes at work on the macro level within the piece, focusing on relationships of sections and modules as well as those procedures that govern key areas. Chapter 3 discusses processes that operate on the micro level within Phrygian GatesPhrygian Gates within the context of Adams's body of work.

Included in

Music Commons