Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art & Design


Ned Rorem is a contemporary 7-\merican composer. Despite the increasing amount of music he has contributed to the music scene, he is relatively unknown. At the time this paper is being written, information about his life and his work is scattered and limited. One purpose of this paper is to consolidate, clarify and correct pertinent personal data about Mr. Rorem. Much of this data has been collected from recent writings by the composer and personal correspondence between Mr. Rorem and this writer.

A second aim of this paper will be to clarify Rorem's philosophy concerning the role of music in the life of the layman and the artist. Contemporary music is following many different and conflicting paths. Of the diverse paths available to the contemporary composer, Rorem has deliberately chosen the path which is most closely associated with those composers who are eclectic in their selection of material. This is in contrast to those composers who invent new instruments with which to create music.

song composer must be conscious of text. Contemporary composers are faced with the difficult task of finding contemporary poems which are compatible with the style of song. An aim of this paper will be to examine the texts of Rorem's songs. By so doing it will be possible to determine how he has solved this particular problem.

Mr. Rorem has created many fresh, beautiful songs. The final aim of this paper is to examine some of his songs and to analyze some cf the song writing techniques employed by him. This paper will deal primarily with those songs which he composed between the years 1948 and 1958. Mr. Rorem lived in France and Morocco during these years.

As has been stated, it is an aim of this paper to examine some of the songs composed by Rorem during his French years. By so doing it is hoped that we can clarify the means whereby he has combined traditional and contemporary techniques in creating his songs.