David Halliwell

Mentor: Andrew Denning, Assistant Professor, History

Shifts in Tone: The Effects of the First World War on Classical Music

My research explores how the First World War affected the lives and compositions of three of the best- known composers who fought in the conflict, English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, French composer Maurice Ravel, and Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg. The war affected the lives and compositions of these three composers in significant, enduring, and diverging ways. The sharp differences in their compositional reactions to the war are primarily due to previous compositional style and differences in wartime experiences such as extent of military service and traumatic events that paralleled the war. Despite unique differences, there is a positive correlation between the breaking down and editing of tonality and the way in which composers reflected on the war. More broadly, the war also led to compositions that were characteristically darker, more somber, and dedicated to the injured and deceased.

Major: History & Political Science
Study Abroad: Italy


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