Tin Vi La
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Date of Graduation
Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
School of Music
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) dedicated Le Tombeau de Couperin (1914-1917) to 17th-century French music and his friends who died in World War I. Although the work has an elegiac purpose, its music does not correlate with the common characteristic of an elegiac work. This document investigates the elegiac aspect of this work through the scope of psychoanalysis, philosophy, and the theory of musical equilibration.
The first chapter briefly discusses the history of the "Tombeau" in 17th-century French literature and music. The second chapter compares Ravel's Le Tombeau de Couperin to three pieces titled "Tombeau" written by Johann Froberger (1616-1667), Louis Couperin (1626-1661), and Jean Henry D'Anglebert (1629-1691) in order to demonstrate Ravel's Le Tombeau stands out from those of the 17th century. As preparation for chapter four, the third chapter dwells on the relationship between music and human emotions and three theories attempting to explain this relationship. Chapter four demonstrates how different musical elements from Ravel's Le Tombeau de Couperin evoke feelings of mourning and consolation.
In conclusion, understanding how different musical elements from each movement of Ravel's Le Tombeau elicit mourning and consolation changes how one listens to and performs this fascinating work.
La, Tin V., "Maurice Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin: Human emotions, grief, and the history of the Tombeau" (2023). Dissertations, 2020-current. 103.