Date of Award


Document Type


First Advisor

William Pearson

Second Advisor

Harry Brown


Through research, written analysis, and live performance, this thesis will explore the different ways music and literature overlap and inform one another, drawing primarily on the scholarship of intermediality and the pedagogical approach of Arts Integration. As a student of both music and English literature, I am very attuned to the different ways these two forms of narrative already overlap. In my viola lessons, I have often discussed how a musical phrase could be turned into a vivid narrative to help me better understand the music I was performing. I also frequently have noticed musical elements in prose and poetry through structure, theme, and meter. This general curiosity that has been present throughout my undergraduate education has allowed me to question the different ways music and literature already coexist, but more importantly, the ways they can be used as tools for cross-disciplinary creativity.

In this thesis, I rely on the theoretical taxonomies presented by scholars of Intermedialiy, such as musicologist Werner Wolf, and reshape them through an Arts Integration model—an approach to teaching that uses an art form to help teach another subject and meet goals of both—that serve as practical tools for performers, composers, students, and teachers to combine music and literature in innovative ways. This updated, practical framework defines processes for using music and literature as separate entities to inform either an interpretation, a composition, or a pedagogical approach. Because music and narrative already overlap in several ways, such as in poetry, film, opera, and art songs, I am purposefully separating these two disciplines in order to emphasize the Arts Integration model. For example, I analyze both the narrative implications of instrumental music that lacks programmatic or overt narrative cues and the musical structures that arise from texts that are not inherently metric, such as prose. The former allows me to combine a score analysis with an original written narrative that not only informs the performance Rutledge 5 of the music but also reveals cultural assumptions around which the narrative is shaped. Additionally, the latter framework will allow me to analyze examples of musicalized and non-musical literature and use those examples as an improvisatory framework to reveal elements of theme, form, and structure.

The purpose of this project is to use these disparate examples of music and literature that do not overtly overlap and intentionally entangle them in various ways to create pedagogical opportunities, inform musicality of performances, expand possibilities for writing and music composition, and shed new light on musical and literary analysis. The project will include five primary components: a literature review, a theoretical framework, six segments of creative process and production, a demonstration, and a reflective conclusion. The literature review casts a wide net, describing a large range of musical and literary theories that, while not explicitly tied to the intermedial processes described later in this paper, nonetheless deeply informed both the theoretical and practical components of this thesis. The modified framework outlines my personal inspiration for the project as well as establishes a broad foundation of existing scholarship and theoretical frameworks relevant to the project. Each of the six creative intermedial processes introduces scholarly work that supports the process or creative production in some way. I then follow the creative intermedial processes to reach an interpretive, compositional, or pedagogical product. The goal of the demonstration is to highlight the genuine practical usefulness of these methods for incorporating intermedial study into the scholarly study and creative work of musicians and writers. The conclusion reflects on the demonstration component, discusses the overall project process, and implicates future uses and further questions the project creates.