Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

A. M. Vazquez-Bigi

Committee Members

Carl Cable, Allen Johnson, Albert Wallace, Michael Handelsman


Many musical works have been based upon Don Quixote de la Mancha, by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Since the publication of the novel in 1605 (Part I) and 1615 (Part II), composers of all eras have sought to translate the story of the knight-errant into the universal language of music. The genres and the musical interpretations have varied. But the interest in Cervantes' masterpiece as a topic of musical expression has endured through nearly four centuries.

After a brief introduction to the references to music in the novel itself, selected Quixote compositions from each century are discussed in this dissertation. Four major musical works have been chosen for specific study -- The Comical History of Don Quixote, the seventeenth century trilogy of musical plays, by Thomas D'Urfey, Henry Purcell, John Eccles, et al.; the eighteenth century orchestral work, Don Quixote Suite, by Georg Philipp Telemann; the nineteenth century symphonic poem, Don Quixote, by Richard Strauss; and Man of La Mancha, the twentieth century musical play, by Dale Wasserman, Joe Darion, and Mitch Leigh. A current chronology of Quixote compositions has been compiled and is placed in the Appendixes. There are also various other tables regarding the musical references in and musical pieces inspired by Don Quixote.

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