Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Music



Major Professor

Andrew Sigler

Committee Members

Brendan McConville, David Brunell, Andrew Sigler


Saudade is a four-movement work for string quartet with a performance time of approximately 20 minutes. Initially an untitled, single-movement work, it began as an exercise in idiomatic string composition in a quartet setting. After listening to the piece, my wife, Julie, suggested the title Saudade. The word is of Portuguese origin and, although an English translation of the word does not exist, is defined as a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. The idea of a narrative based on different forms of longing became the focus in expanding the work into four movements.The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the ways in which thematic, rhythmic, and harmonic material were used and developed to shape different stages of ‘longing’. I intend to offer a dramatic narrative through all four movements that supports this idea, the profound melancholic longing that is Saudade.

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