Exploring Alberto Ginastera’s Piano Compositional Styles in His ‘Objective Nationalism’ Period (1934-1947)



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Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983) was one of the most famous Latin-American nationalist composers of the twentieth century. He divided his compositional styles into three periods, which are ‘objective nationalism’ (1934–1947), ‘subjective nationalism’ (1947–1957), and ‘neo-expressionism’ (1958–1983). In the “objective nationalism” period, Ginastera was influenced by Béla Bartók (1881-1945) and Aaron Copland (1900-1990), and he applied Argentine traditional folk elements in piano works. This study examined the composers and folk elements that influenced Ginastera and led to the formation of his keyboard musical style of ‘objective nationalism.’ The dissertation explores how Ginastera was influenced by Bartók and Copland from four aspects: harmony, melody, rhythm, and texture, and illustrates the Argentine dance rhythms and features of folk music that he frequently applied, innovated, and adapted in his piano compositions. Musical examples and some harmonic analyses are provided. The conclusion drawn from the analysis is that Ginastera did not just imitate these composers’ styles but gradually established his own musical styles by synthesizing elements of these composers’ works into his own compositions. Even though Ginastera applied some elements of traditional dances and musical characteristics directly in his works, he was not attempting to replicate Argentine folk songs or dances but adapting and using new harmonies and compositional techniques to bring the new sounds to his works.