Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Date of Award

January 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Karl Braunschweig


The Art of Scoring for Improvisational Theater draws on traditions whose origins are obscured by the fog of History and Myth. With no prior plan, a musician is tasked with providing accompaniment that creates or reinforces mood, era, location, or genre. Through such accompaniment, a musician reads and activates nodes in a semiotic network, to generate context, subtext, or both. Drawing from sources in Semiotics, Multimedia, Marketing, Sociology, Artificial Intelligence, Film Music History, Theater, Music Theory, and Musicology, as well as interviews with an array of Participants and the Author's personal experience, this paper seeks to articulate a framework of musical understanding that is uniquely in-the-moment, yet ever-present.

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