Title page for ETD etd-12022011-233544

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Sheppard, Marilyn
Author's Email Address marilynsheppard@gmail.com
URN etd-12022011-233544
Title The music of architecture
Degree Master of Architecture
Department Architecture
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Piedmont-Palladino, Susan C. Committee Chair
Emmons, Paul F. Committee Member
Holt, Jaan Committee Member
Ritter, James William Committee Member
  • elements
  • classical elements
  • four elements
  • foyer
  • notation
  • sheppard
  • marilyn
  • waac
  • sublime
  • hall
  • concert
  • concert hall
  • instruments
  • piano
  • Air on the G String
  • Bach
  • Bruckner
  • architectural
  • music
  • architecture
  • musical
Date of Defense 2011-12-28
Availability unrestricted
Music, as a performing art, transports us to distant moments and spaces than those we are in the present time. A hundred musicians playing Bruckner’s Scherzo on Symphony No. 7 could make us feel emotionally moved; it could make us feel joy, anger, anguish, delight, peace, fear, freedom. Music has the ability to change our mood, to make us go through a series of feelings. This, I believe, has to do with how it involves you in it.

Arthur Schopenhauer also says: “The effect of music on the mind, so penetrating, so immediate, so unfailing, and also the after-effect that sometimes follows it, consisting in a specially sublime frame of mind, are explained by the passive nature of hearing just described”3. This penetrating component of music, so immediate, of which Schopenhauer speaks, is how the Sublime is experienced through it. Music could even elevate the soul of those who are most open to perceive it.

What is that “sublime” moment that happens when you are listening to a live orchestra and get moved by the experience? Are we capable of achieving that moment through the use of architectural elements alone? I believe the answer is yes.

There is more to the moment than just the music itself, and that a “sublime” moment can be experienced in many contexts. There are elements that are common to this experience, primarily the presence of the Four Classical Elements.

With this in mind, I came to the idea that by including Air, Fire, Earth and Water into my project, then I would be a step closer to having the users go through a sublime experience.

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