Doctor of Musical Arts Dissertations


Contextualizing Traditional Influences within Romanian Contemporary Music: Stylistic Elements in Selected Works for Solo Flute by Doina Rotaru, Violeta Dinescu, and Carmen Carneci

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Contemporary Music

First Advisor

Conor Nelson (Advisor)

Second Advisor

Thomas Mowen (Other)

Third Advisor

Ryan Ebright (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Mikel Kuehn (Committee Member)


The geographical positioning of the Carpathian-Danubian-Pontic area has been at the crossroads of multiple cultures since the dawn of civilization. Because of this premise, Romanian music had a lot of influences from the Balkans and the Middle East, developing in diverse, original, and profound ways. Its location also allowed political influences of the Habsburg, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman, and Russian empires to dictate the economic development of this territory, affecting its culture and society.

Despite all external influences, the foundation of Romanian music remains deeply rooted in the Byzantine tradition (through the Orthodox church), the folkloric tradition (with its orality), and the legacy of the previous two centuries. This legacy was based on the Western tradition and owes its inspiration to the musical pioneers of the 19th century, to George Enescu and world class intellectuals leading up to 1945, and to the resistance of artists during the communist period.

This dissertation presents study cases of four works written for the flute by Doina Rotaru, Violeta Dinescu, and Carmen Cârneci. These composers represent the Romanian school of composition during the communist period and thus, a generation of sacrifice. Their music belongs to the Romanian musical culture through its ethos, through the melodic character of their works, and through the stylized traditional elements that these works integrate.