When faced with loss, trauma, or any form of tragedy, humans often turn to music as a method of comfort. Not only can music provide solace for the individual, but it also has the power to memorialize. Countless pieces of music from all genres exist with the sole purpose of commemorating lost lives or reflecting on a catastrophic event. Classical music, especially, has been a popular vehicle for memorialization of different deadly events, whether through soothing orchestral melodies, powerful texts sung by choirs, or even unconventional, serial sounds. This paper explores five pieces of contemporary classical music that respond to different tragic events from recent world history. Included in each chapter are overviews of each corresponding tragedy, a descriptive guide to each piece, and theoretical analyses to determine how the composer conveys different aspects of memorialization through music.


Gallagher, Jack




Arts and Humanities | Music | Music Theory | Other Music

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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