Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Music




Dr. Peter Paul Koprowski

Second Advisor

Dr. David Myska


Nashaz is a composition for orchestra in two movements lasting approximately 11-12 minutes in duration. It is mainly inspired by the musical language of my home country, Egypt. The word “Nashaz” is an Arabic word with no direct English translation, but conceptually meaning “out of tune” or more appropriately for the affect of piece, “out of conformity” or “out of proportion”. In Nashaz, Arabic modes, which make use of three-quarter tone steps called maqams, are integrated with western musical materials including diatonicism, octatonicism and free atonality to create the harmonic vocabulary in the piece. The first movement applies the lyrical characteristics of Classical Arabic Song to this idea, while the second movement puts the idea in the context of asymmetric Arabic rhythms in a faster tempo. The climax, which is at the end of the piece, is a violent ostinato in a subdivided 7/4 pattern with both additive and subtractive rhythms, with each section of the orchestra fighting for supremacy of its role. Eventually the music crashes into a brick wall. The concept of asymmetry in both rhythmic and pitch content is the heart of the compositional design and has the goal of being accessible to both eastern and western ears.



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