Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Music




Dr. Paul Frehner

Second Advisor

Dr. Peter Paul Koprowski


Three Men in a Tub is a one-act chamber opera scored for two tenors, baritone and fourteen players. Ben Charland’s libretto is based on the nursery rhyme, “Rub-a-dub-dub, Three Men in a Tub,” and explains how the three men came to share a bathtub, and why they refuse to leave. Harmonically, the work is based around an application of chords derived from the ten-note chromatic blues scale, the six-note blues scale and its complement. The use of quirky rhythmic motives, unexpected dissonances, and frequent meter changes help depict the amusing, yet somewhat pathetic lives of the three characters. Following an introduction, the piece unfolds in three scenes, all of which contain their own respective musical form derived from dramatic implications in the libretto. Various melodic and rhythmic motives recur throughout the piece, establishing a stylistic and formal continuity. The final scene erupts into a dramatic climax, employing all twelve pitches.



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