Award Date

December 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



First Committee Member

Alfonse Anderson

Second Committee Member

Joe N. Bynum

Third Committee Member

Linda Lister

Fourth Committee Member

Tod Fitzpatrick

Fifth Committee Member

Kenneth Hanlon

Number of Pages



The purpose of this document is to evaluate Dorothy Rudd Moore’s Sonnets on Love, Rosebuds, and Death through a performance analysis, and to discuss the significance of the Harlem Renaissance in relation to the song cycle. Moore used seven reputable poets from the Harlem Renaissance to compile this song cycle. The poets are Alice Dunbar Nelson, Clarissa Scott Delany, Gwendolyn Bennett, Langston Hughes, Arna Bontemps, Countee Cullen, and Helene Johnson. A few of them were a part of the core group that spurred this powerful movement. The Harlem Renaissance was a flourishing time in American history when African Americans felt the liberation to express themselves through the cultural arts. This document is comprised of: an historical overview of The Harlem Renaissance, the life and works of the poets, a biographical sketch of the composer, a detailed performance guide of the music, and a conclusion based upon the text in connection to the song cycle.

After World War I, many African Americans who were living in the southern states decided to migrate to the northern states to find a better life. This transition is known as the “Great Migration.” Many African Americans settled in Harlem, New York, where they could find jobs, education, and social advancement. Out of this movement grew the advancement of African- American artists, poets, musicians, playwrights, and dancers. As an African -American female composer, Dorothy Rudd Moore was able to capture the essence of these poets in her music, being only a generation apart from the founders of the movement. The performance aspect of this music can be challenging, yet rewarding in many ways. As a woman of color and a classical singer, I believe it is important to discuss the Harlem Renaissance poetry along with Moore’s compositional style and the advantages and challenges in the performance practice of this song cycle.


African American Song Cycles; Harlem Renaissance


African American Studies | American Studies | Music | Race and Ethnicity

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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