Modesta Bor Research
The Art Songs of Modesta Bor (1926-1998)
DMA Essay, May 2018
The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
The purpose of this essay is to introduce readers to the music of Venezuelan composer Modesta Bor (1926-1998) and to provide a resource for the interpretation and performance of her art songs for voice and piano. This study examines Bor’s 29 published art songs for solo voice and piano. Bor’s art songs are notable for the incorporation of Venezuelan folk and popular music, a sophisticated harmonic language, and neoclassical techniques such as ostinato and motivic variation. This essay provides a brief history of Venezuelan music, a biography of Bor, brief biographies of the poets used, original poetic and musical analyses of her art songs, exploring the areas of form, melody, rhythm, and harmony, a discussion of Venezuelan Spanish and the lyric diction appropriate for Bor’s songs. Original poetic and word-for-word translations of the texts, and International Phonetic Alphabet transliterations are included.