Joan Tower is a contemporary American composer who born on Sep.6, 1938 in New Rochelle, New York. She spent much of her early life in South American. She became known for her first orchestral composition, Sequoia, a tone poem which structurally depicts a giant redwood from trunk to needles.

Tower's style is of the 20th century, and the 21st. The rhythm and melodic flow of her music are very flexible, not limited by tonality or time signature, and her orchestration encompasses a wide range of tone colors.

屏幕快照 2014-04-26 下午3.13.58


Red Garnet Waltz is written in 1977. It  is a morden piano piece has so many coloful Debussy's chords and does not follow ABA, the traditional waltz form. Rather, the Red Garnet Waltz can be divided into three parts, ABC. All three sections start in 3/4, the traditional waltz meter. Tower then shifts from 3/4 to 3/8 in order to change the "beat" of the section. Using two different meters, she creates contrasts of temperament and mood.

Tower enjoys the conflict between consonance and dissonance in this piano piece. She portrays the two different elements of the mineral garnet - hard-edged and sparkling. A common feature of the writing is the use of dossonances on long-held notes.

All three sections emply two different ideas: a slow, sustained passage and rapid, rhythmical passages. 

Audio link:  


Kara Huber- Joan Tower Holding a Daisy from No Longer Very Clear03:33

Kara Huber- Joan Tower Holding a Daisy from No Longer Very Clear

Holding a Daisy is another piano piece written by Tower. It can be divided into three parts, and those parts determined by rhythmic motives. Tower vreats stark contrasts in these three sections. The beginning is very calm and mysterious, gradually evolving into a more active motion. Like Red Garnet Walts, rhythm plays an important part through the whole piece. Tower emplys temop, meter, dynamic and texture changes to produce a certain effect  in her music.


For me, Joan Towere's music has excellent quality. Her music has her own particular sound and it is modern in tonality and straightforward in compositional structure.

Work CitedEdit

Jone Tower:

“Joan Tower and the Clarinet: An Examination of her Compositional Style and a Performer’s Guide to Rain Waves (1997) and A Gift (2007)”

The Musical Language of Joan Tower: An Energy Line Analysis of Island Prelude For Oboe And Wind QUartet.

Red Garnet Waltz Audio link:  

"Kara Huber - Joan Tower: Holding a Daisy from No Longer Very Clear". Youtube Video. Uploaded Oct. 19, 2012. Posted by “Kara Huber”. Accessed April 26,2014.   

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