Author Identifiers

Sean Hayes
ORCID: 0000-0002-3533-919X

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Music Honours


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

First Advisor

Dr Matthew Styles


There is a significant body of academic writing on long-entrenched traditional chamber repertoire for the saxophone, both in the form of creative outputs (saxophone repertoire and études) and traditional academic writing (practical methods, journal articles, and dissertations). In contrast, the aggregate research output existing on “contemporary-classical” music for the saxophone is comparatively small. This research endeavours to contribute to the lesser-studied field, by providing an exposition on saxophone usage in the works of Graham Fitkin (1963-), an internationally recognised composer known for his music which demonstrates a variety of more recent styles, including post-minimalism, jazz and heavy influence from popular music. The study explores Graham Fitkin’s artistic process or processes and the construction of his pieces, the reasons for his use of saxophones in his music, what his usage of saxophones entails from a technical perspective, and examples of such factors in three selected works. The study employs a qualitative research methodology incorporating literature review, a semi-structured interview with Graham Fitkin, and supplemental compositional analysis of three works (Stub, Hard Fairy, and Torn Edge). The research identified three key approaches that Fitkin employs in composing his music and discusses these approaches in the context of three saxophone works, exploring related techniques, considerations, and effects. This research is intended to aid saxophonists in their study, interpretation, and performance of Fitkin’s saxophone works, by bringing to light aspects of musical design and Fitkin’s use of saxophones to achieve them.

Access Note

Access to the appendices of this thesis is not available.

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