Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Fine Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Noemi Lugo

Second Advisor

Dr. Dieter Hennings


David del Puerto’s first three sonatas for solo guitar are large-scale, multi-movement works in a style that is at once strongly guitaristic, and highly refined with regard to harmony, melody, rhythm, and form. Del Puerto completed all three sonatas in 2015, a considerable milestone for a composer who had never before published works in this form for solo guitar. The sonatas represent a consolidation of the composer's recent style: the synthesis of modal, pandiatonic, and twelve-tone harmony; references to folkloric, popular, and classical musics; and a lucid, immediate approach to both surface rhythm and larger formal structures.

Since the development of the six-string classical guitar around 1800, the solo sonata has been an important part of the repertory. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the guitar sonata has proven to be an enduring form, continuing to be a vehicle for musical expression and displays of compositional prowess. The Spanish musical tradition is strongly associated the guitar. However, contemporary Spanish composition remains under-represented in Anglophone classical music scholarship. Similarly, the music of Del Puerto’s generation (including Jesus Rueda, Jesus Torres, José María Sánchez Verdú, et al.) has yet to gain a wide audience among non-Spanish guitarists.

After early successes in the modernist idioms of his teachers Francisco Guerrero and Luis de Pablo, Del Puerto began to develop a new style. The guitar has played a central role in the evolution of this style. The strong grounding in standard classical technique evident in Del Puerto’s guitar music is partly a result of Del Puerto’s extensive performance experience.

The analyses of the sonatas focus on the composer's approach to form: it is primarily sonata form that distinguishes these works within Del Puerto's output, and groups them together as a cycle. I examine the salient rhythmic, harmonic, melodic, and motivic characteristics of each work. I also explore how the sonatas interrelate through direct quotation and oblique reference. Finally, I address performance issues in each of the three works. While Del Puerto rarely employs extended technique, the demands on the performer are considerable in each sonata.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)