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Title: Contemporary composition for shakuhachi and western instruments : timbral gesturality in the analysis of cross-cultural music
Author: Henderson, Flora
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 6384
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis is about the contemporary combination of the Japanese shakuhachi flute with western art music in the emerging corpus of cross-cultural composition. The research focuses on the composers and their works, their attraction to the distinctive shakuhachi timbre, the musical ways in which they explore this timbre, and their choices of instrumentation. The research also addresses the problem of an analytic paradigm by which we can frame their use of shakuhachi timbre; timbre is notoriously difficult to analyse. Firstly, the thesis reviews international post-war and contemporary composers, and surveys trends in instrumentation, using new purpose-built databases. Secondly, it examines the East Asian timbral context that informs shakuhachi practice. Thirdly, it proposes a new gestural-musicological analytic paradigm with which to analyse the use shakuhachi timbre in individual cross-cultural works. This paradigm draws on Ben-Tal's (2012:251) and Hatten's (2006:8) definitions of gesture, and the respective proposals by Tsang (2002:35-36) and McAdams et al. (2004:157) of timbral rhythm and timbral trajectory. Chapter 1 outlines the context and scope of the study, and an overview of shakuhachi literature. It also contains an outline of literature on timbral and gestural research, the proposed methodology by which these are combined, and a review of survey methods in ethnomusicology. In Chapters 2 and 3, I review the international compositional cohort and survey their instrumentation, while Chapter 4 assesses the timbral context of the shakuhachi. In Chapters 5 to 7, I examine three works by contemporary composers using the analytical paradigm proposed. Finally, in Chapter 8, I reflect upon effectiveness of the surveys in previous chapters in assessing the compositional cohort. I also draw together common shakuhachi timbral themes expressed through the subsequent analyses: depth, flexibility, and range, and reflect upon the gestural-musicological analytical model in analysing this complex timbre.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral