Marimba Quartet #1 ~ Saṃsāra is an exploration of my interest in rhythmic structure. The ideas are derived from Miles Okazaki’s album Mirror and David Lang’s cheating, lying, stealing. I also express my own aesthetic, that music should have a balance between catchiness and artistry. The difference between composition and improvisation is not only the latter’s spontaneity, but the former’s repeatable experience. If the key element of improvisation is the non-repeatable, one-time experience, composition should be a repeatable experience. This means that if a piece is not requested or cannot stand multiple experiences, it loses its value. The reason legendary classical and jazz composers are valuable is not only the quality of their compositions but also their popularity. There are numerous unknown or little-known great composers in each era. The difference between the legends and unknowns is their notoriety. Composers should not pursue only catchiness and popularity but should also consider the importance of those. I do not mean that catchiness and popularity is the most important factor in composition, but it is essential in the long historical viewpoint. I also focused only on musical activities and not on visual/entertainment components. I am not opposed to visual/ entertainment elements, but I believe that visual gestures should be related to music and that music should be able to stand alone without the visual/entertainment aspect. Marimba Quartet #1 ~ Saṃsāra features compositional ideas based on the analyses of Miles Okazaki’s album Mirror (“Theme I” and “Howl”), and David Lang’s cheating, lying, stealing. Rhythmically, it focuses on cyclical structures, permutation, glitch, and stretch as well as odd groupings over common time. Harmonically, cyclical progressions and slash chord theory with a unique adaption of pentatonic, and unconventional scales are employed. This supporting paper contains: 1) analyses of Okazaki and Lang’s rhythmic concepts; 2) application of extracted ideas from these works to my own composition; 3) a discussion of the rehearsals, performance, and the recording/video shooting session; and 4) final thoughts on the overall project and my moving forward as a composer and scholar.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. December 2018. Major: Music. Advisor: Alex Lubet. 1 computer file (PDF); xiv, 211 pages + 2 supplementary audiovisual files.
Expressing Rhythmic Structure in the Compositional Process, Marimba Quartet #1 ~ Saṃsāra ~.
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