Silence and the performer in the flute works of Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996)

Kenny, Alexis Fleurina (2006). Silence and the performer in the flute works of Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996) MPhil Thesis, School of Music, The University of Queensland.

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Author Kenny, Alexis Fleurina
Thesis Title Silence and the performer in the flute works of Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996)
School, Centre or Institute School of Music
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2006
Thesis type MPhil Thesis
Supervisor Perry, S.
Collins, G.
Total pages 45
Collection year 2006
Language eng
Subjects L
410101 Music
750201 The performing arts (incl. music, theatre and dance)
Abstract/Summary Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996) is Japan’s most internationally celebrated composer to date. He possessed a unique musical voice, a hybrid of Eastern philosophy and Western technique. Takemitsu made extensive use of silence in his compositions, treating the absence of sound as an active element in the musical narrative. He was deeply and personally affected by the philosophical bases pertaining to traditional Japanese music. This had a profound influence on his worldview. The following critical commentary was instigated as a result of performance-related questions and includes the role of the performer with respect to silence. It aims to enlighten the thesis that silence in Takemitsu’s works functions as an invitation to contemplation both for the listener and performer in a process which requires exploration, discovery and imagination. In outlining Takemitsu’s worldview, a brief biographical account is included in order to establish context, followed by a survey of influences, primarily focusing on Eastern philosophies. Additionally, the formulation of the Japanese philosophical concept of “ma” and its development in relation to music as it pertains directly to the execution of silence will be discussed. Following the examination of three flute works, the role of the performer including traditional perspectives, contemporary flautists’ views, as well as fundamental attitudes towards performance will be explored. The present study is concerned with Takemitsu’s concert music, as an investigation into his prolific film soundtrack output and popular arranging is beyond the scope of this paper.

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Created: Fri, 21 Nov 2008, 14:51:47 EST