Type of Document Treatise Author Sakamoto, Haruyo URN etd-08262003-174722 Title Toru Takemitsu: The Roots of His Creation Degree Doctor of Musical Arts Department Music, School of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Leonard Mastrogiacomo Committee Chair Carolyn Bridger Committee Member James Streem Committee Member Victoria McArthur Committee Member Keywords
- Toru Takemitsu
Date of Defense 2003-06-01 Availability unrestricted AbstractTŰru Takemitsu was arguably among the most important, although lesser known, musical figures of the twentieth century. Born in Japan in
1930, and having lived there through World War II and the post-war occupation, Takemitsu assimilated many strong, life-altering influences both from the West and from his mother country. This fertile mix of powerful oriental and occidental influences played a major role in the development of Takemitsuís musical genius. Although never a conscious goal or deliberate
objective, the collective body of Takemitsuís musical works has come to be appreciated by many as a highly significant cultural bridge between the East and the West. Takemitsuís music accomplishes this unique melding of cultures and traditions, especially through the use of traditional Japanese instruments, in his completely innovative works that are heavily influenced Takemitsuís music displays various Western musical concepts and sensibilities, particularly those of Debussy and Messiaen. These
unmistakable, potent European musical forces have been deftly woven in and around the core of the long-venerated philosophical, metaphysical, and
conceptual elements of traditional Japanese music and its own foundations in Zen Buddhist philosophy. Together they form a rich musical tapestry.
A prolific writer until the end of his life in 1996, Takemitsu described his concept of music in relatively simple haiku-like terms, i.e., in physical environmental terms. Music, for him, was simply a part of Ďthe stream of soundsí that surrounded him. Imbued with such an uncomplicated concept of music, together with his broad and deep love of nature, Takemitsu subscribed to the philosophy that music was not something to Ďconstruct.í
His compositional approach was to collaborate with and incorporate the world
of spontaneous natural sounds around him, thus providing an environment where Ďsounds can meet dramatically.í In this study, the author has sought to survey the wide spectrum of
social, cultural, and natural influences that has heavily impacted on Takemitsuís compositional methods, and to examine how Takemitsuís
compositional philosophy has been eloquently shaped and expressed in five selected piano pieces: Uninterrupted Rests, Piano Distance, For Away, Les yeux clos, and Rain Tree Sketch. The principal focus has been on the sources and origins of his unique and prolific creativity which underpinned Takemitsuís rich musical legacy.
Various examples of Takemitsuís profound, revelatory remarks, as well as spoken and written observations, have been cited.* These offer
invaluable insights toward the enhanced understanding of both Takemitsu, the man, and his music.
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