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Wadaiko in Japan and the United States: The Intercultural History of a Musical Genre

Pachter, Benjamin (2013) Wadaiko in Japan and the United States: The Intercultural History of a Musical Genre. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh.

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Abstract

This dissertation is a musical history of wadaiko, a genre that emerged in the mid-1950s featuring Japanese taiko drums as the main instruments. Through the analysis of compositions and performances by artists in Japan and the United States, I reveal how Japanese musical forms like hōgaku and matsuri-bayashi have been melded with non-Japanese styles such as jazz. I also demonstrate how the art form first appeared as performed by large ensembles, but later developed into a wide variety of other modes of performance that included small ensembles and soloists. Additionally, I discuss the spread of wadaiko from Japan to the United States, examining the effect of interactions between artists in the two countries on the creation of repertoire; in this way, I reveal how a musical genre develops in an intercultural environment. Further, I explore the relationship between compositions and reoccurring themes of discussion like ‘tradition,’ thus illuminating the relationship between music making and talking about music.

The majority of English-language scholastic literature about wadaiko is concerned with the social context of the genre. Similarly, most studies have dealt with groups that emerged prior to 1980, focusing upon the large ensembles that arose during this time rather than the soloists and small ensembles that have emerged in recent decades. With my focus on repertoire, and the construction of a history from the beginning of the genre to the present, I look to broaden the scope of academic discourse about wadaiko.

This dissertation begins with an overview of my main research aims, prominent theoretical issues, my research scope and methodology, and a literature review. I discuss the chronological development of wadaiko in Japan and the United States in Chapters 2 through 7, focusing upon several groups and individual artists and their music, identifying how they have guided the development of the genre. Chapter 8 serves as the dissertation’s conclusion, in which I summarize the previous chapters while also examining the relationship between music making and representations of ‘tradition,’ conceptions of originality, issues of performance rights, and the transmission of wadaiko knowledge and the role of language in this process.


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Details

Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Published
Creators/Authors:
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Pachter, Benjaminbjpachter@gmail.com
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairYung, Bellbyun@pitt.eduBYUN
Committee MemberHelbig, Adrianaanh59@pitt.eduANH59
Committee MemberJordan, Brendajordanb@pitt.eduJORDANB
Committee MemberWeintraub, Andrewanwein@pitt.eduANWEIN
Committee MemberWong, Deborahdeborah.wong@ucr.edu
Date: 1 July 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 8 April 2013
Approval Date: 1 July 2013
Submission Date: 18 April 2013
Release Date: 1 July 2013
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 438
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Music
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: wadaiko, Japan, taiko, tradition, drumming, intercultural
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2013 18:01
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:11
URI: http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18467

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