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Thesis 1

Thesis Title: 'The bamboo and Zen are One!': The Conceptualisation of Tone in the Shakuhachi Tradition
Degree Type: MA
Degree Specialism: Ethnomusicology
Supervisor(s): Dr John Morgan O'Connell
Thesis Status: Accepted
Date Submitted / Accepted: June 14, 2002
Institution Submitting / Submitted To: University of Limerick
No. of Volumes (no. of pages): 1 (88pp.)
Thesis Location / Link: UL Library
Genres / Musical Instruments: Shakuhachi
Related Places: Japan
Abstract: This project concerns the conceptualisation of tone in the Japanese shakuhachi tradition. It will show how the physical techniques of playing the instrument, combined with the mental approach towards the music and the instrument being played, create the unique sound world of the shakuhachi. The central problem is to analyse the set of parameters that inform the player’s sense of tone. The first chapter will outline issues of conceptualisation and computer representations in ethnomusicological research. The next chapter will outline the historical background to the instrument and how the Zen concept of ‘enlightenment through one sound’ informs the player. In the third chapter, the relationship between the player and the construction process will be analysed. The fourth chapter will begin by looking at how tone is verbalised and transmitted. I will show how the score is only a guideline in what is primarily an oral tradition. In this chapter, the various ways that tone can be varied through breath, finger technique, chin position and embouchure will be outlined in an acoustical and psychoacoustical analysis. I will also look at how the players’ conceptualisation of tone is informed by Japanese sound aesthetics. I will examine how the structural concept jô-ha-kyu and the concept of time and space, ‘ma’ is realised in performance through an analysis of the honkyoku ‘Hi Fu Mi no Shirabe.’ Finally, the connection between Japanese sound aesthetics, the construction of instruments and Zen will be examined.

Thesis 2

Thesis Title: Bohuslav Martinu: A discussion of his flute works in relation to his life and compositional style
Degree Type: BA
Degree Specialism: Musicology
Supervisor(s): Dr Patrick Devine
Thesis Status: Accepted
Date Submitted / Accepted: 14 June 1994
Institution Submitting / Submitted To: NUI, Maynooth
Persons / Composers: Martinu, Bohuslav
Genres / Musical Instruments: Flute
Related Places: Czech Republic

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