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Entwine – finding music within a poem. Exploring musical interpretations of Japanese Tanka by Yosano Akiko What can be the contemporary musical expressions of tanka poetry from a standpoint of an improvising jazz vocalist? What are the elements that constitute tanka’s character and can they trigger a vocal inspiration? What could be the place of Japanese poetry within other artistic disciplines? In my research I have explored Japanese aesthetic sensibilities and have tried to find their translations into my own musical experimentation. After initial study of the relevant literature and listening to the existing works of both classical Japanese music and Western contemporary compositions influenced by the Japanese arts, I have proceeded with my own vocal- instrumental Sketches in which I have experimented with improvised and written music. My source material was tanka of an early 20th century poet Yosano Akiko. The improvisations and compositional sketches are based on some specifically chosen elements: the imagery and meaning of the tanka poem, layered Ukiyo-e printing technique, sound associations derived from the paintings, Japanese language sonority, Japanese scales and harmony used in the traditional gagaku ensemble and other inspirations. The final research document contains audio examples of the recordings that led to the final audio-visual presentation and an extensive paper documenting the process of discovery.
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