Akama, Ryoko (2015) Exploring Emptiness: An Investigation of MA and MU in My Sonic Composition Practice. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The commentary investigates Japanese aesthetics of space, silence and emptiness - ma and mu - that informed my compositional practice during the research period 2012 - 2015. The portfolio comprises text compositions and sound installations in which forms of micro events and sustained events are employed. Throughout, the emphasis is on my personal engagement with, and manifestation of emptiness that concerns a particular model of listening and perception.
Chapter 1 discusses six primary research areas: ma and mu, material, text, form, listening and perception. Firstly, I introduce ma and mu by examining noh culture and Zeami's teaching of senu hima (where there is no-action) in the context of my personal approaches to music. The following subjects are then used to contextualise my PhD practice by means of examples from various composers and visual artists. Here, these particular and enigmatic concepts are explored through Japanese art as well as Western contemporary works by Alvin Lucier, Eliane Radigue and those of the Wandelweiser collective.
Part 2 provides contextual commentaries on selected compositions from the portfolio that mostly articulate my aesthetics in relation to the topics covered in Chapter 1. koso koso addresses my methodologies to investigate the essence of senu hima, followed by treow that discusses my approach to materials and the importance of space. I move on to grade two and grade two extended in order to examine text scores, and then, look into Espèces d'espaces 03 and 04 as examples of musical forms that I employ.
Finally, listening and perception are investigated through the compositions gnome and con.de.structuring. Throughout, I describe how my works explore emptiness as a result of my particular emphasis on listening over composing.

RyokoAkama_FINALSEP2015.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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