Date of Award
Doctor of Musical Arts
An earthquake registering 9.0 on the Richter scale occurred in the Tuhoku region of Japan on the island of Honshu on March 11, 2011. This earthquake caused major damage to the Fukushima Daiichi (number one) Power Plant. A subsequent tsunami occurred as a result of this quake, further complicating the efforts to control the nuclear meltdown already in progress in Fukushima. This piece reflects the cataclysmic series of events that occurred on this day in Fukushima, Japan. It was my aim to create music that was both powerful and bold. In doing so, the musical language that developed made use of simple motives that become gestures throughout the piece. The first section uses sonorities that are rather dense and dissonant to reflect the tragic events unfolding. The percussion parts utilize a wide variety of instruments whose roots are from diverse cultures. This helps signify the wide spread effect of the catastrophe while providing a palette of multiple timbres within the piece. In the second slower section, the same pitch material is used, but voiced and orchestrated more polytonally to achieve a different effect. One could think the use of polytonality represents the coming together of both natural and man-made disasters. The harmony in this section begins rather simply with the use of minor triads vacillating between one another, creating a hypnotic effect. At times the sound of one tonality is also heard passing through another and/or melting together. Following the brief percussion solo, there is a return to the original bold gestures as they are intensified through the use of dense harmony, orchestration and extreme dynamics. The final section uses a different musical language derived from the writings of Oliver Messiaen in his book, Technique de mon langage musical, (The Technique of my Musical Language). The result is more calm, melodic and tranquil. The piece seems to end with a clear resolution to a Bb minor triad. However, a B minor triad slips in from underneath, creating an uneasy dissonance, signifying the culmination of these tragedies.
dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Adams, Richard Scott, "Shades of Fukushima" (2012). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 639.