DUNSTAN, Kaylie Jane

MMus University of Sydney 2016 Pages: 101

Percussion and Theatrical Techniques: An Investigation into Percussion Theatre Repertoire and its Presence in Australian Classical Music Culture

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Percussion theatre is a relatively new term that can be effectively used to discuss a body of musical repertoire for percussion that employ theatrical techniques. A generic approach of percussion theatre may include the specialised use of lighting, props, costume, space, and in some cases multimedia. At the focal point of this thesis are the techniques of acting, vocalisation and gesture. It discusses how the skill set of the percussionist can be expanded to better suit the broader performance demands required by compositions. Percussionists who perform percussion theatre repertoire would greatly benefit from interdisciplinary study to develop the theatrical skills specific to this genre. Stylistic trends in European, American and Australian compositions of this genre are explored in detail. Furthermore, this thesis includes a discussion of a series of written interviews with key exponents of this body of musical work in Australia. Central to this discussion are both, the technical demands of the performer, and the factors that need to be considered when composers engage with the above theatrical techniques. Finally, significant factors leading to the success of the compositions on the performing circuit are also considered with a view to discover how to promote and further develop this nascent form of performance art.

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