Performativity and Social Space: A Study of Three Yamada-ryū Koto Musicians in The Northeast of The U.S.
Abstract: This thesis is an ethnographic project that aims to present the nuanced experiences of three women trained in the Yamada-ryū tradition for the Japanese koto, a thirteen-stringed zither. Predicated upon theories of performativity, cultural identity, and the construction of social space within a postmodern scheme, this project depicts these performers as women who have shaped the tradition... read morein which they have learned and performed. They have tread new paths as they continue to perform and to teach within distinct social spaces in Japan and the Northeast region of the United States, and they have effectively advocating for a broader appreciation of Japanese koto and its music culture. The thesis contributes to the body of ethnomusicological scholarship on Japanese musics and instruments as it achieves a more holistic and interdisciplinary approach to a tradition that had long been dealt with by scholars through textual and musical analysis almost exclusively. I have addressed complex issues of transmission and change within a codified tradition, the politics of performance in multifarious social spaces, and what it means to advocate for Japanese musics in the United States.
Thesis (M.A.)--Tufts University, 2015.
Submitted to the Dept. of Music.
Advisor: David Locke.
Committee: Cathleen Ayakano Read, and Jeffrey Summit.
Keywords: Music, Performing arts, and Social structure.read less