Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



Document Type



Keiko Abe is recognized as one of the leading marimba virtuosos of the Twentieth century. As a composer, she has been writing for solo marimba since the early 1960s and continues composing for the medium today. Her music became popular with Western percussionists after the publishing of Works for Marimba in 1987. This was her first compilation of works for the five-octave marimba. These pieces have become a constant source of repertoire for collegiate and professional performers. Despite Abe’s popularity and influence, little research has examined her compositions. This document features analysis and background of Abe and her music and is the beginning of this examination. This investigation acknowledges the influence that Eastern and Western musical culture has had in the shaping of Abe’s compositional style. These Eastern and Western cultural influences, and their manifestations in her music, will be identified through analyses of Variations on Japanese Children's Songs (1982), Dream of the Cherry Blossoms (1984), and Marimba d'amore (1998). Readers will be presented with the inspiration for these compositions and the Eastern perspectives that invite an authentic performance. These Eastern perspectives include the Japanese concepts that she integrates into formal construction and the historical information behind the traditional Japanese music that is the basis for thematic material. The use of these Eastern elements within a Western approach to form will complete the framework that comprises Abe’s compositional style. Variations on Japanese Children’s Songs and Dream of the Cherry Blossoms will establish how Abe uses these Eastern concepts to construct the form of her compositions. Marimba d’amore will show the progression of her style in the compositional decade following Dream of the Cherry Blossoms. The complete narrative will provide valuable elements of performance practice and establish the compositional formula for one of the first historic figures to compose for the medium of solo marimba.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Dietz, Brett



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Music Commons