Rachel Chacko article published in the Journal for the Society of American Music

October 14, 2013

Assistant Professor of Music Rachel Chacko recently published an article, titled “Unheard Complexities in Lou Harrison’s ‘Main Bersama-sama’ and ‘Bubaran Robert,’ ” in the Journal for the Society of American Music.

Her article focuses on two cross-cultural compositions by American composer Lou Harrison, a pioneer in creating East-West fusions. These pieces were composed for Javanese gamelan and other Western instruments, and they are typically regarded as examples of Harrison’s post-modern musical sensibilities. However, analyzing their pitch structure reveals intricate compositional "games" similar to the pre-compositional strategies of composers more typically associated with algorithmic compositional methods. Chacko argues these “games” challenge the widely accepted depiction of Harrison as a mere "tunesmith" and West Coast musical dabbler.