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.