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Investigating Percussion through Television News: An Analysis of the Breaking News Program

  • Author(s): Nichols, Donald
  • Advisor(s): Schick, Steven
  • et al.
Abstract

In this dissertation, I will analyze and discuss the three pieces presented in Breaking News, a program of original percussion works I presented on January 13, 2008 in the Mandeville Recital Hall at the University of California, San Diego. This program represents my musical investigations of percussion as influenced by various aspects of television news, including its form, speech and content. The first work, Another Border Crossing, is a solo for Persian tombak and pre-recorded sound that draws from both traditional Persian music and an Iranian newscast. News Between Copies, which focuses on local American news anchors, is a solo featuring a metal plate instrument sculpture with video and pre-recorded sound. Last on the program, Cloudy But Sunny is a percussion trio accompanied by video and pre-recorded sound that navigates through three simultaneous half-hour US newscasts. In addition, I will illustrate the musical and social reasons why the news became my source for musical inspiration. As a part of that discussion, I will trace the development of this program by addressing specific works that reflect my previous exploration of speech and the news. I will also explain how the work from this program carries over and influences other areas of my musical efforts, such as my approach to other composers' work and my multi-disciplinary collaboration. It is through these analyses that I will examine my identity as a percussionist in light of the issues and demands of the Breaking News program.

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