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Type: Theses
Title: Pragmatism and in-betweenery: light music in the practice of Australian composers in the postwar period, c.1945-1980
Author: Koehne, James Philip
Issue Date: 2015
School/Discipline: Elder Conservatorium of Music
Abstract: More than a style, light music was a significant category of musical production in the twentieth century, meeting a demand from various generators of production, prominently radio, recording, film, television and production music libraries. These generators needed music that could accommodate a broad audience, and that maintained a connection between the mainstream of ‘classical’ music and the expanding influences of popular music. Light music provided an adhesive force between gradually diverging cultures of popular and ‘classical’ music and thus represents composers’ efforts, working with pragmatic intent, to forge musical styles in-between the popular and the ‘classical.’ Proceeding from this view of light music, the present study explores its breadth as a productive category for Australian composers. Considering Australian music from this perspective shows the widespread and intensive engagement of composers in a vital field of professional practice in the period following the Second World War until around 1980. Many Australian composers, whether based in Australia or working in Britain, drew opportunities from light music’s generators, and developed compositional approaches that blended the resources of ‘classical,’ jazz and popular music. Focus is brought to the work of Australian composers Sven Libaek (b. 1938) and Don Banks (1922-1980). For Libaek, light music provides a place in which he can be recognized for his achievement within the ‘improvisatory’ environment of musical opportunity in postwar Australia. For Banks, recognition of his light music extends and re-shapes appreciation of his significance, highlighting his pragmatic drive and the breadth of his musical abilities and taste. For both composers, the values of pragmatism and in-betweenery represented in their light music were important sources of creative impetus and originality.
Advisor: Carroll, Mark Stephen
Coaldrake, Kimi
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, Elder Conservatorium of Music, 2015.
Keywords: light music
Australian composition
Don Banks
Sven Libaek
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
DOI: 10.4225/55/58dc86e48fdbd
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

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