A historical approach to interpreting select saxophone works by Ryo Noda



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The music of Ryo Noda has been performed and studied across the globe for over half a century, both used as excellent concert works and teaching tools for contemporary style and an approach to extended techniques. However, in even the most skilled performances, various complementary components of approach can be included. Mai, Improvisation I, II, III, and Phoenix, are hybrid works inspired by the ancient bamboo flute, shakuhachi. Not only do these pieces have dual identities as saxophone/shakuhachi works, but as music that exists within both ancient and modern performance and cultural contexts. Therefore, an element that can be added to performances of Ryo Noda’s music is the emulation of the ancient style, and the interpretive aspects that follow.

The purpose of this document is not to uncover a previously unknown truth about approaching or performing Ryo Noda’s catalog. Instead, it proposes to serve as a resource of potential ideas and possibilities that previously may not have been attempted from an abstract approach. Using these four components: historical analysis, philosophical elements, modern performance practices on the saxophone, and the sounds of Japanese instruments, a practical approach to performing and interpreting Ryo Noda’s catalog will be presented.



Saxophone, Ryo Noda