Main Article Content
The music of Toru Takemitsu’s Rain Tree Sketch II (1994) entails a procession of discrete gestures that are delineated by still moments. In its performance, each gesture and in-between stillness is embodied. The performer’s grasp of the piece lies in its physicality of movement: the efforts and directionalities are both heard and felt by the velocities, directions, and intentions of moving body parts. Drawing upon Carrie Noland’s concept of “vitality effects,” I take the performative gesture that encompasses both visually accessible movement and inwardly-felt kinaesthesia as starting point for the analysis of Rain Tree Sketch II. Concepts of “effort” and “shape” taken from Rudolf Laban’s dance theory provide a framework with which to create a methodology of analyzing pianistic gesture and kinaesthesia.
The analysis of Rain Tree Sketch II reveals the co-existence of opposite gestures in an expanded corporeal space, resonating with Takemitsu’s ideal of reconciling contradictory sounds, as noted in his collection of essays, Confronting Silence (1995). His essays also point towards a phenomenological interpretation of the transitory still moments between gestures, where a retentive prolongation and a protentive delaying are embodied in what Laban calls “effort states.” Through this new methodology centering on gestural and kinaesthetic details, the inner workings and structural processes of the piece are manifested in ways that exceed what a traditional score-based analytical approach alone could provide.
Copyright © 2019 by the Society for Music Theory. All rights reserved.
 Copyrights for individual items published in Music Theory Online (MTO) are held by their authors. Items appearing in MTO may be saved and stored in electronic or paper form, and may be shared among individuals for purposes of scholarly research or discussion, but may not be republished in any form, electronic or print, without prior, written permission from the author(s), and advance notification of the editors of MTO.
 Any redistributed form of items published in MTO must include the following information in a form appropriate to the medium in which the items are to appear:
This item appeared in Music Theory Online in [VOLUME #, ISSUE #] on [DAY/MONTH/YEAR]. It was authored by [FULL NAME, EMAIL ADDRESS], with whose written permission it is reprinted here.
 Libraries may archive issues of MTO in electronic or paper form for public access so long as each issue is stored in its entirety, and no access fee is charged. Exceptions to these requirements must be approved in writing by the editors of MTO, who will act in accordance with the decisions of the Society for Music Theory.
This document and all portions thereof are protected by U.S. and international copyright laws. Material contained herein may be copied and/or distributed for research purposes only.