Date of Award
College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Lamont School of Music
Appropriation, Djilile, Janke, Kakadu, Peter Sculthorpe, True Tracks
Tasmanian-born Peter Sculthorpe (1929 – 2014) was one of Australia’s most iconic modernist classical composers of the twentieth century. Kakadu (1988) seems to have sparked the most controversy of Sculthorpe’s works and has become one of his most well-known pieces. In the program notes provided in the score’s foreword, Sculthorpe asserts that “the melodic material in Kakadu, as in much of my recent music, was suggested by the contours and rhythms of Aboriginal chant.” Sculthorpe attributed this melodic material to the Arnem Land chant, Djilile. Consequently, Sculthorpe has been criticized for extracting Djilile from its authentic context as an act of musical appropriation. The published arguments through Australian musicologists and composers such as Jonathan Paget, Amanda Harris, and Anne Boyd have analyzed the issue in terms of creative license. These arguments have also incorporated value judgments of Sculthorpe’s ethics and persona to underscore their reasoning. The purpose of this project is to complicate the discussion of Djililein Sculthorpe’s music by situating its usage within Indigenous Australian copyright lawyer Dr. Terri Janke’s True Tracks: Respecting Indigenous Knowledge and Culture (2021) model and framework for respectful cultural exchange. The previous defenses of Sculthorpe’s work need to be re-examined in order to fit a more modern standard of respectful cultural interaction.
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Natasia T. Boyko
Received from ProQuest
Boyko, Natasia T., "Ethics in Kakadu (1988): Finding Djilile’s “True Tracks”" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2261.