Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (Performing Arts)


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

First Advisor

Dr Lindsay Vickery


This dissertation is an exploration of the rhythmic concepts used in two South Indian musical theory concepts, solkattu and konokol. Konokol application largely depends on instrument limitations and musical contexts. The principle focus here is on my personal application of konokol to the guitar both through composed and improvised music. A detailed study of konokol was undertaken through private lessons in India and personal experimentation to determine how these concepts could be adapted to Western improvisation, harmony and composition, as well as right--‐hand classical guitar and plectrum techniques. This was done intuitively by exploring guitar techniques and konokol simultaneously. The outcome of this study was a process applied to guitar composition and improvisation. Graphic numerical tables and geometrical representations are outlined in this dissertation as a guide to understanding this process.

The second outcome of this research includes a series of Western compositions improvised and through--‐composed. This outcome explores a fundamental concept, the practical applications of konokol and mrdangam patterns to guitar composition and guitar improvisation. The appendices include a practical reference guide to many of these concepts, providing a valuable and a beneficial resource for any musician who would like to use and understand rhythmic concepts outside the Western musical tradition. A compact disc of my original compositions demonstrating my application of konokol concepts and theories to guitar composition is also included as part of this research. This dissertation presents an alternative framework and methodology to the Western canon of rhythmic knowledge and involves rethinking numbers, rhythm and phrasing in a manner that is essentially different to the Western pedagogy of rhythmic knowledge. Possible future research on the collective memory and fractal design of konokol and how this is related to memory is also proposed.

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