Date of Award

Winter 12-12-2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

First Advisor

Dr. John Davis

Second Advisor

Dr. John Gunther

Third Advisor

Dr. Brenda Romero


ABSTRACT Dudley, Bruce John (D.M.A. Department of Music)

Cultural Osmosis as Portrayed in Duke Ellington’s Far East Suite Thesis directed by Associate Professor Dr. John S. Davis

Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn composed eight of the nine movements known as the Far East Suite after participating in a 79-day tour of performances to a dozen countries in the Middle East and Far East with Ellington’s orchestra. The tour was organized by the United States Department of State and took place in the fall of 1963. After allowing the memories of the music and cultures of those countries to ruminate in their minds, Ellington and co-composer Strayhorn began writing music for the suite in 1964. The music they composed distinctly expressed many of their impressions from the tour. By placing this work in the context of Ellington’s previous work it is shown that the Far East Suite is unique in the ways that he and Strayhorn incorporated Middle and Far Eastern musical concepts into their own musical molds. An historical overview of the tours to the Middle and Far East in 1963 and to Japan in 1964 and 1966 offers insight into the impetus for the suite. A complete musical analysis of each of the nine movements reveals the remarkable writing processes of Ellington and Strayhorn, and brings to light the various ways they integrated Middle and Far Eastern musical elements into their own personal idioms of musical expression.