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American jazz guitarist/ composer and a professor the University of Michigan, Miles Okazaki released the revolutionary debut album Mirror in 2006, which he described as “my goal in writing the music for this album was to offer the listener a selection of rhythmic compositions that attempt to imitate the blending of formal order and organic beauty of form found in nature.” All of the music in this album owns a particular rhythmic concept as a structure of work, which is more like math and architecture along with a variety of musical styles such as Brazilian popular music, Indian, Middle-Eastern, African, classical and traditional/ contemporary jazz. In this paper, I will provide the analysis of the first track “Theme I” and the fourth track “Howl” from album Mirror which presents the best of Okazaki’s compositional style. These compositions exhibit how he utilizes rhythmic groupings, which sometimes shows a mirror/ symmetrical form over common meter as a metric structure of the piece to create a unique sound and feel. Since one part always keeps a repetitive rhythmic pattern expressing a common meter, music always produces a polyrhythmic feeling. “Howl” also features a metric modulation from 4/4 to 12/8 to 4/4 time signatures. I will also discuss how he adapts interesting melodic and harmonic structures on top of rhythmic structures, including the usage of a palindrome, pentatonic mode adaption over the augmented chord progression, slash chord, and a twelve-tone row.


File nameDate UploadedVisibilityFile size
19 Jul 2022
7.25 MB



  • Event location
    • Shott Auditorium

  • Event date
    • 2 December 2017

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022