Rick Tagawa studied composition with Elliot Carter and Luciano Berio at the Juilliard School and later did graduate studies in ethnomusicology at UCLA. It was there that he developed an interest in Ugandan traditional music with its sophisticated use of a 5-tone quasi-equal temperament. (In this music the seconds can vary from 190 to 279 cents over a 3 1/2-octave xylophone.) He has published a composition for percussion and has numerous other works to his credit, including a large-scale work for orchestra using Kiganda musical techniques and 72-tone equal temperament. His interests include the intonational nuances in American popular music, Indian music, and other musics.