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Chinese Musical Language Interpreted by Western Idioms

Title: Chinese Musical Language Interpreted by Western Idioms: Fusion Process in the Instrumental Works by Chen Yi.
Name(s): Guo, Xin, author
Mathes, James, professor directing dissertation
Killick, Andrew, outside committee member
Clendinning, Jane Piper, committee member
Spencer, Peter, committee member
College of Music, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2002
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: The purpose of this study is to provide an analysis of works for Western instruments by the Chinese composer Chen Yi (b. 1953). In recent years, non-Western composers' practice of incorporating non-Western traditional musical concepts and materials with Western contemporary post-tonal compositional techniques has received more serious scholarly research that includes efforts at analysis. The methods of fusion are varied from work to work as well as from composer to composer, presenting a unique set of challenges for musical analysis. By incorporating recent achievements of music theorists, composers, musicologists and ethnomusicologists, this study proposes a multidimensional approach to the analysis of Chen Yi's music for Western instruments. The analytical procedures are informed by Richard Waterman's theory of syncretism and Peter Chang's research on composers' reinterpretation of cultural elements, which serve to explore Chen Yi's cultural and educational background in relation to her composition. A set of factors including pitch logic, time, sound color, texture, process, performance ritual, and parody or historicism, proposed by Elliott Schwartz and Daniel Godfrey, are examined to discover underlying organizational principles. The analysis of selected instrumental works by Chen Yi reveals a process by which she focuses on four aspects of musical structure: 1) pitch; 2) rhythm and proportion as determinants of form; 3) timbre; and 4) textural process that governs the placement and duration of events in time. Related processes reveal a personal style that can be described as a Chinese-based musical language interpreted by Western idioms. The first two chapters provide an overview of Western and non-Western composers' approaches to cross-cultural fusion in general and Chinese composers' approaches in particular. The second chapter also provides biographic information on Chen Yi with observations on how her cultural and educational background influences her attitude toward composition. The subsequent four chapters present detailed analyses of Chen Yi's nine instrumental compositions with an emphasis on underlying organizational principles. The final chapter summarizes the characteristics of Chen Yi's personal style and the evolution of her concepts of stylistic fusion and related techniques, and evaluates their significance with respect to successful fusion and to future directions of music.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-3912 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the School of Music in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Fall Semester, 2002.
Date of Defense: November 6, 2002.
Keywords: Western Musical Idioms, Chinese Folk Music, Chen Yi, Fusion
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: James Mathes, Professor Directing Dissertation; Andrew Killick, Outside Committee Member; Jane Piper Clendinning, Committee Member; Peter Spencer, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Music
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

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Guo, X. (2002). Chinese Musical Language Interpreted by Western Idioms: Fusion Process in the Instrumental Works by Chen Yi. Retrieved from