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Piano Music of Native Chinese Composers, with Particular Focus on the Piano Works Since 1950: a Lecture Recital, Together with Three Recitals of Selected Works of J.S. Bach, L.v. Beethoven, S. Prokofiev, F. Chopin, R. Schumann, J. Brahms, M. Ravel, and A. Skryabin

Description: This documents aims at the identification of the sources of influence upon the styles of selected 20th century Chinese composers. Personal influences are reflected as well as those general influences specific to the different stylistic periods discussed. Most important, however, is the description of the methods by which these composers employ contemporary compositional devices to project musical gestures that are uniquely Chinese: elements of culture which are fundamentally programmatic and intimately related to the lives of the Chinese people. The introduction of Western music and musical instruments to China in the early 17th century and cultural exchanges with Japan served to gradually westernize the musical environment and training. The establishment of decidedly Western schools was accomplished at the beginning of this century, with the founding of Peking University and Shanghai National Conservatory. Music theory was taught, as well as history and composition, but with an emphasis on the practices of the 18th and 19th centuries. Compositions from this period reflect Western techniques from these eras, with some use of the pentatonic scale. In the 1930's, nationalism arose, a mirroring of the 19th-century European nationalistic trends. This philosophical conception has remained essentially unchanged to the present, as composers have aimed to utilize Western techniques to create artistic works and compositional styles which are uniquely Chinese. The musical works examined are limited to works for piano solo, as it is believed these are often more immediately revealing of compositional techniques and stylistic idioms.
Date: May 1988
Creator: Yang, Shu-mei