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A Study on Hybrid Style and Orchestration in Bright Sheng’s Postcards

Description: Bright Sheng (b. 1955) has won international acclaim for successfully fusing disparate musical elements in his works. Listeners can trace Chinese pentatonic scales and instrumental effects mixed with Western classical structures. Postcards (1997) is a well-received orchestral work that successfully merges diverse musical styles and compositional techniques. Sheng based Postcards on material from his Four Movements for Piano Trio (1990). He applies masterful and distinctive orchestration to transform the chamber work into a multi-layered and colorful orchestral canvas. He fuses polyrhythm and post-tonal compositional techniques such as polytonality with Chinese musical elements, including folk song quotations, pentatonic scales and extended instrumental effects. The resulting hybrid is an outstanding artistic work that warrants further discussion and analysis for deeper understanding This study provides an overview of Sheng’s life experience and educational background in Chapter 1. Chapter 2 and 3 present a detailed analysis of the important compositional attributes and orchestration techniques Sheng applies in Postcards. Chapter 4 provides important performance considerations for conductors to enhance preparation. With an understanding of Sheng’s hybrid style, it is hoped that conductors will have a better interpretative grasp to lead an informed performance and scholars will have a better context for Sheng’s orchestral compositions.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Lee, Hsuan-Yu
Partner: UNT Libraries