Note:This scholarly essay is part of a research project submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts in the School of Music. The project also involved the preparation and performance of two lecture recitals related to the essay topic.

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Title:"Oasis in the desert" - Two piano transcriptions from the Chinese cultural revolution in the 1970s
Author(s):Zhao, Yawei
Advisor(s):Tsitsaros, Christos
Contributor(s):Ehlen, Timothy; Moersch, Charlotte Mattax; Tharp, Reynold
Department / Program:School of Music
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:A.Mus.D. (doctoral)
Cultural revolution
Geographic Coverage:China
Abstract:Chinese piano music has developed significantly since the early twentieth century. Similar to composers from other nations who have sought to establish a nationalistic style, Chinese composers have explored and established their own nationalistic style during the past hundred years. Although elements of the Western classical tradition influenced Chinese music, most Chinese music before the 1980s has maintained its own heritage and ethnic character. Today, most of the music from China known to international audiences is contemporary works finished in the last thirty years. Because a large amount of traditional Chinese music is still largely unknown outside of China, this doctoral study will introduce two traditional Chinese piano works to Western audiences: two piano transcriptions from the 1970s, an important phase in the history of Chinese music. Not only have these works enriched the Chinese music literature, but they have also built a great foundation and models for contemporary Chinese compositions. Piano transcriptions have played a large role in the development of Chinese piano music and have frequently been performed in China. The piano transcriptions selected for this study are representative works of essential Chinese music idioms, played on a Western instrument. These pieces also have great pedagogical value; they have been included in several major Chinese piano collections and are listed among repertoire suggestions in piano departments of conservatories in China. After the 1980s, atonality, twelve-tone technique, and other modern compositional techniques were heavily used and incorporated into Chinese music. Hence, music from the 1970s better represents traditional nationalism because it was the last decade Chinese music kept its authentic characteristics. This thesis is an investigation of two Chinese piano pieces from this specific historical period of the 1970s, Flute and Drum at Sunset by Li Ying-hai and Hundreds of Birds Worship the Phoenix by Wang Jian-zhong. I will illustrate details about how Chinese composers combined different ethnic musical materials, harmonic elements, and genres to establish their own compositional style. This thesis also addresses cultural aspects and compositional background. In addition, each piece will be provided with suggestions to assist Western performers in gaining a greater understanding of a more authentic performance.
Issue Date:2017-06-20
Publisher:School of Music. College of Fine and Applied Arts. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Yawei Zhao
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-06-29

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