Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



Document Type



Tan Dun is a mysterious figure in both eastern and western classical music. His rich music interests, innovative approach, and culturally eclectic writing style have gained him an international reputation. His piano suite, Eight Memories in Watercolor, Op. 1, while conceived as a simple diary of longing for his hometown, is an essential composition in his oeuvre. Although this piece is often overlooked because of its simplicity, I contend that this Op. 1 is a pivotal piano work containing many of the compositional devices used throughout his career. This piece compellingly combines traditional Chinese music and philosophy with western compositional techniques and lays a solid foundation for his creative style and ideology later. To uncover the artistic values of this work, this dissertation aims to take the reader into the world of Tan Dun in order to gain a deeper understanding of the importance of this Op. 1. By diving into Tan Dun’s world and thoroughly analyzing this work, I discovered what I believe to be the essence of Tan Dun. This essence is a philosophy that affects his compositional style both directly and indirectly. Tan Dun’s hometown complex, the philosophy from Taoism, and eastern mysticism have played a vital role in shaping his compositions.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Sioles, Gregory



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Music Commons