Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



Document Type



Before the Spanish, the Dutch, the Japanese, and the Chinese Mainlanders occupied Taiwan, Austronesians are believed to have been the island’s first immigrants. They are acknowledged as the Aboriginal Taiwanese. Since these people do not have a written language, music, especially singing, became an important means of communication and education for the Aborigines, whose culture is today considered one of the most historically valuable cultures in Taiwan. Sicong Ma (1912-1987) is a major composer who also played an important political role in China. After escaping from China during the Culture Revolution in 1967, Ma was protected by the United States government and settled in the Unites States until he died, He traveled to Taiwan several times as an invited guest of the government, where he gave recitals and conducted symphony orchestras on the island. During his trips to Taiwan, Ma had a chance to attend performances of aboriginal music; this document will explore the influence of this tribal music on his Amei Suite (1973) and Gaoshan Suite (1973), composed after his return to the US. This document will comprise four chapters. The first chapter will explore Sicong Ma’s biographical information and his compositional style, and will also emphasize the connection between Ma and Taiwan. The second chapter will be an introduction to the music of the Taiwanese Aborigines. It will review the musical style of the different tribes, and the use of their instruments, such as double nose flutes, jaw harps, and mouthbows. Chapter three will provide an historical perspective on both of the Ma works under consideration. In cases where it is not possible to consult the original score, the author will concentrate on the musical characters in Ma’s version. The fourth chapter will comprise a performer’s guide. The author will analyze the two suites and give suggestions for interpretation. The goal of this document is to promote the culture of the author’s home country. Moreover, the author hopes that this document will inspire more musicians to analyze and perform works that draw on the folkloric and indigenous idioms of their own countries.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Lilleslatten, Espen



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Music Commons