Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



Document Type



This dissertation is intended to contribute to the ongoing study of three selected piano pieces written by the contemporary Chinese American composer Chen Yi. These three works— Duo Ye (1984), Ba Ban (1999), and Ji-Dong-Nuo (2005)—respectively represent her early, middle, and recent periods. Also, they show Chen’s diverse and sophisticated compositional style as it evolved from her conservatory years to her current position as a mature and successful composer. The written portion consists of six chapters. The first chapter will provide the historical background information on the dramatic changes in musical trends in China during the second half of the twentieth century. These historical changes brought Chen more in touch with folk music and gave her a deeper appreciation for it. A sketch of Chen’s life is presented in chapter two. Relevant biographical details will highlight the composer’s conservatory training that exposed her, in particular, to Bartόk, thereby shaping her own pianistic and compositional style. The individual analysis and interpretation of the three selected piano compositions will be presented in chapters three through five. These chapters will show how she has adapted the essence of Chinese folk tunes to her work. At the same time, her use of Western contemporary compositional techniques in the three pieces will be discussed. The last chapter sums up and organizes each chapter’s results.



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