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7. Research & Conference


7. Conference

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2013 Dec 3-4 Chinese Composers’ Festival Symposia: Retrospect and Prospect: Chinese Composers in the Age of Globalization. Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Hong Kong. “Fusing Chinese and Western Traditions: hybridity in Bright Sheng’s Seven Tunes Heard in China and Chen Yi’s Ning.” Abstract: Ethnomusicologist Sarah Weiss proposes a model of hybridity which characterizes musical styles that emerge from distinct stylistic parents as products of two compositional approaches: "intentional hybridity," in which listeners are able to identify elements from each parent style being juxtaposed; and "natural hybridity" where the resulting style is similar to but not exactly like its parents and develops in its own right. The author perceives this model as a continuing spectrum with the two hybridities representing the opposite ends. Contemporary Chinese composers Chen Yi and Bright Sheng were trained in both Chinese and Western musical traditions, and their styles are often described in terms of fusion. This paper focuses on one work by each composer, and discusses the materials, techniques and strategies these composers use to exhibit their personal approach, and where these two works fall in the spectrum of hybridity. Folk tunes are quoted in both works, but Bright Sheng in his solo cello work Seven Tunes Heard In China  presents authentic quotations before developing them in his own language, while Chen Yi conspicuously incorporated fragments of the folk tune Molihua throughout her Ning, a onemovement trio for violin, cello and pipa.


9/16/13

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2013-­09-­16

2013 Chinese  Composers’  Festival  Symposium Retrospect  and  Prospect:  Chinese  Composers  in  the  Age  of  Globalization Hong  Kong,  3-­4  December  2013 1.  David  CHAN  Ho-­yi│New  Compositional  Attributes  and  Approaches  in  Composing  Contemporary  Chinese  Choral  Music 2.  Lesley  CHAN  Ka-­hei│Stylistic  Development  of  Chinese  Choral  Works  by  Hong  Kong  Composers  –  from  the  1970s  to  present 3.  GUO  Xin│Chinese  Musical  Language  Interpreted  by  Western  Idioms:  Fusing  Concept  and  Practice  in  Sound  of  Fire  by  Chen  Yi 4.  Eric  HUNG│Beyond  Exoticism  in  Multicultural  Chamber  Ensembles:  Two  Chinese  Composers’  Contrasting  Strategies  in  Works for  Saxophone  Quartet  and  Chinese  Instruments 5.  Aaron  JUDD│Guo  Wenjing’s  Ba:  Place,  Mood,  and  New  Chinese  Regionalism 6.  Ralf  Alexander  KOHLER│Zhu  Shi-­Rui’s  In  Umbra 7.  Martin  LEE│The  Anxiety  of  Influence:  The  Compositional  Strategy  of  the  Multi-­faceted  Hong  Kong  Composer  Alfred  Wong’s Commissioned  Works  for  the  Hong  Kong  Chinese  Orchestra  and  Other  Local  Ensembles 8.  Marion  MÄDER│Intellectual,  Artistic  and  Poetic  Association  in  the  Cultural  Memory  of  Chinese  Music:  The  Art  of  Li  Xiangting  and Chou  Wen-­chung 9.  POON  Kiu-­tung│Interpreting  CHEN  Yi’s  Ba  Ban  (1999) 10.  John  O.  ROBISON│Wang  Xi-­Lin,  Human  Suffering,  and  Compositional  Trends  in  Twenty-­First  Century  China 11.  WONG  Hoi  Yan│Numbers  in  the  Pitch  and  Rhythmic  Organization  of  Luo  Zhongrong’s  Twelve-­Note  Music 12.  Alvin  WONG  Yan-­ming│Fusing  Chinese  and  Western  Traditions:  Hybridity  in  Bright  Sheng  's  Seven  Tunes  Heard  In  China  and Chen  Yi's  Ning 13.  YANG  Chia-­Wei│CHANG  Hao's  Musical  Works:  Conjunction  of  the  Thoughts  of  Traditional  Sinology  and  the  Aesthetics  of Western  Contemporary  Music 14.  Esther  YU  Ngai-­ying│The  Identity  Construction  of  the  Hong  Kong  Chinese  Orchestra  and  Hong  Kong  Composers

Hong Kong  Composers'  Guild  Limited Unit  707  Hong  Kong  Arts  Centre,  2  Harbour  Road   Wanchai,  Hong  Kong ©  2013  Hong  Kong  Composers'  Guild

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Kong Miu Lan <kongmiulan@rhapsoarts.com> To: Alvin Wong 2013 Chinese Composers' Festival Symposium -- Alvin Wong

September 15, 2013 12:56 AM

Dear Mr. Wong, I am pleased to inform you that your paper, entitled â&#x20AC;&#x153;Fusing Chinese and Western Traditions: Hybridity in Bright Sheng's Seven Tunes Heard In China and Chen Yi's Ningâ&#x20AC;? has been accepted for presentation at the 2013 Chinese Composers' Festival on on Dec Dec 33 or or 4, 4, 2013 2013 (Tue (Tue or or Wed) Wed). Schedule of the Symposium will be announced at a later stage. Kindly provide the following materials to us by email on or before Sept Sept 27, 27, 2013 2013 (Fri) (Fri) for our necessary arrangements: 1. Nationality; 2. Short biography in English with academic affiliation (no more than 150 words); 3. Publicity photo of the speaker (preferably in JPEG format); and 4. Equipments for paper presentation. Please also note the followings for your information: 1. Speakers will be given 20 20 minutes minutes for their presentations, which will be conducted conducted in in English English; 2. A full paper in in English English must be submitted to the Secretariat at kongmiulan@rhapsoarts.com by 11 November November 2013 2013 (Fri) (Fri) (5pm; (5pm; HK HK Time) Time). Registration will begin in late October and we shall let you know the details once available. Should you need further information, please feel free to contact us on tel: (852) 2722-1630; Fax: (852) 2724-1960 or email: kongmiulan@rhapsoarts.com. Thank you once again for your interest and support to the 2013 Chinese Composers' Festival and we look forward to welcoming you at the coming Festival in December. With regards, -KONG Miu-lan (Ms.) RhapsoArts Management Ltd. Room 701, 7/F, The Hart, 4 Hart Avenue Tsimshatsui, Kowloon, HONG KONG Tel: (852) 2722-1630; Fax: (852) 2724-1960 Email: kongmiulan@rhapsoarts.com Website: www.rhapsoarts.com


! ! ! ! ! !

Mr.

24th December 2013

Dr. Alvin Wong Yan-ming acello@me.com

Mr. Dear Dr. Wong, On behalf of the Hong Kong Composers’ Guild, I write to express our genuine gratitude to you for your contribution in delivering the paper “Fusing Chinese and Western Traditions: hybridity in Bright Sheng’s Seven Tunes Heard in China and Chen Yi’s Ning” in the Symposia “Retrospect and Prospect: Chinese Composers in the Age of Globalization” during the 2013 Chinese Composers’ Festival. As an essential part of the Festival, the Symposia held at Administration Building of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre on 3rd – 4th December 2013 were well attended by some keen audiences. Your paper is very inspiring, and your live demonstration on cello was also one of the highlights of the Symposia. Without your presentation and your active participation in the discussion, the Symposia would not be so successful. The Hong Kong Composers’ Guild looks forward to have more opportunities to work with you in future. Yours sincerely,

Dr. Joshua Chan Chairman, Hong Kong Composers' Guild


Presentation Script Fusing Chinese and Western Traditions: Hybridity in Bright Sheng’s Seven Tunes Heard In China and Chen Yi’s Ning By Yan Ming Alvin Wong November 10, 2013

Introduction In the past decade, Chinese-American composers have attracted increasing attention around the world. Works of Chen Yi, Bright Sheng, Tan Dun and Zhou Long, often called the “New Wave” composers, present new sonorities to Western and Asian audiences alike. Composers of this generation share many similarities in their upbringing and education. In their teenage years, they went through the Cultural Revolution. When the conservatories reopened in 1977, they were among the first to enroll and graduate. Subsequently they pursued their doctoral degrees and studied with the same teachers, notably Chou Wen-Chung, at Columbia University. They are often characterized for transcending cultural boundaries, and bringing Eastern and Western traditions together, 1 and their works associated with words such as “fusion” and “hybrid,” which we have heard a lot yesterday. Yet these labels do not mute the individual voices of these composers. The common influences they were exposed to generate a variety of stylistic responses. This variety attracts my interest to find out how they distinguish from each other. For the purpose of this presentation, I 1

See individual biographies. Chen Yi’s on Presser, <http://www.presser.com/composers/info.cfm? name=chenyi>; Bright Sheng’s, <http://www.brightsheng.com/bio.html >; Tan Dun’s on Schirmer, <http://www.schirmer.com/default.aspx?TabId=2419&State_2872=2&composerId_2872=1561>; and Zhou Long’s on Oxford, <http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/category/music/composers/zhoulong.do>.


have chosen to focus on Bright Sheng and Chen Yi, as they both quote folk tunes in their works but in very different ways. Model of Hybridity [CLICK Slide 2] Ethnomusicologist Sarah Weiss (2008)2 explores the issue of hybridization in performing arts using models established in biology, culture studies and postcolonial discourse. She proposed two kinds of musical hybridizations based on time-scale and processes after studies of hybridity in language. [CLICK] “Natural hybridity” occurs when the resulting style is similar to but not exactly like any of its parents, and is continuing such that more persons or groups perform or compose in this style which develops in its own right. At this point, people stop trying to identify which elements come from which parent and accept this style as new. Another kind involves intentional fusions or juxtapositions of at least two different genres or culturally distinct ideas. She uses the term [CLICK] “intentional hybridity,” as fusion is often acknowledged and advertised in these musical products. She further observes that the intentional hybridizations do not usually turn into any long-term genre, but are more confined to the style of a certain individual. In my opinion, instead of two distinct categories, Weiss’s model represents a [CLICK] spectrum of different degrees of hybridization in musical creativity. This model is particularly useful when discussing hybridity in the works of the generation of Chinese-American composers that we are looking at today. Often media conveniently puts all of these composers into one category, namely “East meets West,” neglecting the differences in their approaches to hybridity and their individuality.

2

Sarah Weiss gave an unpublished lecture titled “Sounding Authentic: Listening to Globalization” at Peking University, Beida Campus on 18 April 2008.


Before I move on to discuss the two pieces, I would like to play two excerpts for you--the first one from Seven Tunes, and the other from Ning. Without playing the original folk tunes for you beforehand, I would like to invite you to listen to these two excerpts while thinking where you would put them in the musical hybridization spectrum, that is, how easy you can identify the parental musical sources. [CLICK Slide 3] Play Seasons from Seven Tunes. [CLICK Slide 4] Play Opening section of Ning. You may already have an opinion on where you would put these two excerpts in the spectrum. Throughout Seven Tunes Heard In China, Sheng begins a movement with a direct quotation of a folk tune, immediately identifiable from its pentatonic sonority, and then personalizes the tune by mixing Chinese and Western musical elements with a variety of compositional strategies that are identified closest to “intentional hybridity.” As the music in each movement unfolds his process of intentional fusion of elements from the two distinct musical traditions, I call his two-phase strategy an “increasing hybridization” approach. [CLICK Slide 5] Each movement begins with a quotation of a folk tune, transcribed and interpreted by the composer with detailed expressive instructions such as glissandos, dynamics, ornamentation and bending pitches in the style of the Chinese regional folk traditions. In Seasons, the first six measures show a pretty loyal transcription of the original folk tune Siji Ge (

). I

call this the “Quotation phase.” But by the 7th measure, [CLICK Slide 6] beginning of the “Personalization Phase,” a lower voice emerges echoing and responding to the upper voice, creating


a polyphonic texture. The folk tune is now broken into fragments and shuffled, while the polyphony continues. Interaction among multiple voices develops an intricate web of conversations that include imitating, interrupting and transferring certain phrases to another voice, as detailed in this slide. These techniques Sheng consciously engages resemble procedures that Western composers use on thematic materials in musically more adventurous and exploratory sections, such as the “development” of the sonata form. Dissonance and rapid mode changes, absent in traditional Chinese music, are heavily used in the personalization phase. In the polyphonic developments of “Seasons,” two voices are separated by their distinct pentatonic collections that share no common tones. Example (a) demonstrates that the upper voice uses a mode consists of pitch classes D, E, F-sharp, A and B, while the lower voice characterizes pitch classes A-flat, B-flat, C, E-flat and F. The different sonorities of these two modes allow listeners to distinguish their respective folk tune fragments in their own pentatonic realm, yet once they overlap, [CLICK TWICE] tritone relations, such as the momentary double-stops of E and B-flat, result. This interval stands out in this context because it does not exist in the Chinese pentatonic collection. The musical language contrast between the two phases illustrates Sheng’s “increasing hybridization” approach. [CLICK Slide 7] Unlike Bright Sheng’s Seven Tunes, the quoted folk tune Molihua is not the sole basis for Ning. It however carries an important meaning for the occasion of the commission—it symbolizes the peace that the Chinese people were looking forward to during the difficult years of the Nanjing Massacre in 1937. Besides Molihua, Chen draws musical materials from a diverse pool of pitch resources, such as the whole-tone and octatonic collections. However, manipulations of Molihua best illustrate the strategies she employs to combine different musical materials. How


Molihua is transformed in different contexts throughout the work makes it a prime example of what I call an “integrated” approach. While folk tunes are often presented in a complete, lucid manner in Sheng’s Seven Tunes, Chen never quotes the entire Molihua in Ning. Instead, all fragments of the folksong that appear in the work are derived from its first two phrases. Chen takes immense liberty in tonal and rhythmic treatment of the tune. The motives are transposed to a different pentatonic collection (sometimes more than one) in every instance in this example. In particular, Ex. 3 shows three different sets of pentatonic collections in the course of four quarter beats.

[CLICK Slide 8] The durational

proportion among notes of a motive is preserved in Ex. 4, 6 and 7, but motive “a” is augmented and transformed so freely in Ex. 5 that it loses its original character. [CLICK Slide 9] The variety of transformations in pitch content, rhythmic composition, melodic contour, metric emphasis, articulation, durational proportion, and performance techniques suggests that Chen takes the folk tune out of its original context and discards its textual correlation to flowers. She treats Molihua only as a pre-existing melody that carries historical and symbolic value, and through various alterations she gives each appearance a new character, emotion and musical meaning at specific moments of the work. Fragments from Ex. 2 and 3, both are part of the opening cello monologue, but surrounded by motives and ideas of with contrasting sonorities. It isn’t until later in the work that Molihua begins to appear in longer, more recognizable fragments, in accordance to its programmatic evolution. The variety of appearances of the folksong and its contextual settings provide strong evidences for Chen Yi’s integrated approach to hybridity. The transformation of Molihua exhibits an evolution of how the tune is organically synthesized with other materials. In Ning’s case, diverse


musical ideas are unified and interwoven into an organic whole that represents Chen Yi’s personal voice in the style of fusing Chinese and Western traditions. The differences in the composers’ approaches show different degrees of intentional hybridity. Based on Weiss’s theory of musical hybridity, the works of Sheng and Chen occupy two different positions on the spectrum of hybridization. Seven Tunes is closer to “intentional hybridization”, and Ning to “natural hybridization.” I cannot predict whether these approaches of Chinese-Modernist fusion will become a style in its own right--that it will reach the stage of natural hybridity. At present, other composers such Tan Dun, Zhou Long, Ge Gan-ru, and Chen Qigang, who use approaches similar to theirs, are well received both in the West and in China. Certainly their achievements and the evolution of this stylistic trend play an important role in the development history of music in China and the “fusion” strategy in light of globalization. Sheng and Chen’s respective approaches to hybridity may also be viewed as a reflection of their perception of their dual identity. The degree of preservation of Chinese folk music may suggest their personal weighting of Chinese traditions within their broader artistic and cultural goals. How does the hybridity in their music relate to their integration to the American society as first generation Chinese-Americans? How did their output influence composers in their homeland and subsequent generations of Chinese-Americans? How do their works influence the development of Chinese music? As the world becomes more globalized, more attention will be drawn to musical hybridity. Its implications for individual and cultural issues provide directions for further research on this topic.


Presentation Powerpoint

Fusing Chinese and Western Traditions: Hybridity in Bright Sheng s Seven Tunes Heard In China and Chen Yi s Ning Yan Ming Alvin WONG


Weiss s Model of Hybridity

Intentional Hybridity

Natural Hybridity

!


NING For Violin, Pipa and Cello (2001) By Chen Yi


Seven Tunes Heard In China: I. Seasons Siji Ge


Seven Tunes Heard In China: I. Seasons a) Imitation (mm. 7-8)

b) Interruption

c) Melody Transfer

!


Ning! Molihua 2) mm. 2-3 Cello

3) mm. 5-6 Cello

4) m. 51, cello pizzicato, from motive b

5) mm. 110-113, cello, from motive a

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Ning 4) m. 51, cello pizzicato, from motive b

6) mm. 114-115, violin

7) m. 168, violin and cello

!


Ning Opening Monologue:

C1/Chrom. = chromatic collection TT = Tritone Pent. = Pentatonic collection 5.1b/c = fragments of Molihua WT = Whole Tone collection Oct. = Octatonic collection !


Paper Submitted Fusing Chinese and Western Traditions: Hybridity in Bright Sheng’s Seven Tunes Heard In China and Chen Yi’s Ning By Yan Ming Alvin Wong November 10, 2013

Introduction In the past decade, Chinese-American composers have attracted increasing attention around the world. Works of Chen Yi, Bright Sheng, Tan Dun and Zhou Long, often called the “New Wave” composers, present new sonorities to Western and Asian audiences alike. Composers of this generation share many similarities in their upbringing and education. In their teenage years, they went through the Cultural Revolution (1966-76). When the conservatories reopened in 1977, they were among the first to enroll and graduate. Subsequently they pursued their doctoral degrees and studied with the same teachers, notably Chou Wen-Chung, at Columbia University. They are often characterized for transcending cultural boundaries, and bringing Eastern and Western traditions together,1 and their works associated with words such as “fusion” and “hybrid.” Yet these labels do not mute the individual voices of these composers. The common influences they were exposed !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 See individual biographies. Chen Yi’s on Presser, <http://www.presser.com/composers/info.cfm?name=chenyi>; Bright Sheng’s, <http://www.brightsheng.com/bio.html >; Tan Dun’s on Schirmer, <http://www.schirmer.com/default.aspx?TabId=2419&State_2872=2&composerId_2872=15 61>; and Zhou Long’s on Oxford, <http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/category/music/composers/zhoulong.do>.


to generate a variety of stylistic responses. This variety attracts my interest to find out how they distinguish from each other. For the purpose of this paper, I have chosen to focus on Bright Sheng and Chen Yi, as they both quote folk tunes in their works but in very different ways. Model of Hybridity Ethnomusicologist Sarah Weiss (2008) 2 explores the issue of hybridization in performing arts using models established in biology, culture studies and postcolonial discourse. She proposed two kinds of musical hybridizations based on time-scale and processes after studies of hybridity in language. “Natural hybridity” occurs when the resulting style is similar to but not exactly like any of its parents, and is continuing such that more persons or groups perform or compose in this style which develops in its own right. At this point, people stop trying to identify which elements come from which parent and accept this style as new. Another kind involves intentional fusions or juxtapositions of at least two different genres or culturally distinct ideas. She uses the term “intentional hybridity,” as fusion is often acknowledged and advertised in these musical products. She further observes that the intentional hybridizations do not usually turn into any long-term genre, but are more confined to the style of a certain individual. Weiss’s model represents a spectrum of different degrees of hybridization in musical creativity. This model is particularly useful when discussing hybridity in the works of the generation of Chinese-American composers. Often media conveniently puts all of these composers into one category, namely “East meets West,” neglecting the differences in their !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2 Sarah Weiss gave an unpublished lecture titled “Sounding Authentic: Listening to Globalization” at Peking University, Beida Campus on 18 April 2008.


approaches to hybridity and their individuality. Although musical elements of their works come from apparently distinctive sources, it would be superficial to stop at the stage of labeling which constituent comes from which tradition. This paper attempts to investigate the approaches and strategies that two representatives of this generation of Chinese-American composers, Bright Sheng and Chen Yi, utilize in the process of hybridization in their respective works Seven Tunes Heard In China for solo cello and Ning for violin, pipa and cello. In particular, how “intentional” are these composers towards hybridity as reflected in the music? How do their approaches to hybridity shape their individual voices? Finally, how do hybridity and their respective approaches relate to their identity as Chinese-American composers?

Seven Tunes Heard In China - An “Increasing Hybridization” Approach In order to avoid being sent to the farmlands and be “re-educated” during the Cultural Revolution, Bright Sheng auditioned to play piano and percussion in a provincial song-and-dance troupe (The Qinghai Folk Song and Dance Theater) in Xining, capital of the Qinghai province next to Tibet. He was greatly inspired by the folk music from that region, and was particularly drawn to the folksong genre huaer (literally “flower,” a type of mountain songs sung between young lovers as part of courtship) and Tibetan dance music, which are quoted in the outer movements of Seven Tunes Heard In China (1995). Throughout this work, Sheng begins a movement with a direct quotation of a folk tune, immediately identifiable from its pentatonic sonority, and then personalizes the tune by mixing Chinese and Western musical elements with a variety of compositional strategies that are identified


closest to “intentional hybridity.” As the music in each movement unfolds his process of intentional fusion of elements from the two distinct musical traditions, I call his two-phase strategy an “increasing hybridization” approach. Phase I: Quotation Seven Tunes Heard In China was commissioned by the Pacific Symphony for Dr. George Cheng in honor of his wife Arlene. Written for solo cello, it was premiered and recorded by cellist Yo-yo Ma. Each movement begins with a quotation of a folk tune, transcribed and interpreted by the composer with detailed expressive instructions such as glissandos, dynamics, ornamentation and bending pitches in the style of the Chinese regional folk traditions. To portray the mood and the meaning of the text of the original folk song, Sheng departs from traditions and employs various performance techniques absent in the practices of Chinese music. In particular, he uses a mute for the melancholic melody in “Little Cabbage,” artificial harmonics to imitate whistling of train in the children’s song “Diu Diu Dong,” and tapping on the cello body to mimic drumming in “Tibetan Dance.” The freedom Sheng takes in rhythmic and metric treatments is foreign to the Chinese. While most of Tibetan dance music has a regular 2/4 meter, in the last movement “Tibetan Dance” he employs a constantly changing meter, similar to Stravinsky engages this idiom in Danse Sacrale. On the surface, the changing meter appears to upset the regularity and predictability of the original folk music. However, the folk tune remains intact and recognizable as he utilizes Western compositional techniques in these transcriptions


Phase II: Personalization After the initial presentation at the beginning of each movement, the folk tune is

fragmented, and the fragments are repeated, doubled, transposed, altered, contracted, shuffled, metrically displaced, supplemented with accompaniment, or even woven into a polyphonic texture. These techniques Sheng consciously engages resemble procedures that Western composers use on thematic materials in musically more adventurous and exploratory sections, such as the “development” of the sonata form. Caidiao, the folksong used in the second movement “Guessing Song,” is a simple tune made up of several distinctive melodic gestures: a) the opening interval of a fourth (both ascending and descending); b) a falling sixth; c) a “bending” gesture in m. 2; and d) an arpeggiated triad in m. 5. Ex. 1(a) shows the quotation of the folksong, and 1(b) shows how these gestures are extracted, transposed, shuffled, repeated, and combined together in the development. Note that in 3.2a, the accompanying pedal on A does not belong to the tune. Sheng has already incorporated a non-Chinese element in the presentation of the tune, depicting its playful and lively character. Example 1: Excerpts from “Guessing Song” (a) Quotation of Caidiao in “Guessing Song” and its four melodic gestures.


d

(b) The four melodic gestures in the development, mm. 13-21. c

d

a

b

a

c

c

d

a

c

c

c

d

c

c

a

d

c

b

c

Sheng also makes use of fragments to create a polyphonic texture, in which the voices engage in dialogues with each other. In “Seasons,” this texture begins in m. 7, even before the quotation of the entire folk tune is completed. A lower voice emerges and imitates the upper voice in m. 8. The polyphony continues, and the interaction among multiple voices develops an intricate web of conversations that include imitating, interrupting and transferring certain phrases to another voice, as detailed in Example 2. Example 2: Interaction between voices in “Seasons” (a) Imitation in mm. 14-15

c

c


(b) Interruption in mm. 21-23: the melody in B-flat is interrupted by a bi-tonally layered upper voice in A, which is partially imitated back in B-flat in m. 22 before finishing its own line in m. 23. Interruption is also evident in the previous example.

(c) Melodic transfer in mm. 9-12: the melody is transferred to the lower voice in m. 10 and completes it in m. 12.

Besides using melodic fragments, Sheng pushes folk tunes to further abstraction by extracting and focusing on a motive within motives. In “Diu Diu Dong,” the three motives taken from the mm. 14-16 melody for development in the middle section are reduced to an emphasis only on the ascending fourth, mirrored by its inversion in the lower voice in the polyphonic setting, in mm. 49-59, shown in Example 3. Example 3: Motives from “Diu Diu Dong” and its reduced polyphonic setting. (a) Motives a-c in “Diu Diu Dong” mm. 14-16.


(b) Polyphonic setting of the ascending fourth motive a, interspersed by b and c. c

a

b a

b

Dissonance and rapid mode changes, absent in traditional Chinese music, are heavily used in the personalization phase. In the polyphonic developments of “Seasons,” two voices are separated by their distinct pentatonic collections that share no common tones. Example 2(a) demonstrates that the upper voice uses E Mode 2, which consists of D, E, F-sharp, A and B, while the lower voice characterizes B-flat Mode 2 with pitch classes A-flat, B-flat, C, E-flat and F. The different sonorities of these two modes allow listeners to distinguish their respective folk tune fragments in their own pentatonic realm, yet once they overlap, tritone relations, such as the momentary double-stops of E and B-flat in Ex. 2(a), result. This interval stands out in this context because it does not exist in the Chinese pentatonic collection. Similarly, in Ex. 3(b), the ascending fourth motive “a” used in both voices are


again set in different modes, forming half-steps and tri-tones that give the passage a dissonant sound. Sheng also creates dissonances by setting a folk tune over a pedal, which creates minor seconds, major sevenths, and tritones. Example 4 quotes the Tibetan folk tune Aima Linji, used in the last movement “Tibetan Dance,” in D-flat Mode 1 played against the pedal open D string. The prominence of compound intervals of tri-tone, major seventh, and minor second creates a highly dissonant effect, even though the tune itself stays in the pentatonic realm. “Guessing Song” (Ex. 1) and “Drunken Fisherman” are the other movements that highlight this “pedal dissonance” feature. Although dissonant pedals typify many Western styles from Monteverdi to Bartók, they are not typical of Chinese music. Example 4: Quotation of Aima Linji in mm. 113-116 of “Tibetan Dance.”

Most of Chinese folk music is monophonic in nature (as are the folk tunes quoted in this work). By setting these tunes, or fragments of them, in a variety of polyphonic textures, Sheng presents a strong case of intentional hybridity. In addition, Bartók’s influence is evident in Sheng’s music. Both composers share a fondness for tri-tone. The dissonant intervals such as tri-tones, half steps and major sevenths, all absent in the Chinese pentatonic collection, create tonal friction between voices, and between the moving folk tune and the static pedal in a polyphonic texture. These characteristics, together with the


significant contrast between the two phases discussed above, illustrate Sheng’s “increasing hybridization” approach.

Ning - An “Integrated Hybridization” Approach Ning, a one-movement work written for violin, cello and pipa commissioned by the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota for the concert Hun Qiao (Bridge of Souls – A Concert of Remembrance and Reconciliation) to commemorate the Nanjing Massacre of 1937, is Chen Yi’s personal emotional response to the atrocity.3 Unlike Bright Sheng’s Seven Tunes, in which pre-existing folk music is the primary focus, the quoted folk tune Molihua is not the sole basis for Ning. It however carries an important meaning for the occasion of the commission—it symbolizes the peace that the Chinese people were looking forward to during these difficult years. Although the text of the tune expresses nothing beyond the love and appreciation for the jasmine flower, its innocence and simplicity capture the essence of an implied harmony in the society. Since its origin is Jiangsu, the province where Nanjing is situated, Molihua was the perfect candidate for Chen Yi’s work. Besides Molihua, Chen draws musical materials from a diverse pool of pitch resources, such as the whole-tone and octatonic collections. However, manipulations of Molihua best illustrate the strategies she employs to combine different musical materials. How Molihua is transformed in different contexts throughout the work makes it a prime example of what I call an “integrated” approach. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 3 Dan Olson, "Chen Yi Interview Transcript," Minnesota Public Radio - Hun Qiao: Bridge of Souls, September 10, 2001, http://music.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/0109_hun_qiao/yi_transcript.shtml (accessed December 14, 2010).


Transformations of Molihua While folk tunes are often presented in a complete, lucid manner in Shengâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Seven Tunes, Chen never quotes the entire Molihua in Ning. Instead, all fragments of the folksong that appear in the work are derived from its first two phrases. Example 5 shows a parallel comparison between the original tune and several fragments of it found in the trio. Example 5: First two phrases of Molihua and its quotation fragments in Ning (a) The first two phrases of the Molihua (M) a

b

5.1b

c

(b) mm. 2-3, cello

(c) mm. 5-6, cello c

a

b

c

(d) m. 51, cello pizzicato, from motive b

(e) mm. 110-113, cello, from motive a


(f) mm. 114-115, violin

b

a

(g) m. 168, violin and cello

a

b

c

(h) mm. 212-213, violin

Chen takes immense liberty in tonal and rhythmic treatment of the tune. The motives are transposed to a different pentatonic collection (sometimes more than one) in every instance in this example. In particular, Ex. 5c shows three different sets of pentatonic collections in the course of four quarter beats: the first quarter belongs to C-centered pentatonic, the second and third quarters are G-centered, and the last quarter is A-flat centered. Rhythmically, Ex. 5c comes closest to the original, which is made up of even


sixteenth notes. The durational proportion among notes of a motive is preserved in Ex. 5d, 5f and 5g, as the tune fragments are rearranged to sextuplets and triplets in the latter two examples respectively. But motive â&#x20AC;&#x153;aâ&#x20AC;? is augmented and transformed so freely in Ex. 5e that it loses its original character. The outline of the folk tune changes considerably over the course of the work. Irregular octave displacement in Ex. 5g, which changes of melodic contour, and regrouping of the notes into triplets disguise the tune. In Ex. 5c, motives from the tune are shuffled. Towards the end of the work, the tune is further simplified to the pitches shown in Ex. 5h, corresponding to the circled pitches in the theme in Ex. 5a. Among these examples, it becomes apparent that the only property of the motives Chen preserves in her transformations is the intervallic relationship between pitches within a motive. Molihua In Context The variety of transformations in pitch content, rhythmic composition, melodic contour, metric emphasis, articulation, durational proportion, and performance techniques suggests that Chen takes the folk tune out of its original context and discards its textual correlation to flowers. She treats Molihua only as a pre-existing melody that carries historical and symbolic value, and through various alterations she gives each appearance a new character, emotion and musical meaning at specific moments of the work. Fragments from Ex. 5b and 5c, both are part of the opening monologue (played by the cello) and shown in context in Ex. 6, belong to the continuously ascending line in mm. 1-7, and are surrounded by motives and ideas of with contrasting sonorities. The opening four notes, arranged in the pattern of alternating ascending whole-steps and descending


half-steps, represent a chromatic collection labeled â&#x20AC;&#x153;C1â&#x20AC;?. This pattern can be extended infinitely, and can be traced throughout the entire work. C1 is followed by a tritone (beat 2) and a displaced five-note descending chromatic scale (beats 3 and 4). Preceded by another pentatonic collection that shares only one common tone with it (B-natural), the Ex. 5b fragment is followed by a whole-tone segment and an octatonic segment. Similarly, the 5c fragment is preceded by two different octatonic collections, and followed by a short chromatic and a whole-tone segment (in m. 8 not shown here).4 The brief moments of pentatonic fragments of Molihua are obscured within a mixture of dissonances. Example 6: Molihua fragments in context, mm. 1-7 C1

Oct.

Chrom.

Pent.

TT

Oct.

Oct.

5.1b

WT

5.1c

Yet Chen does not intend to hide Molihua all the time. It begins to appear in substantially longer phrases, covering a significant length of music starting from m. 109. However it is still understated in the pianissimo cello part with rhythmically altered longheld notes as shown in Ex. 5e. The first phrase of the folksong is repeated twice in this manner in the cello part, while the upper voices, the violin and pipa, are busy playing gestures and melodies made from the Japanese, whole-tone, and chromatic collections in !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 Li Songwen, Zhongxi hebi: Chenyi Yinyue Zuopin zhong de Minzu Yinsu (Shanghai: Shanghai Music Conservatory Publisher, 2006), 73.


much shorter note values. Occasionally, pentatonic fragments are found incorporated in the upper voices, responding to the humming tune in the lowest part. Example 7 shows the emerging folk tune standing alone in the bottom voice, strongly contrasted and masked by the dense activities in the upper layers of the texture. Example 7: Ning, mm. 109-119

M “a”

M “a”

Ex. 5e (Molihua motive “a”) Ex. 5f

M “b”

M “b”


Sequence M “a”

M “b”

M “b”

M “c”

Molihua gradually gains attention when the violin begins a duet with the cello on the humming folk tune in m. 126. The imitative dialogue becomes more apparent in m. 132, when the folk motives are closer to each other. Although the instruments are still playing the tune, it is set in different pentatonic collections that share few or no common tone so the sonority stays dissonant. The long anticipated folksong finally comes into the spotlight when two bowed string instruments reconcile in m. 168 and play the same tune two octaves apart. The pipa joins them in m. 181, and the whole ensemble is playing Molihua in unison. However, it is by no means an explicit quote of the tune—only the first phrase is repeated, and it dissolves into the chromatic pattern “C1” (which comes from the beginning of the piece) at the end of each appearance. Moreover, the tune has irregular octave displacement, twisting the contour of the melody, and the four-note motives are regrouped into triplets as shown in Ex. 5g, making the tune less recognizable. The growing importance of the folk tune during the course of the work is reflected by its programmatic role in recalling the historical incident. Chen does not explicitly relate other musical materials to any aspect of the massacre, yet some of the ties are self-evident,


for example, the use of the Japanese pentatonic collection. In this passage, the unison texture she employs in the quotations delivers a strong coherent message about the symbolic meanings of the tune she states in her program notes and interviews. If unison Molihua evokes peace, the highly dissonant and dramatic first half of the piece may well represent the war, the enemies, or her emotions in reaction to the invasion. The humble emergence of the folk tune in the cello, subsequently joined by the violin and the pipa is a response towards the cruel event. Although appearing in serene unity, these quotations dissolve into the opening chromatic patterns that indicate doubts and ambivalences. Molihua appears for the last time in the section beginning from m. 210. It is reduced, as shown in Example 4.1h, to a few principal notes, and passed around among the three instruments. The bowed strings play with artificial harmonics, and the pipa uses the technique Xiangjiao Rouxian (

)â&#x20AC;&#x201D;pulling the string to the side of the frets by the

left hand and roll with right had, producing a whispering sound. In this section, the three instruments do not agree on the modality of the reduced tune. Their insistence continues to create dissonant intervals such as tri-tones and half steps. Rhythmically free, the very high and soft sounding tunes create an empty, sad, nearly ghostly atmosphere, perhaps depicting a destroyed and abandoned city. The variety of appearances of the folksong and its contextual settings provide strong evidences for Chen Yiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s integrated approach to hybridity. The transformation of Molihua exhibits an evolution of how the tune is organically synthesized with other materials. From its initial presence in the cello cadenza to its final statement in the coda, the tune develops from fragments as short as four sixteenth notes to long held phrases, from improvisatory


spinning gestures to lyrical melodic lines, and from brief motives to full ensemble unison melody. In Ning’s case, diverse musical ideas are unified and interwoven into an organic whole that represents Chen Yi’s personal voice in the style of fusing Chinese and Western traditions.

Conclusion In Seven Tunes Heard In China and Ning, Bright Sheng and Chen Yi draw inspirations and materials from Chinese and Western musical traditions to develop a personal style. While both composers quote Chinese folk tunes and synthesize other Chinese and Western musical elements in their works, my study shows the differences in their approaches. Sheng’s approach, which I term an “increasing hybridization,” utilizes explicitly quoted folk melodies and shows the process of personalization through various developmental procedures in the course of the music. Folk tunes are fragmented, transposed, rhythmically altered, displaced, and set polyphonically. The Chinese pentatonic and Western modernist dissonant sonorities are distinctive and recognizable to the listeners, and Sheng successfully brings out the friction, interaction and relationship between the two realms in his work. Chen Yi on the other hand uses an “integrated hybridization” approach in Ning. The folk tune Molihua is one of the many “ingredients” she uses for her work. It loses its original meaning and context, and is mixed with other musical materials for the expression of the composer’s response to the programmatic intention of the work. She transforms small fragments of the tune in different ways and weaves them together with other musical ideas to create an organic whole. Although a hint of Chinese pentatonicism remains, it melts with


a variety of sonorities, so that listeners become less aware of the individual constituents but enjoy the hybridized outcome. The differences in the composers’ approaches show different degrees of intentional hybridity. Based on Weiss’s theory of musical hybridity, the works of Sheng and Chen occupy two different positions on the spectrum of hybridization. Seven Tunes is closer to “intentional hybridization”, and Ning to “natural hybridization.” I cannot predict whether these approaches of Chinese-Modernist fusion will become a style in its own right--that it will reach the stage of natural hybridity. At present, other composers such Tan Dun, Zhou Long, Ge Gan-ru, and Chen Qigang, who use approaches similar to theirs, are well received both in the West and in China. Certainly their achievements and the evolution of this stylistic trend play an important role in the development history of music in China and the “fusion” strategy in light of globalization. Sheng and Chen’s respective approaches to hybridity may also be viewed as a reflection of their perception of their dual identity. The degree of preservation of Chinese folk music may suggest their personal weighting of Chinese traditions within their broader artistic and cultural goals. How does the hybridity in their music relate to their integration to the American society as first generation Chinese-Americans? How did their output influence composers in their homeland and subsequent generations of Chinese-Americans? How do their works influence the development of Chinese music? As the world becomes more globalized, more attention will be drawn to musical hybridity. Its implications for individual and cultural issues provide directions for further research on this topic.

7. Research/Conference