Musical Idiom and cultural expression: harmony, timbre, and gesture in Qigang Chen's Wu Xing

Ruihan Yang
How should a listener perceive a musical idea as an expression of a broader philosophical concepts? Musical scholarship often focuses primarily on either the historical context of a musical work or the musical concepts of the piece itself. However, it is my contention that musical scholarship can be enhanced by the convergence of both frameworks to heighten one's understanding of a piece of music. This dissertation aims to focus on a piece of music through both philosophical and technical
more » ... and technical prisms. With Qigang Chen's orchestra suite Wu Xing as the musical medium to support this manner of inquiry, I aim to provide listeners the technical evidence to support the philosophical meaning behind the music. This dissertation will draw upon the scholarship of both Chen's formative experiences and musical techniques while incorporating the tenets of ancient Wuxing principles to provide a multidimensional system in which to understand the relationship between the Wuxing theory and Chen's musical choices within the piece. I assert that there are new and creative ways of perceiving the different characters present within the music based on the concepts of the Wuxing theory. Moreover, my analysis aims to explore Chen's harmonic, gestural and timbral techniques by exploring their associations with symbolic properties that I believe Chen adheres to throughout the piece.
doi:10.7282/t3-h1q6-5z73 fatcat:xjvlaqj7mjd2fcs4du2onpjod4