Document Type

Thesis

Date of Degree

Spring 2015

Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)

Degree In

Music

First Advisor

David Gompper

Abstract

Sizhu was written for the standard Pierrot ensemble though with percussion replacing the singer. This particular ensemble is capable of producing a multitude of colors while maintaining the balance inherent to a chamber group. The Chinese name, si’zhu, is a literal and figurative metaphor for these elements of the ensemble. Literally translated “silk” (sī) and “bamboo” (zhú), the word is a generalization for Chinese classical music developed in the Jiangsu province (Jiāngnán sīzhú) that utilizes strings, or “silk” instruments, and flutes, or “bamboo,” instruments in combination. A typical work involves two or more players of either ilk. In reference to the work presented here, Sizhu is a metaphor for the western instruments (flute and clarinet as “bamboo,” and violin and cello as “silk”) that are employed within the piece. It also refers to my use of a Chinese melody in the compositional process. The song, Er Quan Ying Yue (The Moon Reflected In Second Spring), was composed and performed regularly on the streets by the blind erhu player A Bing. The song has been fragmented, stretched, and varied to the point of near inscrutability, though it becomes more comprehensible following the mid-point. It inspires both structural and local events. The work also employs aspects of the spectral style. The first section is a slow distortion and transformation of the A harmonic spectrum; specific partials are emphasized as the spectrum expands and contracts. Additionally, fragments of the Chinese melody appear within the confines of each specific harmonic structure. The second part completely diverges utilizing assimilated pentatonic scale permutations. Finally, the third section synthesizes these two elements of musical material within the piece as the instruments morendo into silence.

Public Abstract

Sizhu was written for the standard Pierrot ensemble though with percussion replacing the singer. This particular ensemble is capable of producing a multitude of colors while maintaining the balance inherent to a chamber group. The Chinese name, si’zhu, is a literal and figurative metaphor for these elements of the ensemble. Literally translated “silk” () and “bamboo” (zhú), the word is a generalization for Chinese classical music developed in the Jiangsu province (Jiāngnán sīzhú) that utilizes strings, or “silk” instruments, and flutes, or “bamboo,” instruments in combination. A typical work involves two or more players of either ilk.

In reference to the work presented here, Sizhu is a metaphor for the western instruments (flute and clarinet as “bamboo,” and violin and cello as “silk”) that are employed within the piece. It also refers to my use of a Chinese melody in the compositional process. The song, Er Quan Ying Yue (The Moon Reflected In Second Spring), was composed and performed regularly on the streets by the blind erhu player A Bing. The song has been fragmented, stretched, and varied to the point of near inscrutability, though it becomes more comprehensible following the mid-point. It inspires both structural and local events.

The work also employs aspects of the spectral style. The first section is a slow distortion and transformation of the A harmonic spectrum; specific partials are emphasized as the spectrum expands and contracts. Additionally, fragments of the Chinese melody appear within the confines of each specific harmonic structure. The second part completely diverges utilizing assimilated pentatonic scale permutations. Finally, the third section synthesizes these two elements of musical material within the piece as the instruments morendo into silence.

Keywords

publicabstract, A Bing, Chinese folk music, Er Quan Ying Yue, Pierrot ensemble, Spectral music

Pages

xi, 26 pages

Copyright

Copyright 2015 Barry Shelton Sharp

Included in

Music Commons

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