Dissertation Index

Author: Lai, Eric C.

Title: A Theory of Pitch Organization in the Early Music of Chou Wen-chung

Institution: Indiana University

Begun: January 1993

Completed: May 1994


There have been numerous attempts in the field of music theory and analysis to develop analytical theories that take into account the diverse musical systems employed in a composition, the most notable being the analysis of music containing tonal and atonal elements. In this kind of analysis, the different musical systems are still confined within one cultural tradition. For music that contains a combination of culturally diverse musical systems, however, few theories have been developed. The present research proposes an analytical theory that attempts to explain pitch organization in the music of a contemporary Chinese-American composer, Chou Wen-chung, whose compositions contain an amalgamation of Chinese and Western elements. The methodology is applied to analysis of selected compositions from Chou's early repertoire that express the interactions between Chinese modal structures and Western chromaticism. The result of the study should lead to an increased understanding of pitch organization in the early music of Chou: how Chinese elements play a role in the structural organization of his compositions, how these elements are combined and integrated with Western compositional techniques to create an individual style, and how this individual style fits into a larger concept of "re-merger" in music as advocated by Chou.

Keywords: Chou Wen-chung, China, pitch organization, mode, twentieth century, cultural interaction, theory, analysis


Chapter 1: Introduction, rationale, and goals of study
Chapter 2: Chou's biography and compositional development
Chapter 3: Presentation of the Theory
Chapter 4: Preliminary analysis: "Landscapes" (1949)
Chapter 5: "All in the Spring Wind" (1953)
Chapter 6: "And the Fallen Petals" (1954)
Chapter 7: "The Willows Are New" (1957)
Chapter 8: "Soliloquy of a Bhiksuni" (1958)
Chapter 9: Register and spacing, form and proportion, timbre
Chapter 10: Conclusions


Eric Lai
923 Campus View Apts.
Bloomington, IN 47406

     Return to dissertations