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Inventing Tradition: The Influence of Chou Wen-chung's Compositional Aesthetic and the Development of New Wave Composition Open Access


Other title
Compositional Synthesis
Chou Wen-chung
New Wave
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Berg, Lindsay A.
Supervisor and department
Dunch, Ryan (History and Classics)
Examining committee member and department
Bashaw, Howard (Music)
Jay, Jennifer (History and Classics)
Smith, Robert W.(History and Classics)
Dunch, Ryan (History and Classics)
Department of History and Classics
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Arts
Degree level
Chou Wen-chung's innovative compositional synthesis has garnered significant acclaim. His contributions have revitalized and transformed Chinese and Western composition. However, a critical assessment of the construction of Chou's compositional method remains to be seen. This study will argue that Chou's success is due to his exemplification of an 'inventor of tradition,' as propounded in Eric Hobsbawm's The Invention of Tradition (1992). Chou cites his Confucian heritage and his incorporation of wenren and qin artistic aesthetics in order to authenticate his invented tradition. However, Chou's tradition becomes problematic upon its dissemination. In 1978 Chou returned to China and initiated the New Wave movement among Chinese composers. However, Chou has been critical of New Wave works of intercultural synthesis, which is problematic in that his criticisms are based on his selective and 'high brow' method of compositional synthesis. This study will investigate the remarkable value and inconsistencies of Chou's musical synthesis.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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