Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Miller, Leta. “Beneath the Hybrid Surface: Baban as a Tool for Self-Definition in the Music of Chen Yi.” American Music 37 (Fall 2019): 330-57.

Chinese American composer Chen Yi incorporates elements of traditional Chinese music on the surface level and in the underlying structure of her work to create a unique fusion of styles as exemplified by her use of the Chinese mother-tune Baban. In traditional Chinese music, Baban is classified as a type of qupai, a particular group of named melodies used as the basis for numerous variations. Chen’s 1992 Piano Concerto incorporates Baban in several ways. The melody is quoted in the opening phrase, the rhythmic pattern is frequently articulated by several instruments, and the structural proportions of the piece correspond to the underlying structure of Baban. Since the Piano Concerto, Chen has used Baban in various forms in at least twenty-one pieces. Some of these pieces borrow all or part of the Baban melody. In others Chen creates rhythmic figures based on the Baban rhythmic form. During her brief experimentation with serialism, Chen combined elements of Baban with twelve-tone techniques. While Chen uses many other signifiers of Chinese traditional music in her compositions, Baban holds a special position as a spiritual connection to Chinese history. By utilizing Baban in multiple ways—as a tune, as a rhythmic plan, and as a structure—Chen creates a cross-cultural identity embracing traditional Chinese and Western art music.

Works: Chen Yi: Piano Concerto (336-40), The Golden Flute (340-43), From the Path of Beauty (343-44), Qi (345-46), Chinese Myths Cantata (345-47), Song in Winter (345-48), Si Ji (345-48), Sparkle (349), The Soulful and the Perpetual (349-51), Three Dances from China South (349-52)

Sources: Traditional: Baban (333-52)

Index Classifications: 1900s, 2000s

Contributed by: Matthew Van Vleet

Except where otherwise noted, this website is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
Creative Commons Attribution License