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The Reshaping of My Compositional Approaches by the Application of Improvised Components


My interest in composition in the past two years focuses on exploring the possibility, flexibility, potential, and expressiveness of conduction and improvisation. The relationship between improvisation and composition makes me reconsider my compositional approach and my artist’s status.

Conduction, a unique system using the symbolic vocabulary of ideographic signs and gestures to create real-time composition, was created by Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris (1947- 2013). I review conduction as a real-time composition in terms of timbre, orchestration, and structure. My orchestral piece Between Clouds and Streams (2018) explores the relationships, including musical materials, dynamics, times, and interpretations between the inspiration from specific gestures in conduction, yunshui (clouds and streams) in Chinese landscape painting, and composition. It illustrates how I consider my own musical identity through culture and conduction, a new way of making music.

The second part of the dissertation emphasizes the application of improvised components, and my status transformation from composer to performer to collaborator by improvisation, through the comparison of my three pieces for electronics and solo instrument. It consists of the comparison of notation and collaboration in the three pieces including Blossom Singing for trumpet solo and fixed media (2019), To Wuhan: Weeping Eyes and Strong Tears for prepared piano solo and 8-channel live electronics (2020), and Sparks for percussion solo and 8-channel live electronics (2020).

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