University of Tasmania
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Development of piano in China

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posted on 2023-05-26, 00:19 authored by Lin, En Pei
For the past sixty years, Chinese musicians, especially pianists, piano teachers and composers for piano, have made great efforts to develop Chinese piano music and advance the level of Chinese piano performance and composition. Up to the present Chinese piano music has occupied a remarkable position in the area of piano music in the world. The author who herself has experienced half of this period is proud of the success of Chinese piano music and also has felt not only interest in but, in fact, the necessity of researching the subject. The period of the development of Chinese piano music, however, has been comparatively short. The Chinese nation has nearly one hundred kinds of performing arts and these together with the very active areas of folk and operatic music occupy a large proportion of musical activity. In fact, because Western music, especially piano music, represents only a small portion of the range of music in China, published and unpublished research materials in this subject are very rare. Therefore, since there are no major research publications available on this particular subject, source materials such as small articles published in the music magazines have been used. For further research, the author has had to use personal information through correspondence with colleagues and other distinguished musicians in China. The purpose of this research project is to document the development and achievement of Chinese piano music. The Western piano, after its introduction into China in about the eighteenth century, did not become accepted or widely used until the beginning of the twentieth century. After the 1919 \May Fourth Movement\" and following the introduction of modern trends in professional music training a number of music institutions which included piano performance courses were established. Today in China there are about twenty- two music institutions with piano as a speciality. Since the first piano concert was held m Shanghai in 1930 piano music activities have increased remarkably. Many Chinese pianists have been prize winners at music competitions both in China and abroad. Several musicians have been internationally recognized and invited to adjudicate international competitions. The exchange of pianists between China and other countries has been intensified. After the first Chinese piano composition was published in 1915 Chinese piano music through five different periods and with the endeavours of over one hundred composers has developed a pleasing progression. It has also gradually formed its own specialities and composition methods have become more varied and fresh nowadays including even the twelve-tone system and atonal methods. In chapter 3 five outstanding composers and their works are described. In chapter 4 the famous Chinese composer Ting Shan Te is considered. This composer may be identified as a leading innovator in music education and cultural activities and his compositions for piano and other instruments are significant contributions to music general. It may be concluded that his piano works were integral to the development of piano composition in China. In chapter five the contribution of three distinguished piano teachers who devoted their lives to piano pedagogy is assessed as well as the role of three outstanding musical institutions which are shown to have played a vital role in the development of Chinese piano music. All cultivated a number of elite musicians and enhanced the quality of piano teaching in their own country. Finally one may conclude that although the achievement of Chinese piano performance teaching and composition is considerable Chinese musicians will need to maintain their high rate of progress in order to fulfill the great potential which exists in this field in China."


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