Date of Award

Spring 5-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



Committee Chair

Ellen Elder

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Elizabeth Moak

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Jacob Coleman

Committee Member 3 Department


Committee Member 4

Chris Goertzen

Committee Member 4 Department


Committee Member 5

Joseph Brumbeloe

Committee Member 5 Department



Since Western classical music was introduced in Taiwan, many contemporary Taiwanese composers have been experimenting with different musical forms and techniques. The members of the Third Generation of Taiwanese Composers began to lead the modernization of Taiwanese music after 1960. They proposed the establishment of a specifically Taiwanese musical tradition, one which would reach out to Taiwanese audiences through the incorporation of familiar folk songs and musical idioms, while incorporating Western compositional techniques and forms.

Tyzen Hsiao (蕭泰然) (1938-2015) was one of the most influential Taiwanese composers. His music is a blend of Taiwanese traditional musical idioms and Western music composition technique. The purpose of this dissertation is to identify the Taiwanese and Western influences in Hsiao’s music through analysis of his solo piano works and to promote these works as valuable pedagogical materials.

This dissertation is organized into five chapters. It begins with a survey of traditional Taiwanese music and the influence of Western music in Taiwan. Chapter 2 contains biographical information of Hsiao and a discussion of his musical styles and representative works. Chapter 3 includes a discussion and analysis of the use of Taiwanese musical idioms and Western compositional techniques in Hsiao’s piano compositions. Chapter 4 provides a pedagogical guide of the following pieces: Memories of Home, Op. 49, Farewell Etude, Op. 55, and Toccata, Op. 57. A discussion of each piece follows, including historical background information, formal structure, technical challenges, musical interpretation, and suggestions for teaching. Chapter 5 includes a chart which lists the level of difficulty of each piece and its challenges.

My desire is that this dissertation will be a useful resource for educators, performers, and students. Hsiao’s compositions should be considered by pedagogues as valuable teaching material. By mastering the technical and musical challenges in his works, pianists can be better prepared for these same types of challenges in the repertoire of composers like Chopin and Debussy. Those same students will have learned essential trends in modern Taiwanese art music, and by extension about Taiwanese culture as well.