Qian Xu

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Creative Arts


School of Music

Committee Chair

Peter Amstutz

Committee Co-Chair

William Haller

Committee Member

Michael Ibrahim

Committee Member

Bruce S Kang

Committee Member

James Miltenberger


Since the second half of the twentieth century, Asian composers have formed a new force which has been highly influential in Western classical music. Chinese-American composer Tan Dun is undoubtedly one of the most significant figures among living Asian composers. He gave his first opus number to the piano suite Eight Memories in Watercolor, originally titled Eight Sketches in Hunan Accent, which is now regarded as one of most important pieces in the modern Chinese piano repertoire.;This study aims first to gain a deeper understanding of this piece. After an introduction, Chapter Two presents an overview of Tan Dun's biography and his works for piano. Chapter Three covers the compositional background, general information, and formal structure of Eight Memories in Watercolor. Chapters Four and Five illustrate respectively the Chinese cultural and philosophical influence on this piece and the use of Chinese musical elements in this music. Chapter Six summarizes the previous findings and concludes the paper.