Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Creative Arts


School of Music

Committee Chair

Hope Koehler

Committee Member

William Koehler

Committee Member

Matthew Heap

Committee Member

Victor Chow


The purpose of this paper is to provide an insightful study of Chinese art songs after 1950. A number of works have been written in English about the repertoire of Chinese art songs, but most of these studies concentrated on songs written before 1950. It is difficult for English speakers to find and study Chinese art songs after 1950. In fact, they have largely been ignored. However, these songs have significant pedagogical and aesthetic values. This study aims to provide musicians and voice teachers a handy and practical tool to study and sing Chinese art songs composed after 1950.

This research begins with an overview of Chinese art songs and their historical background, followed by a literature review. The main body of this study will provide an analysis of forty-two Chinese art songs composed by nine different Chinese composers. Several factors will be analyzed, including range, tessitura, tempo, piano accompaniment, difficulty level, voice type, voice characteristics, and translations.

As a unique and relatively new genre for Western musicians, Chinese art songs are worthy of attention for both educational and aesthetic reasons. They are unique in that they combine Western compositional techniques with Chinese five-tone systems. Listening and learning Chinese art songs will provide musicians with a refreshing and new perspective. Texts of Chinese art songs are selected from poems written in either classical or vernacular Chinese. The poetry and the language are deeply rooted in Chinese culture. Among the many benefits of learning these poems is gaining insight into China’s social, historical, and political context of their time. This study will provide a valuable resource for Western scholars to learn about Chinese culture and Chinese history from a musical perspective.