Cross-Cultural Composition
: Synthesizing the Sound of Taiwanese Cultural Elements

  • Yung-Shen Hsiao

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Musical Composition


This PhD explores the possibility of synthesizing cultural elements from my Taiwanese heritage and Western musical training, through different compositional approaches and composed works. The portfolio pieces present the whole spectrum of my PhD study. “Sound” is the core element I work with, while employing different cultural materials and instrumentations, and the concepts and attitudes of spectralism and electroacoustic music have strongly influenced my compositional aesthetic. I have explored how Taiwanese cultural elements such as Nanguan, Beiguan, and aboriginal music can be synthesized into new musical forms, presented variously in electronic media, instrumental ensemble, combinations of traditional instrument and electronics, and orchestral score. The written commentary presents the compositional ideas behind each of the pieces, and relevant approaches, techniques, and structural analyses. The content of this PhD includes notated scores, supplementary performance materials, and documentation (audio/video media files) of live performance of each work.
Date of Award23 Jan 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorNeal J Farwell (Supervisor) & Michael P Ellison (Supervisor)


  • Sound
  • Taiwanese
  • cultural material
  • spectral music
  • electroacoustic
  • Nanguan
  • Beiguan
  • Aboriginal music

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