A Preliminary Analysis of Sang Tong’s Composition: ‘The Vocal Works’

  • Yi Lu UITM
  • Pei Ann Yeoh Faculty of Music, UITM


Sang Tong (1923-2011), a well-known composer had made great contributions to the development of Chinese music culture. He combined western traditional and modern harmony techniques with Chinese music theory and musical forms to build a harmony theoretical system with Chinese characteristics. His most representative work, ‘The Theory and Application of Harmoniousness, is widely applied in Chinese professional music teaching and has laid a solid foundation for the development of Chinese music theory. Although he has provided an extensive contribution to the modern Chinese musicology, little research is devoted to understanding his music compositions, especially from the perspective of piano coaching. Hence, this study is designed to provide an analysis of Sang Tong’s eleven compositions of ‘The Vocal Works’ from the piano coaching perspective. This study employed a qualitative research design focusing on the analysis and interpretation of musical contents of eleven works of Sang Tong based on the digital resources in the form of audio and video recordings. The findings revealed that his compositions comprised of varieties of genres and styles ranging from Chinese national-style to ancient and modern poem art songs that include the elements of nature, mountain, labour, nationalism and the ethnic minority's tones. The lyrics used are more connotative and closely integrated with artistic and literary qualities. The piano accompaniment part of Sang Tong's vocal work has rich expressiveness in the prelude, interlude, and end, which are closely related to the theme of the music and vividly set off the artistic conception of the music. He often combine traditional Chinese harmony with western modern music harmony theory in his compositions that set a precedent in the Chinese musicology. The findings of this study anticipated to fill the research gaps regarding the contribution of Sang Tong to modern Chinese music and therefore warrant more studies to investigate different aspects of his compositions as well as promote the development of music culture in the Asian context.


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How to Cite
LU, Yi; YEOH, Pei Ann. A Preliminary Analysis of Sang Tong’s Composition: ‘The Vocal Works’. Asian Journal of Arts, Culture and Tourism, [S.l.], v. 4, n. 4, p. 1-6, dec. 2022. ISSN 2710-5830. Available at: <https://myjms.mohe.gov.my/index.php/ajact/article/view/20378>. Date accessed: 08 june 2023.