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Piano Solos Inspired by Taiwanese Folk Tunes

by Shuyuan Tsai

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A collection of solo repertoire blending familiar folk tunes with traditional and current trends in musical idioms and harmony.  These beautiful pieces have been exclusively crafted as challengers for performers to bring out the best of their musical abilities

Click on any of the images below for a larger view.


Twilight on Dum Zoo-Ee on Youtube


Twilight on Dum Zoo-Ee            淡水暮色

A Farmer’s Life                         農村曲

Fishing Net                              補破網

Awaiting Your Return            望你早歸

Reverie                                   望春風

Rainy Night Flower                雨夜花 

Dream by the Riverbank        河邊春夢

Te O Oh                                  天黑黑

Sio Bah-Tsang: Hot Beef Buns    賣肉粽 

Dee Amma Gah                      點仔膠

Those in boldface type are available as singles. Reverie and Rainy Night Flower are available together and then Tripych is a trio designed to play as a solo work that includes Awaiting Your Return, To O Oh and  Twilight on Dum Zoo-Ee.    



About the Music

These compositions are written with eclectic current musical trends in mind.
The result is the fusion of traditional music forms and harmonies of the West and East.
For example, the simple 16 bar pentatonic melody of Dee Amma Gah (Tar) is a
popular Taiwanese children’s folk tune. It describes the cry baby attitude: there’s tar
on my foot and I am going home to tell my Ah-Ba (dad). He will make me pork stew. It is tied together with the American early jazz style of Ragtime and more. The Taiwanese operatic style can be found in 8. Te O Oh. Clusters, scales, tremolos and trill passages are used to depict the drama of a broken dish and the emotional rage
of a man and his wife through these musical idioms. Each individual piece is outstanding by itself. perform these as
The performer can standalone solo pieces or as multi - movement suites with movements selected at
the performer’s discretion.
Shortly after the completion of this work, it was premiered in June at the 2016 Southeast Division Taiwanese American Association Conference in Macon, Georgia. The performance of this collection served as the opening to the conference.
The melodies are taken from popular traditional folk songs of Taiwan. The composer
selected the ones that she loves the most. The original Taiwanese title of each piece
is translated as closely as possible. The original song lyrics of 1. Twilight on Dum Zoo-Ee, 2. A Farmer’s Life, 3. Fishing Net and 9. Cio Ba-Zun- Hot Beef Bun depicts
the hardship of poverty, and how working is a bittersweet part of that life. Numbers 4. Awaiting Your Return, 5. Reverie and 7. Dream by the Riverbank are love songs.
Number 6. Rain Night Flower is a poetic depiction of the lonely night flower. 8. Te O
Oh (The Sky is Dark) describes a man working in the field on a stormy day. While
digging out in the muddy field, he finds a fish. He slaughs at his good fortune and
brings it home. An argument between the farmer and his wife dominates the song
from there on. The ordeal is how the man wants it salty and the wife wants it sweet. The beauty of these Taiwanese folk songs is in the depth of the tales. Underneath the lyrical surface are meanings and mysteries that are much more complex than the simplicity of the story being told.

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