First Chinese concerto for violin and orchestra Ma Siсong as an example of synthesis of the European and national style paradigm

  • Li Yan Long Postgraduate Student, Lviv National Music Academy named after Mykola Lysenko, Lviv (Ukraine).
Keywords: Chinese violin music, violin concerto, Ma Siсong, national traditions, European influences, style synthesis.


Turning of Ma Siсong to the concerto genre was not determined exclusively by the historical cultural circumstances, because in the first half of the 20th century the Chinese violin music only started to master the European genres. Thus, the violin and orchestra concerto written in 1943-1944 became the first Chinese work in this genre.Ma Siсong created an exceptionally interesting and remarkable canvas that combined seamlessly the Chinese national thematic nature and principles of the European violin concerto, classical genre paradigmatics aligned with the new mental conditions of creation.
Using the wealth of the style parameters and the genre varieties of the wide temporal perspective, the composer represents an authentic vision of the solo violin concerto proper as an expression of the distinctive Chinese culture which has been shown essentially on the intonational-melodic, tonal-harmonic levels, manifested in the sphere of the form creation. The concerto concept solved in the neoromantic key gravitates toward the type of the lyrical-patriotic poem about the beauty of the homeland.
Thus, the most innovative for the concerto genre became the means of the form creation that originate from the nature of the Chinese music (alternation of the concentrated brief tunes that to some extent play the role of the leitmotifs with more spatial melodic sections), that render the dramaturgic model a suite-poem type; using compositional and performing principles of the Chinese folk orchestras and solo performance on the bowed string instruments (enhance improvisational opening, specific performing techniques – typical flageolets, sliding play with one finger, traditional bourdon two-part texture, typical for the folk violin erhu, etc.). Especially innovatory is the harmonic language of the concerto (whose characteristic feature is the refined play between anhemitonics, pentatonics and chromatics) that gives not only a specific flair, but produces also an essential effect on the general tonal plan of the whole demonstrating the new modal-tonal relationships. Ma Siсong, preserving in the ternary construction of the concerto for violin and orchestra the features and certain typological European principles of this genre fills it up not only with the new content, but tries to give a new meaning to the basic form creating principles from the standpoint of the Chinese music mentality.


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How to Cite
Long, L. Y. (2019). First Chinese concerto for violin and orchestra Ma Siсong as an example of synthesis of the European and national style paradigm. Scientific Collections of the Lviv National Music Academy Named After MV Lysenko, (45), 256-278. Retrieved from