“Distant Bells” by Phank Kok Jun: Chamber-Instrumental Version of the Dialogue between Chinese and European Traditions





daruan, concert for traditional instruments, music by Phank Kok Jun, chamberinstrumental works by Chinese composers, ensemble performance


Relevance of study. There are considered the features of the chamber-instrumental version of the Concerto for daruan and the orchestra of traditional instruments “Distant Bells” by contemporary Chinese composer Phank Kok Jun. The relevance of the topic caused by extending interest of musicologists in the issues of the interaction between eastern and western musical traditions in both composer and performing aspects.

Main Objective. The purpose of the article is to reveal the specifics of the chamberinstrumental version of “Distant Bells” for daruan with piano, cello and percussion by Phank Kok Jun as a reflection of the dialogue between European and Chinese musical traditions.

Methodology. The research methodology is based on the method of genre attribution used to clarify the genre nature of “Distant Bells”; historical-typological approach — for understanding the place of the work among other concert opuses of Chinese composers; the method of structural analysis to determine the form of the work; the method of semantic analysis to determine the correspondence of the program to the musical events of the piece and the method of stylistic analysis to determine the intro and extra-stylistic components of musical vocabulary.

Results/Finding and Conclusions. It is established that this opus is an alternative interpretation of the concert created for the ensemble of daruan with piano, cello and percussion, which has gained great popularity among performers. It was revealed that when orchestral parts are translated to the timbres of the soloing Chinese instrument and European duet of piano and cello, a peculiar dialogue between Western and Eastern musical traditions arises. Such a timbre-acoustic connection makes adjustments to the genre and compositional profile of the work. As a result, the genre modus of “concerto” is reinforced in numerous solo episodes, cadences, improvisations. The compositional structure of the concert’s sections is influenced by national musical frame’s types, usually based on the variant development of theme connected with eastern improvisational tradition. The palette of stylistic features and linguistic means combines modal, metro-rhythmic, timbre features of Chinese and European music. It has been established that it is instrumental reorientation that brings allusions of “Western” origin, supporting the dialogue with the Chinese stylistic and significantly expand the semantic horizons of the work

Author Biography

Liu Xiaoxi, Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine

postgraduate student at the Department of Theory and History of Musical Performance


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饶思铭 — 大阮 — 钟声随想 [Jonathan Rao — Daruan — Distant Bells] (2020), available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKhp6iriQAo (accessed: 05.05.2020) [in Chinese].





Problem field of modern musicology: from phenomenology to comparative studies