Chou Wen-chung

Yü Ko (1965)

Yü Ko, or “fisherman’s song,” is originally an ancient ch’in (zither) melody in tablature notation composed by Mao Min chung (c. 1280). The fisherman is a symbol of man in communion with nature. Through the deciphering of the tablature notation, this work produces a modern adaptation that realizes the rich variety in tone production found in the precise ch’in finger technique, one that employs over a hundred symbols to achieve an elusive yet vital expression that is the essence of this art.

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The composer clarifies: “I have magnified… these inflections in pitch, articulation, timbre, dynamics and rhythm to a more perceptible level by expanding the articulations and timbres possible on each instrument used and by controlling the microtonal modifications in pitch according to the nature of each instrument.”