Chou Wen-Chung

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 more than 100 symbols to achieve an elusive yet vital expression that is the essence of this art form.

Chou 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.”


  • Alto Flute
  • English Horn
  • Bass clarinet
  • 2 Trombones
  • 2 Percussion
  • Piano
  • Violin


  • Chou Wen-Chung

    Chou Wen-Chung

    New World-CRI, NWCR 691, 1972 & 1995. Pien & Yü Ko (Group for Contemporary Music); Cursive (Harvey Sollberger, flute; Charles Wuorinen, piano); The Willows are New (Yi-an Chang, piano); Landscapes (Peninsula Festival Orchestra, Thor Johnson, conductor).
  • Echoes from the Gorge – Music by Chou Wen-Chung

    Echoes from the Gorge – Music by Chou Wen-Chung

    Albany Records, TROY155, 1995. Echoes from the Gorge & Yü Ko (New Music Consort), Yün and Suite for Harp & Wind Quintet (Speculum Musicae), Windswept Peaks (Boston Musica Viva, Richard Pittman, conductor).

Site Credits

Spiralis Music Trust

Design — Concentric, Development — Igicom

Kimberly M. Wang, Eardog Productions, the Spiralis Music Trust and public domain.