Margaret Collins Stoop:
Contemporary Composition for Xiao

Stati a studie / Živá hudba 2021/12 / Publikováno 29. 4. 2022

This paper discusses a cross-cultural approach to music composition, specifically as it relates to my own compositions for the xiao, a Chinese end-blown flute made of bamboo. Cross-cultural composition is understood here as the inclusion of non-western instruments
in ensembles with western orchestral instruments and reflects a striving toward integration, in which the boundaries between the distinct genres are softened or dissolved. Knowledge of the original context of the non-western instruments informs inclusion in and influence on a new setting. Expansion of the repertoire of the instruments beyond that which is idiomatic is sought, and the discovery of what is idiomatic to the instruments reveals that which
is non-idiomatic. Research prior to composing for the xiao was both academic and experiential. Study of the original context of the instrument was undertaken, as well as
of Chinese folk music in general. Personal experimentation on the xiao revealed extended techniques which may be incorporated into original compositions. The distinguishing
features of the xiao and gestures which are idiomatic to the instrument are briefly outlined, followed by discussion of two of my recent compositions: Zephyr, for xiao, suspended cymbal, and cello; and ‘Loons on the Lake’, a movement for xiao solo from the
larger work, Bird Suite.