Yanting Wang

Date of Award

Fall 2021

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


School of Music

First Advisor

Sara Ernst


Microkosmos from Chinese Nationalities (2017) is a collection of twenty-four piano solo pieces composed by Henglu Yao (b. 1951), a composer who combines ideas of cultural awareness and comprehensive musicianship in this set. This collection’s unique language, musical design, and Chinese music elements provide learners with a multicultural experience. In addition, pianists are able to explore and apply various music theory knowledge and improve technical and musical skills through this collection.

This study analyzed each piece from a pedagogical perspective to provide a guide for pianists to learn and perform this collection, to present value and potential for teaching and performing this collection, and to promote the piano works of Yao. Through this study, pianists can obtain a new and unique repertoire that is suited for intermediate to early advanced students, experience various musical styles and deepen cultural awareness and music theory knowledge.

This treatise includes four chapters, a bibliography, and appendices. Chapter one introduces the topic and provides a justification of Yao’s prominence, the need and purpose for the study, limitations, methodology, and related literature. Chapter two is based on the interview with Yao and includes a biographical sketch of Yao, a summary of Yao’s piano works, as well as an overview and the compositional techniques of Microkosmos from Chinese Nationalities. Chapter three provides a pedagogical analysis of all twenty-four pieces from this collection, including an overview of each piece, the basic information of the original folk song, a survey of the major compositional traits, and the technical and musical considerations. Chapter four offers a conclusion, the pedagogical significance of the study, and recommendations for further research. The appendix contains the complete interview, which is printed in Chinese and translated to English. In addition, the appendix contains a complete list of Yao’s piano works that is organized by Yao.