Abstract: Deng Yu-Xian (1906-1944): Composer of Taiwanese Ballads

Abstract: Deng Yu-Xian (1906-1944): Composer of Taiwanese Ballads

Deng Yu-Xian (1906-1944):
Composer of Taiwanese Ballads

Yun-Hsuan Huang, M.A.
Chairperson: Dr. Wesley Roberts


            This study examines the music of Deng Yu-Xian and his pioneering work as a composer of ballads. The study considers Deng's creative style and influence upon popular music in Taiwan in the early to mid-Twentieth Century.  Deng collected traditional and folk music and conducted research as an ethnomusicologist during his brief life.  He composed seventy-seven ballads, many of which gained popularity during his lifetime and have since become standard teaching materials in Taiwanese public schools.

            The significance of Deng's ballads is explored through analysis of his melodic style and its influence upon other composers.  Texts for the ballads were typically composed by fellow countrymen but were changed to become Japanese military songs at the outbreak of World War II to encourage young Taiwanese men to join the Japanese military.  Following the defeat of the Japanese in 1945, the texts were changed back to their original Taiwanese lyrics.

            The document is organized with chapters investigating Deng's biography, Deng's musical style and contribution through his ballads, and conclusion.  Also included are appendices listing Deng's seventy-seven ballads, their year of composition, lyricists, and important dates in Taiwan's history.