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About us

Introduction to the Department of Traditional Music, 
School of Music, Taipei National University of the Arts

The Department of Traditional Music was founded in 1995 to serve the needs of heritage, scholarship, development and education of traditional music in Taiwan. The Department offers undergraduate and graduate (M.A. and M.F.A.) programs. The undergraduate studies have a four-year curriculum in which students may choose to major in Chhin (Qin), Phi-pha (Pipa), Lâm-koán (Nanguan), Pak-koán (Beiguan) or Music Theory. Among these fields of studies, the Chhin and Phi-pha are representative instruments of traditional Chinese music with rich repertoire requiring deep artistry; Lâm-koán and Pak-koán are the most characteristic Taiwanese traditional music; the Theory major, added in 1998, enforces the studies of traditional music.

The programs of the Department of Traditional Music aim to breed the spirit of versatility associated with traditional musicians while simultaneously coordinating this with modern and professional musical educational training. Students learn those instrumental techniques associated with their majors as well as theories and other related instruments or styles. In order to cultivate artists who have a profound understanding, significant skills of traditional music culture and have a broad vision, all students are required to study history and theory of traditional music, western music and Asian music.

Founded in 2007, the Traditional Music Master’s Program focuses on the major traditional music cultures of Taiwan and integrates ideology of internationalization and modernization. It aims to deepen and strengthen skills and knowledge for traditional music and research in order to nurture qualified performers, researchers and educators for traditional music. It offers two aspects: performance and theory. The performance section offers Chhin, Phi-pha, Lâm-koán, and Pak-koán while the theory section offers Traditional Theatre Music and Music Theory majors. 

Members of the faculty are renowned scholars and musicians. In addition, the Department has recruited many experienced and outstanding folk artists to teach the younger generation about traditional music. These musicians, coming from various locations around Taiwan, wholeheartedly pass their heritage onto the students.

Concerning the learning resources, the TNUA library has offered its students a rich collection of books and audio/video/electronic resources, its professional management, and services. In addition, the special collections of historical recordings, manuscripts and old instruments of Pak-koán, and Asian musical instruments in the Department of Traditional Music also provide great resources for study. 

Department of Traditional Music offers B.F.A. and M.F.A. degree programs for five majors: two most representative classical music genres of Taiwan - Nanguan and Beiguan, two important and historical solo instrument of China - Guchin and Pipa, and one academic program studying the above and more related areas - Music Theory.  The purpose of this department includes preservation, heritage, studying and development of traditional music, combining traditional ways of teaching with higher education, which has cultivated high quality of traditional musicians with a fusion of classical and modern spirit.  To reflect Taiwan’s environment as an immigrant society, also to fulfill the need of an international perspective, its programs have extended to Asian classical music.  In addition to inherit and develop local tradition, Department of Traditional Music also applies and serves in contemporary society.  It also aims to train new generations of professional Taiwan musicians with international vision through cross-cultural music education.