Ba Yin

From Wind Repertory Project
Chen Yi

Chen Yi

The title of this work translates into English as "The Eight Sounds."

General Info

Year: 2001 / 2015
Duration: c. 19:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Saxophone quartet and chamber orchestra
Publisher: Theodore Presser
Cost: Score and Parts - Rental


1. Praying for Rain –8:04
2. Song of the Chu – 5:52
3. Shifan Gong - and – drum – 5:34


Full Score
Solo Saxophone Quartet (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone)
B-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Trumpet
Horn in F
Percussion I-II

  • Bass Drum
  • Bongos
  • Chinese Opera Gongs (2)
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Japanese high Woodblock
  • Marimba
  • Tom-Tom (4)
  • Vibraphone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Commissioned by the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, this three-movement concerto is written for and premiered by the Rascher Saxophone Quartet and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra on Oct. 27, 2001, in Stuttgart, Germany. I have adapted the work for saxophone quartet (SATB) and wind ensemble, which includes flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, trombone, and two percussionists, for Prism Quartet and University of Missouri-Kansas City Wind Symphony.

In ancient China, the music was played with eight kinds of instruments made of or with metal, stone, silk, bamboo, gourd, clay, leather and wood. It was then called The Eight Sounds (Ba Yin). In my concerto Ba Yin, I use a saxophone quartet and a chamber wind ensemble to recall my impression of what I have heard in China, the music played by villagers on old traditional instruments in various ensembles.

The first movement is entitled Praying for Rain. It's inspired by the music played in the ritual ceremony, featuring the blown instruments suona (shawn, made with wood) and sheng (free-reed mouth-organ, made with gourd). The music is from slow to fast. The wind ensemble provides sheng-like sustained chords in the background while the quartet plays in heterophonic style imitating the tunes played by a group of suona players.

The second movement is called Song of the Chu (name of a country in Zhou Dynasty, located in the middle of China). It's influenced by a traditional Chinese instrumental solo piece with the same title, featuring the sound of xun (wind instrument, made from clay). The quartet and the wind ensemble imitate a group of xun with crying sound, and the harmony of metal bells and stone chimes.

Shifan Gong-and-drum, the title of the third movement, is taken from the name of the ensembles of "silk-and-bamboo with gong-and-drum" in the Southeast. Shifan (literally 'Ten times') means 'multiple variation'. 'Silk-and-bamboo' refers to stringed and wind instruments. When the quartet plays the melodic textures, the wind ensemble imitates a whole group of percussion instruments. The music is brought to a climax at the end of the concerto.

- Program Note by composer


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Arizona State University (Tempe) Wind Ensemble (Anna Scott, conductor) - 14 November 2023
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) Wind Ensemble (Emily Threinen, conductor) - 10 November 2023
  • Manhattan School of Music (New York, N.Y.) Camerata Nova (Giovanni Santos, conductor) - 24 January 2023
  • University of Michigan Symphony Band Chamber Winds (Daniel Johnson, conductor; Cerus Saxophone Quartet) - 11 November 2022
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison Wind Ensemble (Scott Teeple, conductor; Nois Saxophone Quartet) – 3 November 2019
  • Northwestern University Chamber Players (Chris Kaatz, conductor; ~Nois Saxophone Quartet) – 21 January 2018
  • University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory Wind Symphony (Steven D. Davis, conductor; PRISM Saxophone Quartet) – 4 October 2015 – *Premiere Performance*

Works for Winds by This Composer