top of page

By Chance

Instrumentation: 5-part a cappella male chorus (T.T.Bar.B.B.)

Duration: ca. 4'30"

Lyricist: Chi-mo Xu(徐志摩)

Language: Mandarin Chinese

Composition Date: 2010.08

Première Date: 2017.11.12

Première Artists: Guangdong University of Technology Male Choir (Conductor: Liang Wei) 

Remark: Guandong University of Technology Male Choir premiered the work and won the champion at the 5th Guangdong University Student Art Exhibition. With the same programme, they also won first class award at the 5th National University Student Art Exhibition.

Sample Recording:​

Score Preview: PDF

Text in Original Language:











Programme Notes:

I am a cloud in the sky,

casting random shadow in your heart;

you need not startle,

nor take delight

for I'd forthwith vanish without a trace.

You and I met in the darkness of night at sea,

You have your destination, I have mine;

You may remember,

though it'd be best if you forgot,

we glowed as our paths crossed and brightly shined.


By Chance is an exquisite and delicate poem. Symbolic for its structure, this poem encompasses contrasting motifs, “cloud” and water, “you” and “me”, which vivifies the concept of encounter “by chance” through creating an abstract spatial, temporal impression, thus adding a philosophical taste to the poem.


The intervals of fourths and fifths in this piece set the scene of clouds in the sky. The first subject is sung by the second tenor. The arrangement of voices is inspired by the style of recitatives; the expression, on the other hand, should be performed with reference to the style of arias.


There is a strong hint of contemporary musical features in this piece. Apart from the use of quartal and quintal harmonies, the contemporary choral elements, such as direct speech, convey the message of this poem,” do not be surprised or elated over an encounter in a flash” and “do not regard a mere encounter with nostalgia”. This is complemented by the use of ad libitum to foreground individualism amongst the crowd. In the end, special harmonies and clapping are used to intensify the evanescent dazzle of “encounter by chance”.

bottom of page