二十世紀以來，華人現代作曲家經歷了取經師法於西方音樂，到嘗試 走出一條自己的路。然而他們在創作時面對的依舊不只是一個悠久的西方 音樂傳統和不斷求新的現況，還有自身的音樂傳統及文化。不同的或許只 是在於，他們在多大的程度上去探索了融合這兩種音樂傳統的可能性。即 便作曲家江文也大多數重要的作品已完成於二十世紀上半葉，他在這點上 的成就無疑是突出的。他不但徹底鑽研了這種可能性，更可以說是成功地 融合了中西音樂的要素。
江文也在各種的音樂體裁中皆有嘗試追求一種新的「民族風格」，而 大型舞台作品或許就屬舞劇《香妃》（作品編號 33）最為突出。《香妃》運 用西方舞台作品中慣用的主導動機手法，象徵戲劇人物、暗示情節發展。 同時又用變奏對動機做細微變化，深入刻畫人物的心理轉變，加強戲劇張 力和多樣性。然而整首曲子基本上建立在以五聲音階為主的旋律素材上。 旋律不但展現了生動的描繪性，對傳統中國音樂的變奏技巧更有精湛純熟 的運用。此一變奏手法不單只是作曲的技法，更被用來做為大段場景開展 進行的結構原則。此外，線性音樂思維結合了多樣的複調音樂手法以及東 方音樂的枝生複音法（heterophony），更創造了豐富的音響層次。
Since the beginning of the 20th Century, Chinese composers had been experiencing a similar creative process: they first imitated and applied the Western model, but later tried to develop their own compositional language. In this long evolution they still confronted the Western music tradition, which was constantly growing and changing, as well as their own musical culture and tradition. The major difference between these composers was to what extent did they try to explore the possibilities of combining Western and Chinese materials in their compositions. The Chinese composer Jiang Wenye (1910-1983) had a significant contribution in this aspect in the history of Modern Chinese Music: most of his important works were completed in the first half of twentieth-Century, yet they showed Jiang’s talent in not only investigating the possibilities mentioned above thoroughly, but also fusing Western and Chinese musical elements in a subtle way.
Jiang Wenye pursued a “Chinese-national” musical style in all of his musical genres. Among the stage works the Dance Drama “The Princess Xiangfei” is particularly representative. It utilizes the technique of leitmotiv from Western operas in order to symbolize the characters and indicate the development of plots. In addition, the use of variation technique in this work makes the motives variable, enables expressions of contrasting emotions of protagonists and enforces the dramatic intensification. In terms of melody, the whole work is almost based on pentatonic materials. The melodies not only represent vivid descriptions, but also utilize the technique of Chinese-style variation technique. This technique is not merely a compositional method, but also a fundamental principle to connect consecutive scenes. Furthermore, the technique of linear progression is also applied in this work. Combined with polyphony and heterophony it created an amazingly rich sonority.