Echoes of History: Naxi Music in Modern China

Oxford University Press
Free sample

Based on extensive fieldwork and documentary research in China, this book is a chronicle of the musical history of Lijiang County in China's southern Yunnan Province. It focuses on Dongjing music, a repertoire borrowed from China's Han ethnic majority by the indigenous Naxi inhabitants of Lijiang County. Used in Confucian worship as well as in secular entertainment, Dongjing music played a key role the Naxi minority's assimilation of Han culture over the last 200 years. Prized for its complexity and elegance, which set it apart from "rough" or "simpler" indigenous Naxi music, Dongjing played an important role in defining social relationships, since proficiency in the music and membership in the Dongjing associations signified high social status and cultural refinement. In addition, there is a strong political component in its examination of the role of indigenous music in the relation of a socialist state to its ethnic minorities. The first in English on this rich musical tradition, this book is also unique in providing a complete history of the music in a single region in China over the twentieth century. It integrates individual, local, and national histories with musical experience and musical change. Ethnic music in China provides a vivid example of the tremendous cultural changes over the past century, and the tradition continues to evolve as China encourages ethnic diversity within a unified socialist nation. The book includes a case study of China's tourist trade and its policies toward minorities.
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About the author

Helen Rees is Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Since 1989 she has carried out research on the traditional and tourist-oriented musics of the Naxi ethnis minority and Han ethnic majority of Yunnan Province, southwest China. She is also co-editor of Understanding Charles Seeger, Pioneer in American Musicology (1999).
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Apr 13, 2010
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Pages
296
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ISBN
9780195351620
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Asia / General
Music / Ethnomusicology
Social Science / Anthropology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Western music reached China nearly four centuries ago, with the arrival of Christian missionaries, yet only within the last century has Chinese music absorbed its influence. As China and the West demonstrates, the emergence of “Westernized” music from China—concurrent with the technological advances that have made global culture widely accessible—has not established a prominent presence in the West.

China and the West brings together essays on centuries of Sino-Western musical exchange by musicologists, ethnomusicologists, and music theorists from around the world. It opens with a look at theoretical approaches of prior studies of musical encounters and a comprehensive survey of the intercultural and cross-cultural theoretical frameworks—exoticism, orientalism, globalization, transculturation, and hybridization—that inform these essays. Part I focuses on the actual encounters between Chinese and European musicians, their instruments and institutions, and the compositions inspired by these encounters, while Part II examines theatricalized and mediated East-West cultural exchanges, which often drew on stereotypical tropes, resulting in performances more inventive than accurate. Part III looks at the musical language, sonority, and subject matters of “intercultural” compositions by Eastern and Western composers. Essays in Part IV address reception studies and consider the ways in which differences are articulated in musical discourse by actors serving different purposes, whether self-promotion, commercial marketing, or modes of nationalistic—even propagandistic—expression. The volume’s extensive bibliography of secondary sources will be invaluable to scholars of music, contemporary Chinese culture, and the globalization of culture.
Presenting the latest research in the area, this volume explores the fundamental concept of qupai 曲牌, melodic models upon which most traditional Chinese instrumental music (and some vocal music) is based. The greater part of the traditional instrumental repertoire has emerged from qupai models by way of well-established 'variation' techniques. These melodies and techniques are alive today and still performed in 'silk-bamboo' types of ensemble music, zheng 箏, pipa 琵琶 and other solo traditions, all opera types, narrative songs, and Buddhist and Daoist ritual music. With a view toward explaining qupai as a musical system, contributors explore the concept from multiple directions, notably its historic development, patterns of structural organization, compositional usage in Kunqu classical opera, influence on the growth of traditional ensemble and solo repertoires, and indeed on 19th-century European music as well. Related essays examine the use of shan'ge 山歌 folksongs as qupai models in one local opera tradition and the controversial relationship between qupai forms and the metrically-organized banqiang 板腔 forms of organization in Beijing opera. The final three essays are focused upon traditional suite forms in which qupai and non-qupai tunes are mixed, examples drawn from the Minnan nanguan 南管 repertoire, Jiangnan 'silk-bamboo' tradition and the ritual music of North China.This is the first Western-language study on the nature and background of the qupai tradition, and the methods by which model melodies have been varied in creation of repertoire. The volume is essential reading for East Asian music specialists and contributes to the fields of ethnomusicology, musicology, music theory, music composition, and Chinese music and performing arts.
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