Introduction to East Asian Cultures and Music
(1) The geographic setting of East Asia:
Within the huge geographic area of East Asia that includes
there are a
number of cultural similarities between certain ethnicities-- the greatest population of China (including
) includes the
people, who have been the dominant class for the development of
as we know of it in the West. Throughout history, Korean culture and
greatly affected by the Chinese Han people. The geographic proximity of Korea and Japan with eastern
China is one of the major reasons for many cultural commonalties.
(2) A general cultural and musical history of China, Korea, and Japan:
East Asia experienced some of its earliest forces of acculturation in the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. to A.D
220), but the greatest outside influences began in the sixth century A.D., when visitors from Central Asia
and even further west from the region of ancient Persia and elsewhere came to China for trade and
- While the three countries of China, Korea, and Japan are uniquely different in many ways, and very
nationalistic (there have been several wars between the three countries over the millennia), it is these
shared influences stemming from the T'ang Dynasty that make it possible to discuss these regions of East
Asia as an entity, in the broadest sense of the word.
the Chinese word for music is
) is perhaps the most difficult to totally understand
because China is such a large country (both geographically and demographically) with recorded history
going back several millennia.
- Chinese culture includes the regions Hong Kong, Macao, People's Republic of China, Republic
of China or Taiwan, Tibet, and even over one hundred minority groups.
- The Chinese, like other people in East Asia, celebrate many
, have many types of
musical theater or
, and enjoy numerous types of contemporary music and musical practices that
(please make these important links).
(the Korean word for music is
constitutes a smaller number of categories for study, but
it, too, is complex, because of the millennia of influences in its development, both from within and outside
-Some of the musical cultures of Korea are based on beliefs and practices of shamanism
, such as
its main classical form,
The Republic of Korea (South Korea) is an extremely modern country that