Throughout modern history

Throughout modern - Angela Cheng External Influences on the Development of Chinese Music Throughout modern history China has always been very what

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Angela Cheng 12/10/07 External Influences on the Development of Chinese Music Throughout modern history, China has always been very, what could be called ‘secluded’ from the rest of the world. While Europeans were traveling the world and dominating the seas and lesser civilizations, China was an unbreachable wall to external influences, very much like the physical Great Wall of China. Very self-sufficient and unwilling to accept the interference of the western world, it wasn’t until more recent decades that China began to receive trickles of western influence. Thanks to many historical events, western influence took hold by force within the walls of China. Politically and socially, the western world began to wreak changes in the world of China. Alongside these influences, came technological, as well as more importantly cultural shocks. The stringed orchestra as we know it here in America is purely western, composed of western instruments, playing in a western style, performing works composed by the great composers of Europe and the rest of the Western world. Instruments like the violin, viola, cello, string bass, piano, woodwinds, snare drum all have their roots in the history of the west. Before the western and eastern worlds met, no one in all of China had any knowledge of such instruments. At the same time, no one in all of Europe or the Americas had ever seen the sight of or heard the sounds of the erhu, pipa, or guqin (McComb). In sharp contrast, the modern world sees the fusion of these two very different cultures on another level. Early Chinese music was very traditional in the most extreme sense, even before written music existed, folk songs were passed down through the generations. Studies of Chinese music throughout history have shown that many of the core music composition of traditional Chinese music are all repeatedly the same at the core. Every generation
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handed down the same basics of Chinese music, resulting in compositions all being based off of the same melodies and patterns. ‘New’ compositions were basically re- compositions of existing folk songs and popular oral and written music sources. During this time, the idea of a musical creation based off of an individual’s ideas and emotions was very foreign, even though such a concept is more or less the basis of Western music composition. (Liang 13) Even before the West came to China, the culture of China was already externally influenced by its neighbors, the Mongols, Koreans, and Japanese. Prior to the Mongol domination in the Yuan dynasty, China was in the pivotal state of the Song dynasty, a point in history that seems when China’s society and government was changing in a way that can be traced back as the roots of modern China. One critic described the Jin Dynasty, one of the earlier dynasties of ancient China, as a period that demonstrated the hybridization and alien dominance of Chinese music (Liang 88) . The Tang dynasty proved to be even more ‘multi-cultural,’ hosting international performing troupes that
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This note was uploaded on 04/30/2008 for the course MUS 190 taught by Professor Lee during the Fall '07 term at Emory.

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Throughout modern - Angela Cheng External Influences on the Development of Chinese Music Throughout modern history China has always been very what

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