CHINA, TAIWAN: ABSTRACTS AND PAPERS
The Sounds Archives of the Music Research Institute: A Perspective on the Study of Material Culture
In 2004, a project named as “Digitization of Recordings of Traditional Chinese Music” proposed by the Music Research Institute (MRI) of the Chinese Academy of Arts has obtained fund from Communication & Information Sector under UNESCO. The collections included in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register in 1997 contain unique field recordings from the 1950s onward. I took as a leading participant responsible for the investigation on physical medium, recording facilities, recording methods, and preservation of recordings in the whole process of implementation. Through this project, the mainland scholars’ concept of recording collection can reflect a tendency of Chinese mainland ethnomusicology in the second half of 20th century.
Although these collections have great effects for the construction of Chinese music, but preservation of these collections are not very satisfied. This article will analyze the wear and tear of archives by factitious reasons, then lead to an academic tendencies. For example, there exist a large number of deformation and damage caused by the use of non-standard disk folders; loss of physical signal caused by the default of meta-data in the preservation, etc.. All of these man-made spoilages appear in the record preservation, formed a great contrast with the effect of those recordings in Chinese music construction. Now these sound archives only can be attached importance by scholars in repertoire, but not as a material culture , scholars should pay more attention to those archives’ significance as “historical sites”. In other words, these recordings only exist as a auxillary resources of music researching, composition and teaching ,rather than a stand-alone historic audio files to be preserved. So such circumstances reflect a “repertoire” tendency from its recording to use of the recording.
The “repertoire” tendency is coincided with the concept of “text fieldwork” and “collection”. To collect and collate Chinese traditional and folk music has been a big task done by Chinese music workers in the 20th century. Its main purpose is very clear that in order to establish a new national music system in China, the “long and deep tradition and its new development” should be completely understood. The text-based documents of “the five major integration of Chinese folk music” are the paradigm. Recording is the phonic text of such operations. As a result, the “repertoire” tendency is more important of providing information of pieces, in particular, providing information of composition, enjoying, teaching and study, but not the memory of history.
In sumary, I think that sounds archives as a “material culture” is considered not only “objects” kept in the archives, but also a bridge throught which we can explore the relationship of people , the relationship between people and history behind the files. As a result, the archive itself has got the significance of “historical sites”.
DOWNLOAD XIAO Mei’s paper in Chinese here
The Anthropology of Music in China
Historical Trajectory of Study on Chinese Traditional Music
The situation of Chinese music in the 20th century began a new page, it has been embodied as the following transformations showed below:
1) Western perspective in reviewing traditional Chinese music; 2) Sorting the history of Chinese music tradition; 3) Classifying traditional music, researching on and creating out of folk music resources; 4) Analyzing musical morphology; 5) Cognizing music culture.
From 1980s to the beginning of 1990s，a considerable number of scholars devoted into this field and contributed a lot in introducing and disseminating the idea of Ethnomusicology, many of whom have put forth unique visions in their publications, all of which opened a new age of multi-perspectives on music cultures.
Since 1980s, the development of Ethnomusicology in China can also be divided into three stages that was already described and summarized by in Alan Merriam in his Merriam’s early argument.
1) The study of music in culture: music≠culture; 2) The study of music as culture: music≈culture; 3) Music is culture: music=culture.
Scholars shift academic emphasis, become involved into realizing what music culture is, and contribute a great deal in the disciplinary expansion through a broader view and an in-depth thinking. 1) These three stages are not replaceable, but interrelated or even juxtaposed. 2) These three stages are complimentary. Music creation, analysis and cognition of music culture are three necessary constitutional aspects in the course of development of Chinese traditional music. 3) Transformation process is a natural stage of maturation in disciplinary development.
Anthropology of Music in 21st Century China
As noted above, with the gradual disciplinary expansion, people are increasingly realizing the importance of disciplinary construction. In order to accelerate the expansion of Ethnomusicology and to implement the strategy of “reasonable, efficient, and visionary” in 21st century China, we should develop a clear core idea; should integrate a group of talent scholars as a driving force; and also should establish a guideline that guarantees a smooth academic research.
In 2005, the “Anthropology of Music Division, E -Institutes of Shanghai Universities”, was established in Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Grounding on the prestigious academic tradition of Shanghai Conservatory of Music, our general objectives are set to establish a modern information platform; to integrate and optimize relevant academic resources through jointing effort with distinguished scholars from domestic and abroad universities and academic institutes; to operate academically autonomous, financially and administratively independent under the orientation of Shanghai Education Council, who emphasizes specifically on the foundational, cross-disciplinary, visionary and realistic academic idea. We are going to base our research center in Shanghai, root in China, and look toward the outside world, with an idea of “construction of anthropology of music in Chinese vision” as our goal. The E-Institute will be followed by the following three guidelines:
1) Ideas and method in research of Anthropology of music in international context; 2) Chinese traditional music’s audio and video behavior in domestic context; 3) Urban music culture in Shanghai region.
Under the above three guidelines, with a smooth and extensive academic exchange mechanism, and a series of related fundamental theoretical research, we are going to try our best to make the E-institute the most important research base in the field of Anthropology of music in China within the coming future 10 years of efforts, meanwhile we are doing our best to make it an example in the International tendency of Musical Anthropological Studies for studying musical localization
Who is the audience? Local Religious Music Popular in Yunnan Province
In recent years, an interesting phenomenon has developed. Traditional music genres in present China seem to have recovered, and their rejuvenation can be realized. What are the essential reasons for the initial disappearance and later rejuvenation of traditional music? Or “who is the audience?”
This research is mainly based on the field trip to Datun county, Yunnan province in 2006. Here is popular a local musical organization called Huashan Tan which plays music for the local religious and social activities. Generally, there would be no audiences during the whole process of performance, but instead by status of gods, labels with god’s names, etc. After close investigation, we have found that the essential reason for the disappearance and rejuvenation of traditional music is that it is part of a belief system. The audience is the gods, as well as performers themselves because they are satisfying themselves by believing that the gods are satisfied.
DOWNLOAD ZHANG Boyu’s paper in English here
Integrated Study of Chinese Traditional Music Living Resources
In the 21st century, ethnomusicology tends to welcome an integrated study as a reason of diversifications of research theories and methods.
1. An integrated study of traditional music living resources conforms to the globalization trend of ethnomusicology research.
The living resources of traditional music are the currently practiced music and culture ecologies. They are rooted in the folk historical culture soil with unique artistic forms, and are playing vital roles in our social life.
(1) An integrated study of traditional music living resources conforms to the need of large-scale complicated society and with practical significance.
In this complicated society nowadays, ethnography-like active state observation is desirable, so to obtain object samples which adapts to different regions; cultural relatedness of these samples will lead to large-scale cross-cultural study. This is the so called integrated study.
(2) An integrated study of traditional music living resources is the interdisciplinary study of 21st century ethnomusicology
Since the 1980s, the influence of globalization is more and more noticeable. The interdisciplinary integrated study already became one main direction in ethnomusicology. The integrated study is to cross-culturally, systematically and comprehensively study one or a group of music and culture events applying theories from both eastern and western ethnomusicology based on the event’s unique characteristics and synthesize multi-dimensional angle of views. Thus, it is a three-dimensional thought crystallization. We should investigate from spot, i.e., living resources of one particular music genre, to surface, i.e., music living resource surroundings, to comprehensive multi-dimensional understandings.
2. Theory Construction of the Integrated Study of Traditional Music Living Resources
The culture’s major characteristic is to satisfy human desire, in particular, conformity needs, including society, politics, economy, culture, etc. In 2003, Timothy Rice proposed the three dimensional theory frame of time, place, and metaphor in studying music experience and music ethnography, which provided the theory support for the author’s integrated study model as indicated below in studying music living resources. This model was further improved after through explorations.
The integrated study model is composed by four dimensions, i.e., space-time, music event, social field, and culture metaphor. These four coordinates are interrelated, and cross supported with each other to form a triangular pyramid. The space-time coordinate establishes the profound connotation of historical culture accumulations, provides historical and contemporary location support to the cultural metaphor; social field constructs the research object’s social location and social influence; music event is the concrete cultural carrier in social field, is the key for music ethnography; and cultural metaphor is the explanation of culture content and essence connotation of music events. Interactions of these four constitute the specialty of an integrated study.
3. From the “Xikou Road(Road to Western)” to “Qin Zhidao (Straight Road of Qin Dynasty)”: brand-new cultural experiences of integrated traditional music study
In the Chinese Shanxi, Shaanxi and Inner Mongolia area, several nationalities are living here. The regional Chinese traditional music genres are numerous along the Xi Kou Road. Meanwhile, here spreads the renowned Qin Zhi Dao. These two roads merge with each other from Erdos to Baotou. This road culture leads to the dissemination of both culture and music.
From 2002 to 2005, the author has conducted integrated study of the Er Ren Tai music genre along this Xikou Road. From the angle of historical constitution and society maintenance, to explore the culture context of this region since Han and Tang Dynasty, and unearth the historical origin of the merging of Mongolian and Han, to find out that the popular region of Er Ren Tai not only has geography culture characteristic, but also is the juxtaposition and the collision place of northern Jin, North Shaanxi, the Erdos edge culture tectonic plates, which resulted in this Zou Xi Kou social phenomenon which then produced Er Ren Tai. In Xikou Road culture, Er Ren Tai is always following the regional culture development. It lives in villages along Jin, Shaanxi, and Inner Mongolia border area, accompanied with various rural customs, constitutes the rich colorful music event activities. As a represent of Xi Kou road culture, Er Ren Tai integrates with its culture surroundings inseparable. The rich music event varieties unfold its close relationships with rural customs, its social and cultural existence significance in villages. The author participated nine music and cultural events which revealed metaphors like art, entertainment, symbol, identity, social behavior and commodity. The village history is extended through the traditional festival, the god birth holiday celebration, the folk belief extension and the village daily customs. Folk theatrical troupes reflect the Zou Xi Kou culture, or an alternative of traditional cultural heritages.
As a “secular entertainment”, Er Ren Tai not only has close interactions with the region culture, but also is an important culture constituent.
From the summer of 2006 to now, the author also conducted fieldwork along the Qin Zhi Dao. From Shaanxi’s Xianyang Chunhua, to the Inner Mongolian Baotou region, the ancient times Straight Road of Qin, the Xikou road, the contemporary Xi’an – Baotou highway, all expend here. Here maintains the fusion of agriculture culture and the prairie culture, with rich natural resources, and music culture resources. At the current stage, the author has completed the first two milestones of research along this road. Music events investigated in this research include Baotou city park senior Er Ren Tai performance, the Mongolian national minority music cultural performance in Baogete, Mon-Han tune and Er Ren Tai in Mongolian villages near Yellow River, Erdos feast song in Ikin Huo Luoqi, Mon-Han tune in Dzunger, the wedding ceremony music in Erdos, the Nadam in Uxin Qi village, Erdos long tune and short tune in Uxin Qi Du Gui Long, the Yulin song, the Shan Bei Shuo Shu in the temple fair in Tong Wan Cheng, etc.
By the integrated study of traditional music culture along Qin Zhi Dao, we found that although different music event may have its unique cultural metaphor, they all share some common historical culture connotations. Qin Zhi Dao shortened the distance between inner land (south of Yellow River) and the border areas, strengthened the economy and cultural exchange of Han and other minorities, promoted the productivity level.
DOWNLOAD YANG Hong’s paper in Chinese here
Correspondence and Interaction: Chinese Musical History and Ethnomusicology
—From the “Ontology of Yue(樂)” and “Synchronic Approach in Diachronic Studies”
1、Correspondences of the thinking model of Chinese “Ontology of Yue(樂)” and the theoretical model of Ethnomusicology on the Ontology level
The matter of existence is primary in philosophy studies, while the matter about musical existence is also primary and is one of the basic theoretical foundations in musicology. It is also the foundation to study cross cultural system of musicology.
Now, we are confident that, in Chinese traditional musical thinking, the concept of music is not only the “tone” as most western researchers stated, but an integration of behaviour, formation, and idea.
Before Qin dynasty, Chinese people had distinguished the three concepts of “sound”, “tone” and “Yue”, and established a very stable conceptual system in traditional musical ideology.
Here, “sound” refers to the sounds used as musical material expressing some feelings; “tone” refers to the tone that is formed by organising sounds, while “Yue” refers to the art form, which possesses the main features of acoustic art and is integrated with the art forms such as speech, vision and body shape as well as relevant cultural behaviours. I call such a musical ideology “the ontology of Yue(樂)”.
Therefore, I proposed the theory of three elements of musical existence and the theoretical distinction between the ontology of “Yue(樂)” and the ontology of “tone”. These are enlightened by the idea of “Yue(樂)” in the Chinese traditional musical ideology, and also reflect the properties of the wholeness way of thinking in traditional Chinese culture which were induced by many Chinese scholars already.
Historically speaking, in Chinese traditional musical ideology, there has never been such a concept as “the ontology of tone”, which was initiated by western musicologists (not the Ethnomusicologists).
Only after the 1980s, the Ethnomusicology has become well accepted in China. This started to shake the conception of “ontology of tone” from the western, and echoed the traditional Chinese “ontology of Yue(樂)”
From the view point of Chinese people, on musical existence, theories of ethnomusicology have significant correspondences with “the ontology of Yue(樂)” which is re-established on the bases of traditional Chinese musical ideology.
I believe that the academic joint effort derived from this combination will have tremendous and profound influence on the construction and development of Chinese musicology.
2．Synchronic Approach in Diachronic Studies—New Way of Studying the Chinese Music History
In contemporary Chinese musical study, Ethnomusicology focuses more on diachronic studies of the history, the forming reason and the dissemination of traditional music. On the other hand, synchronic approach is used in musical history study to understand music matters at some historical points. From Chinese scholars’ view points, diachronic study focuses on the historical development of some matters, while synchronic approach mainly studies the horizontal relationships of the existence of a matter. Thus, the synchronic approach in diachronic study emphasises the horizontal relationships in historical deployment.
In the study of Chinese ancient musical history, this new approach has been successfully applied in three ways.
(1) by synchronically studying some music matter at its particular historical point, new finding were discovered.
(2) To synchronically illustrate and analysis some musical matters in some particular time and regions.
(3) In studying Chinese ancient musical history, Chinese scholars have proposed the retrograde observation theory and emphasised the horizontal research approach.
Towards A New Era for the Study of Taiwan Music
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