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Lives in Chinese Music

Helen Rees

Publication Year: 2009

Until recently, most scholarly work on Chinese music in both Chinese and Western languages has focused on genres, musical structure, and general history and concepts, rather than on the musicians themselves. This volume breaks new ground by focusing on individual musicians active in different amateur and professional music scenes in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Chinese communities in Europe. Using biography to deepen understanding of Chinese music, contributors present contextualized portraits of rural folk singers, urban opera singers, literati, and musicians on both geographic and cultural frontiers._x000B__x000B_Contributors are Nimrod Baranovitch, Rachel Harris, Frank Kouwenhoven, Tong Soon Lee, Peter Micic, Helen Rees, Antoinet Schimmelpenninck, Shao Binsun, Jonathan P. J. Stock, and Bell Yung._x000B_

Published by: University of Illinois Press

Front Cover

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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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pp. vii

Many people have contributed to the successful completion of this volume. First, I wish to thank the eight contributing authors, who have not only produced work of great novelty and interest, but have also consistently worked to time, patiently answered innumerable queries, and courteously...

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Introduction: Writing Lives in Chinese Music

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pp. 1-20

Musicological traditions differ in the extent to which they write the individual into their texts. At one extreme, both scholarly and popular writings on the Western art music tradition stress a parade of great composers, conductors, and performers, the most admired of whom have acquired heroic...


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1. Zhao Yongming: Portrait of a Mountain Song Cicada

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pp. 23-44

The bus trip from Shanghai to the heart of Wujiang county took us two and a half hours. Under a gray winter sky we drove along concrete roads past rice paddies, ponds and lakes, and scattered farmhouses and villages. The area was flat, but at certain points cone-shaped hills arose like solitary...

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2. Shao Binsun and Huju Traditional Opera in Shanghai

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pp. 45-62

This is a life story of a singer and actor in the traditional opera genre of Shanghai, a music-theatrical style with a history of some two hundred years and nowadays named huju (see further Stock 2003). In a paper published in 1980, Jeff Titon pointed out that the involvement of a researcher and...


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3. Tsar Teh-yun at Age 100: A Life of Qin Music, Poetry, and Calligraphy

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pp. 65-90

The seven-string zither qin and its music are unique in Chinese musical culture. Its long and uninterrupted history of at least two millennia is attested by archaeological and literary evidence. While many instruments in the world are as old, few can claim the unbroken continuity of the qin...

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4. Gathering a Nation's Music: A Life of Yang Yinliu

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pp. 91-116

In early November 1999, Chinese music scholars in China and from overseas gathered at Jiuhua shanzhuang in Changping, north of Beijing, for an international conference commemorating the hundredth anniversary of Yang Yinliu (1899–1984), regarded by many as the founder of twentieth-century...


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5. Grace Liu and Cantonese Opera in England: Becoming Chinese Overseas

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pp. 119-144

The front page of the Liverpool Daily Post on Saturday, September 24, 2005, shows Grace Liu wearing a black Western-style jacket, both hands positioned in a conventional Chinese opera stance as she poses in front of Eurowines in Liverpool’s Chinatown. The header on the front page reads...

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6. Abdulla Majnun: Muqam Expert

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pp. 145-172

The Uyghurs might be introduced as one of China’s big family of fifty-five minority nationalities (Weiwu’er zu, alongside the Tibetans, Mongols, Yi, Hui . . . ), or alternatively as one of the Central Asian nationalities (alongside the Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Tajik, Turkmen, and Uzbeks), the only one that...

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7. Compliance, Autonomy, and Resistance of a "State Artist": The Case of Chinese-Mongolian Musician Teng Ge'er

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pp. 173-212

Teng Ge’er is a musician of Mongolian origin who lives in Beijing and is known all over China for his many pop, rock, and folk songs, especially those about Mongolia, many of which he not only performs but also wrote and composed. Since 1985 he has been a member of China’s Central...


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pp. 213-215


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pp. 217-223

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780252092251
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252033797

Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2009