A Musicultural History of the Chinese Zheng

Report
Chapter 13 Part III: A Musicultural History
of the Chinese Zheng
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The ancestor of the Zheng is…
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The qin was popular in what dynasty?
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Confucianism!
During the Tang Dynasty, what emperor was responsible
full improving the role of the musician’s social status and
for cultivating the zheng as a “women’s” instrument?
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Han
And what religion was prevalent?
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The qin!
Emperor Xuanzong!
In which dynasty did distinct regional styles of zheng
playing emerge?
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Qing Dynasty!
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Emergence of Conservatory Solo Zheng Style
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Republic Era
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Adoption of Western music
Communist China
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Socialist Agenda
Music and Politics
Musical propoganda
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Republic Era (1912-1949)
 Political instability and massive cultural reform
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Chinese traditional musics seen as regressive.
 Western music was prized as an adopted icon of Chinese
modernity
 “Race towards modernization”
Attitude: Prevalent notion that Western music was superior.
Ethnomusicologist Stephen Jones:
 “Students of traditional Chinese instruments are plainly
considered inferior to students of Western music…For
many urban Chinese, their traditional music is ‘backward,’
less ‘scientific,’ than Western music.”
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Appropriating Western technological, economic, and cultural systems
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Liu Tianhua (Lee-oo Tee-en hwah)
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Chinese composer and musician
Argument: Traditional musics and instruments should
not be discarded, but reformed and modernized.
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Incorporating Western elements
Collecting, transcribing, and publishing traditional folk
music from different regions of China and rearranging
it sound more “current.”
This was to be a music imbued with Chinese “national
characteristics,” fused with elements of Western
music so that it can be “the equal of Western music.”
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Broke away from baban form
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Use of more ornamentation – guo-zou glissandos
Introduction of accelerando
Programmatic effect
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8…Regional
Evoke the motion and sound of the fishing boats
Common feature in most Chinese music
More emphasis was placed on the programmatic concept
during the Republic era.
Overall: More ornamentation and new techniques
being employed to create programmatic effect.
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Excerpt 1. Opening section of the piece (CD EX. #3-24)
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Traditional musical style similar to that of baban-form
pieces, slow tempo, conventional ornaments, single-line
melody, relaxed and contemplative mood.
Excerpt 2. Closing Section of the Piece (CD EX. #3-25)
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What are some elements that are different?
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Departure from traditional zheng musical style on multiple levels
Baban form no longer present
Elaborate use of gua-zou (glissando) ornamentation
Dramatic use of acceleration of tempo and the explicit
programmaticism of the music
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Mao Zedong
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Chinese Communist Party
(CCP)
Gained political control of
China in 1949
Chinese socialism:
Importance of state
patronage
Control of music in efforts
to encode and promote
state ideology
Musical propaganda
Heavily regulated through
national music
conservatories and music
research institutes.
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Music/Arts were to
expressively serve the
goals of the socialist
state.
Communist songs for the
masses were created in
abundance and used to
propagate Chinese state
ideology and policies.
First full-fledged Chinese
conservatory curriculum
in zheng was established
at Shenyan Conservatory
in 1950.
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Sung by Deng Haiqiong’s Mother, Li Xiuqin with
zheng accompaniment by Haiqiong.
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Melody is a Tibetan folksong
Invokes several standard themes of Chinese
communist rhetoric:
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The literal and metaphorical glorification of Mao
Zedong and the CCP
The rationalization of CCP policies regarding China’s
“ethnic minorities”
The “emancipation” of the peasant masses
The ideal of building socialism for China
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New works for solo zheng composed.
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Additionally, these pieces were linked to titles and
“programs” – descriptions of what the music was properly
supposed to represent and evoke.
1958: Government initiative to increase the official stature
of Chinese music led several talented pianists to switch to
the zheng as their main instrument.
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“Return of the Fishing Boats.”
Fan Shang’e
The virtuosic, “pianistic” potential of the zheng was greatly
developed by this new generation of performers.
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Pieces became technically demanding
16 string zheng expanded to the 21 string zheng
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Tibetan folksong is the melody but the piece has little
to do with traditional Tibetan folk music.
Socialist program: Describes a scene of Tibetans
happily singing and dancing in their beautiful,
mountainous land in a spirit of welcome toward
Chinese communist rule.
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Highly developed two-hand playing technique.
Two-part texture. RH melody and LH arpeggiated chords
with tons of ornamentation.
1:02-End
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First portion of concluding section of piece, in which the
melody and lively rhythm are intended to evoke an image
of “happy Tibetans” performing folk dances.
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Western music was prized as an adopted icon of
Chinese modernity in what era?
Republic!
What composer thought that traditional Chinese musics
and instruments should not be discarded, but reformed
and modernized?
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Who gained political control of China in 1949?
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Liu Tianhua!
Mao Zedong!
A socialist program is:
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Descriptions of what the music is properly supposed to
represent and evoke according to the Chinese Communist Party.
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Cultural Revolution Era
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Period of Openness
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Brutally Oppressive Policies
Deng Xiaoping
“New wave” Chinese composers and the
Zheng in popular culture.

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