An Introduction to Chinese traditional music

Release Date: 2017-09-22

The discipline of Chinese traditional music is a branch of the music discipline. The establishment of the musicology department in the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in 1982 has actively contributed to the musicology development in the nation and even in the world. In recent years, the musicology department keeps expanding the teaching direction and research scope and has made outstanding achievements. The SHCM will rely on its advantage in the music discipline to set up the course of an introduction to Chinese traditional music for overseas students and a strong faculty team will teach the course.

Chinese traditional music refers to music varieties and music works that emerged on the Chinese territory in ancient and contemporary times and were passed down to the present time as well as those were introduced into China by the Chinese minorities and foreign ethnic groups in ancient times and further developed in China. In details, Chinese traditional music includes both ancient works and contemporary works created with methods and forms of Chinese nationality. We can also say, Chinese traditional music actually covers China’s culture, history and traditions. We stress “music tradition” and focus on music works by discussing their traditional methods, forms, patterns and the dynamic process when they are accepted and adopted by the society and culture. As a result, the discipline studies folk songs and ancient songs, song and dance and dance music, rap music, traditional opera music and instrumental music. At the same time, we also study the position and value of folk music of other nationalities in the Chinese or mankind’s music culture.

The course gives a general introduction to the Chinese traditional music so that overseas students can have a general idea about China’s traditional music culture. In the future, we may develop independent courses to introduce China’s traditional instrumental music and opera art. Besides, we can also take advantage of our performance discipline of the Folk Music Department to teach overseas students to play the Chinese traditional musical instruments, such as Erhu and Guqin, and make them learn more about the Chinese traditional music culture. Overseas students will further understand and resonate with the Chinese culture through each piece of work and each Chinese composer.

The comparative study of the Chinese and Western music is also extension of the Chinese traditional music. The SHCM has pursued for a leading role in the world’s relevant discipline study with its broad vision and academic sources. As a result, the world folk music will also be included in the course of the Chinese traditional music for overseas students. By learning about the music culture of different nationalities, overseas students can have a deeper understanding of typical Chinese culture.