Music as Intangible Cultural Heritage: Policy, Ideology, and Practice in the Preservation of East Asian Traditions, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Music as Intangible Cultural Heritage

Policy, Ideology, and Practice in the Preservation of East Asian Traditions, 1st Edition

Edited by Keith Howard


292 pages

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Paperback: 9781138245464
pub: 2016-09-09
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Focussing on music traditions, these essays explore the policy, ideology and practice of preservation and promotion of East Asian intangible cultural heritage. For the first time, Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan - states that were amongst the first to establish legislation and systems for indigenous traditions - are considered together. Calls to preserve the intangible heritage have recently become louder, not least with increasing UNESCO attention. The imperative to preserve is, throughout the region, cast as a way to counter the perceived loss of cultural diversity caused by globalization, modernization, urbanization and the spread of the mass media. Four chapters - one each on China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan - incorporate a foundational overview of preservation policy and practice of musical intangible cultural heritage at the state level. These chapters are complemented by a set of chapters that explore how the practice of policy has impacted on specific musics, from Confucian ritual through Kam big song to the Okinawan sanshin. Each chapter is based on rich ethnographic data collected through extended fieldwork. The team of international contributors give both insider and outsider perspectives as they both account for, and critique, policy, ideology and practice in East Asian music as intangible cultural heritage.


’For anyone concerned about the steady loss of diversity in the musics of the world this is a vital collection of essays highlighting policies adopted in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China to preserve and promote the intangible cultural heritage. The case studies illustrate the problems encountered in the preservation project and stress the importance of promoting creativity and development to enrich culture and transmit it to future generations.’ John Baily, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: East Asian music as intangible cultural heritage, Keith Howard; Intangible cultural heritage in China today: policy and practice in the early 21st century, Helen Rees; Ee, mang gay dor ga ey (Hey, why don't you sing)? Imagining the future for Kam Big Song, Catherine Ingram; Strumming the 'lost mouth chord': discourses of preserving the Nuosu-Yi mouth harp, Olivia Kraef; From transformation to preservation: music and multi-ethnic unity on television in China, Lauren Gorfinkel; Authenticity and authority: conflicting agendas in the preservation of music and dance at Korea's state sacrificial rituals, Keith Howard; A tradition of adaptation: preserving the ritual for Paebaengi, Roald Maliangkay; Lessons from the past: Nanguan/Nanyin and the preservation of intangible cultural heritage in Taiwan, Ying-fen Wang; Dichotomies between 'classical' and 'folk' in the intangible cultural properties of Japan, Shino Arisawa; Promoting and preserving the Chichibu Night Festival: the impact of cultural policy on the transmission of Japanese folk performing arts, Jane Alaszewska; Whose heritage? Cultural properties legislation and regional identity in Okinawa, Matt Gillan; References; Index.

About the Editor

Keith Howard is Professor of Music at the School of Oriental and African Studies, and was formerly Associate Dean, Research, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney, Australia.

About the Series

SOAS Studies in Music Series

SOAS Musicology Series is today one of the world’s leading series in the discipline of ethnomusicology. Our core mission is to produce high-quality, ethnographically rich studies of music-making in the world’s diverse musical cultures. We publish monographs and edited volumes that explore musical repertories and performance practice, critical issues in ethnomusicology, sound studies, historical and analytical approaches to music across the globe. We recognize the value of applied, interdisciplinary and collaborative research, and our authors draw on current approaches in musicology and anthropology, psychology, media and gender studies. We welcome monographs that investigate global contemporary, classical and popular musics, the effects of digital mediation and transnational flows.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / Ethnomusicology