1st Edition

The Evolution of Chinese Popular Music Modernization and Globalization, 1927 to the Present

By Ya-Hui Cheng Copyright 2023
    230 Pages 120 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Ya-Hui Cheng examines the emergence of popular music genres – jazz, rock, and hip-hop – in Chinese society, covering the social underpinnings that shaped the development of popular music in China and Taiwan, from imperialism to westernization and from modernization to globalization. The political sensitivities across the strait have long eclipsed the discussion of these shared sonic intimacies. It was not until the rise of the digital age, when entertainment programs from China and Taiwan reached social media on a global scale, that audiences realized the existence of this sonic reciprocation. Analyzing Chinese pentatonicism and popular songs published from 1927 to the present, this book discusses structural elements in Chinese popular music to show how they aligned closely with Chinese folk traditions. While the influences from Western genres are inevitable under the phenomenon of globalization, Chinese songwriters utilized these Western inspirations to modernize their musical traditions. It is a sensitivity for exhibiting cultural identities that enabled popular music to present a unique Chinese global image while transcending political discord and unifying mass cultures across the strait.

    Acknowledgments; Preface; 1. Introduction; 2. Early Western Sounds: from Christian-based Music to the Shanghai Modern Song; 3. Music in Taiwan: Migration, Westernization, Campus Folksongs, and Rock Music; 4. The Collective Sound: From Propaganda Music to Sent-Down Youth Songs; 5. Modernizing Chinese Vernacular Music: From Red Songs to Rock Music in China; 6. Global Image, Chinese Wind, Rap, and Hip-Hop; 7. The Chinese Dream and the Latest Popular Music Scene in Greater China; Bibliography; Index


    Ya-Hui Cheng is Assistant Professor of Music Theory at the University of South Florida.

    "The Evolution of Chinese Popular Music: Modernization and Globalization, 1927 to the Present stands out by holistically addressing the hundred-year history of Chinese popular music. Full of carefully researched observations on music, lyrics, performers, composers, and historical and contemporary currents, it also fills a clear niche by focusing on the music-theoretical content of these repertories. The book will engage a broad cross-section of readerships, from popular music studies to musicology and Asian studies, and is sure to enjoy a lengthy shelf-life as a central reference in the field of Chinese popular music studies."

    Dr Lijuan Qian, Senior Lecturer at University College Cork, the author of The Tolerated Mainstream: Chinese Popular Music in the 1980s (Guilin: Guangxi Normal University Press, 2016).