The Evolution of Chinese Popular Music : Modernization and Globalization, 1927 to the Present book cover
1st Edition

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

  • Available for pre-order on March 24, 2023. Item will ship after April 14, 2023
ISBN 9781032314037
April 14, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
328 Pages 120 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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. Four monumental social progressive moments impacted Chinese popular music: the influence of the 1930s Shanghai Chinese style of jazz, which marked the modernization of China following the anti-imperialist, anti-feudalist May Fourth Movement; 1970s campus folksongs, also called pre-rock, which emerged from university campus music events in Taiwan; 1980s Chinese rock at the time of the Tiananmen Square protests; and hip hop after 2000, representing the latest Chinese social identity following resumption of relations between republican Taiwan and communist China after four decades of separation. Cheng demonstrates how western musical genres were used by Chinese songwriters to express moments of social progress, utilizing new styles and sounds that expressed the people’s voices of the time. Moreover, some Chinese musical elements remained, resulting in indigenous characteristics in the new western genres and producing what Cheng calls a “modern Chinese nostalgia.”

The book discusses how this integrated sound facilitated the popularity of western music spreading through Chinese society and further led to cultural exchanges between the west and east.

Table of Contents

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

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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).