Essay on Western Influence on Chinese Music

1222 Words Jul 24th, 2012 5 Pages
Western Influence on Chinese Music

China has long been the cultural hub of Asia, and has had the longest amount of contact of any Asian country with other Western countries. Ever since the Silk Road was established, China has been trading with other Western countries and exchanging aspects of their cultures with one another. One of these aspects is music. But how exactly has Western music influenced Chinese music? In order to understand this, we must look at the history of Western encounters with China in terms of music.

European music was first introduced into China during the thirteenth century, which was part of the Yuan dynasty of China. Catholic missionaries introduced Western music to the Chinese imperial court. Soon, the
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She and the Chinese pop music industry flourished in China until the 1950s, when the Communist regime led by Mao took over. Pop music was replaced with revolutionary music with government propaganda, which caused the pop industry to move to Taiwan and Hong Kong. This new musical presence in Hong Kong indirectly led to the creation of Cantonese popular music, also known as Cantopop.

Cantopop is a style of popular music that emerged during the 1970s. It was influenced by Western folk rock music of the 1970s, and is set up in a rock band layout with heavy use of electronic instruments, such as the electric guitar and synthesizer. Perhaps the most famous Cantopop singer of all time, Teresa Tang, emerged during the 1980s. Her music touched the hearts of people all over the world, and caused the Communist regime in China to shift their policy of music from just supporting government propaganda to include expressing individual emotions. Since then, many Cantonese pop singers have emerged and this genre remains famous even today.

While some musicians used Western genres, such as Western pop music and jazz, as the basis of their music, other musicians stuck with the traditional Chinese music style while adding Western elements to it. Due to the popularity of Western music in China, the popularity of traditional Chinese music diminished, and many traditional Chinese musicians were afraid that traditional music would eventually fade away. Their solution to this problem
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