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A Contemporary History of the Chinese Zheng

A revisionist history of the Chinese zheng that the complex origins of a single instrument.

As the Chinese plucked zither known as the zheng was popularized in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, its role in musical composition and virtuosic capacity made it into a stalwart standard of Chinese music. In the past, the zheng had appeared in small instrumental ensembles and supplied improvised accompaniments to song, becoming a means of nation-building that was eventually promoted as a marker of Chinese identity in Hong Kong. In Contemporary History of the Chinese Zheng, Ann L. Silverberg uses evidence from the greater China area to show how the narrative history of the zheng created on the mainland did not represent the true history of zheng music. This book contends that the restored “traditional Chinese music” created and promulgated from the 1920s forward—and solo zheng music in particular—is a hybrid of “Chinese essence, Western means” that essentially obscures rather than reveals tradition.

252 pages | 4 halftones | 6 x 9

History: Asian History

Music: Ethnomusicology

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Note on Romanization, Transliteration, and Translation
Chapter 1: Cultural and Theoretical Context
Chapter 2: The Zheng’s History Prior to 1949
Chapter 3: Zheng Art in the People’s Republic of China, 1949–1979
Chapter 4: The Zheng in Hong Kong, 1949–1979
Chapter 5: The Zheng in Taiwan, 1949–1979
Chapter 6: Zheng Music in the “Opening Up and Reform” Era
Chapter 7: Conclusions

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