"Where Does New Music Come from? Lyrical Traditions in the Modern and Contemporary Music of China"
This lecture comes from the following contexts: Firstly, the new generation of Chinese composers is capturing worldwide attention. In 2007, the British academic journal Contemporary Music Review enthusiastically affirmed Chinese modern and contemporary music, and used the word “New Music” to summarize this new musical style blending Chinese and Western cultures. Secondly, New Music in China has experienced a process of returning from the worship of the West to reshaping the authenticity of Chinese music. Although Chinese-Western musical and cultural interactions carry significant implications for the New Music, so far the systematic and comprehensive research is still lacking.
This lecture argues that the lyrical tradition plays a vital role in forming the New Music in China. The argument is made by analyzing the four lyrical aspects in modern and contemporary Chinese music compositions, including “landscape,” “magic,” “time” and “abstract.” By elaborating the complicated connotation of each type, it is argued that the unique lyrical spirit in the creation of Chinese modern and contemporary music derives from the lyrical tradition of Classical Chinese poetry. This lyricism also marks the particular feature of the 20th-century and 21st-century Chinese composers, who are distinct from the subjective identity of modernity.
Jing Yang is Associate Professor of Music at Shanghai Normal University. She received her Masters degree (2004) and PhD (2012) in the aesthetics of music from Shanghai Conservatory of Music, and was the postdoctoral fellow of Central Conservatory of Music from 2012 to 2015. Yang has published original articles in various leading Chinese academic periodicals. She is also the English-to-Chinese translator of Joseph Kerman’s The Beethoven Quartets and Susan McClary’s Conventional Wisdom: The Content of Musical Form. Her main research interests lie in the area of cross-cultural music, music sociology, musical style studies, music aesthetics and criticism.