Ritual and Music of North China: Volume 2: Shaanbei

1st Edition

Stephen Jones

Routledge
Published June 14, 2017
Reference - 272 Pages - 21 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9781138056787 - CAT# Y331294
Series: SOAS Studies in Music Series

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Summary

This second volume of Stephen Jones' work on ritual and musical life in north China, again with an accompanying DVD, gives an impression of music-making in daily life in the poor mountainous region of Shaanbei, northwest China. It conveys some of the diverse musical activities there around 2000, from the barrage of pop music blaring from speakers in the bustling county-towns to the life-cycle and calendrical ceremonies of poor mountain villages. Based on the practice of grass-roots music-making in daily life, not merely on official images, the main theme is the painful maintenance of ritual and its music under Maoism, its revival with the market reforms of the 1980s, and its modification under the assaults of TV, pop music, and migration since the 1990s. The text is in four parts. Part One gives background to the area and music-making in society. Parts Two and Three discuss the lives of bards and shawm bands respectively, describing modifications in their ceremonial activities through the twentieth century. Part Four acclimatizes us to the modern world with glimpses of various types of musical life in Yulin city, the regional capital, illustrating the contrast with the surrounding countryside. The 44-minute DVD, with its informative commentary, is intended both to illuminate the text and to stand on its own. It shows bards performing at a temple fair and to bless a family in distress, and shawm bands performing at a wedding, at funerals, and a shop opening - including their pop repertory with the 'big band'. Also featuring as part of these events are opera troupes, geomancers, and performing beggars; by contrast, the film shows a glimpse of the official image of Shaanbei culture as presented by a state ensemble in the regional capital. The publication will appeal to ethnomusicologists, anthropologists, and all those interested in modern Chinese history and society.

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