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The Origin and Development of Western Music History Textbooks by Chinese Scholars: A Review

Author(s): Li Xiujun

Journal: Journal of Music History Pedagogy
ISSN 2155-109X

Volume: 2;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 161;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Music History | Pedagogy | China

The formal teaching of Western music history in China can be traced to the beginning of the last century with the founding of the first professional music college in China. The People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949, and music history textbooks during the start of this period often drew on concepts of class struggle and historical materialism to examine historical development. The interest in Western music increased with the opening of China to the West in the late 1970s and 1980s. These developments have increased in the 1990s with the growth of China's music conservatories. The following review introduces the major Western music history texts written since 1919 and provides a discussion of the most important of these works in each period. The textbooks on the history of Western music written by the these scholars have become the major teaching materials in Chinese musical institutions, and their content and evolving views are discussed in this paper. Particular attention is given to The Music History of Europe, written mainly by Zhang Hongdao in the 1960s and 1970s, A Brief History of European Music by Qian Renkang, et al. in the 1980s; and selected books written from the 1990s to the present by Yu Runyang, Yu Zhigang, and the author.

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