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Kirsten Alonso May 30, 2012 History 70A Paper Title The partial colonization of China by European and American powers went beyond simply conquering pieces of lands; they also sought to implement their culture in Chinese society. One of these examples is how Europeans and Americans influenced Chinese music by introducing their own music, instruments, and the Western notions of music theories. To understand this desire to inculcate Western culture into China, one must understand the notion of Colonial Modernity. Colonial Modernity is the concept that through colonization, the colonizing power attempting to modernize the territory by introducing their culture into that society as a modern culture. In the case with music, the Western powers saw Chinese music as unintelligent and backwards. As a result, many thought that Chinese musical modernization was due to colonial modernity, however, this is only one explanation. The modernization of Chinese music also came about due to the nation-building project of the May 4th Movement. Andrew Jones talks about this in his book, Yellow Music: Media Culture and Colonial Modernity in the Chinese Jazz Age. He ties colonial modernity in understanding yellow music which is a genre of Chinese music seen as pornographic. Thus, Westerners and Chinese music intellectuals constituted colonial modernity in China through music by bringing in different western instruments and music theories and blending it with Chinese music. The reason yellow music and other musical styles of Li Jinhui were ridiculed by many was because it defied colonial modernity by embracing Chinese traditional music and blending it with other musical genres of the west that was deemed unworthy at the time.

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As mentioned, Western powers instituted colonial modernity to China through music, and one of the ways was by introducing their own instruments and music theories. Jones mentions, European and American Imperialists in China (and elsewhere) arrived with a hymnal in one hand and a gun in the other (locaton 428). One of the reasons this happened was so that the Western powers had a better control of China. By infusing their culture, European nations as well as the United States, were able to conquer better China, instead of just controlling territory. Typically, this was done through Japan, who also has imperial interests over China. This was done through the institutionalization of music education by incorporating Japanese texts to largely Euro-American melodies to school songs called shoka (Jones, Chap 1, Location 447, Par. 2). These songs were instituted in Japanese schools which encouraged Japans imperialist campaginst against China. As Jones later goes on, Shen Xingong and Liang decided to mimic these efforts and introduced these methods into Chinese schools. Along with these songs, Western instruments were also used, such as the piano, harmonium, organ, and violin (Jones, Chap 1, Location 454, Par. 3). Here were see the beginning of colonial modernity being implemented in China by infusing Western instruments and melodies into school songs. This was one of the reasons Chinese music can be said to have modernized but we also see the importance of nation-building. The reason why the musicality changed in school songs was in order to make Chinese children have more patriotism and nationalism. Jones points points out that Lian Qichao and Cai Yuampei saw music as a means of aesthetic education (meiju, a method by which the intellectual and the moral quality of the citizenry could be elevated to advance the national cause (Jones, Chap.1, Location 459, Par. 2). Again, there was another factor to take in consideration to why Chinese music modernized during this era, which was to create a stronger and unified China.

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As Jones also points out, the May 4th Movement also coincided with the new music emerging (location 475). There are many people to attribute to the new music, and one of them is Cai Yuanpei who organized a series of music reform groups dedicated to introducing Western music along scientific lines (Chap. 1, Location 487, Par. 2). Cai incorporated foreign instructors, and emphasized the western music theory. Other ways that colonial modernity was established in the Republican Shanghai was the formations of amateur music societies such as the Shanghai Songsters, and the Chinese Harmonica Association. Along with these efforts, there was also a campaign to crush popular folk, or what was seen as vulgar music from Chinese society which was seen as non-western, which entailed to be not modern. This also gave a sense of credibility to the May 4th Movement in their efforts to make a stronger China. What is ironic about this is the attempt of the May 4th Movement to create a stronger China that was not independent of imperialists powers, yet it sought out some of the culture that the imperialists brought to China, such as music genres and theories. However, this does tie back to the Movement appealing to a sort of enlightenment and notion of modernizing China which meant introducing Western musicality to their own music. Thus, colonial modernity in part helps explains Chinas new music and changes, but these changes must also give credit to the nation-building and the May 4th Movement in China at the time. A musical genre that emerged during this time was Li Jinhuis yellow music which was seen as pornographic and Chinese music. Li was interested in popular and folk music from China, and also jazz music which he blended together in his music. Jones argues that Lis yellow music was a product of the nation-building of the time as it was of mass culture since it was inspired by the climate of intellectual and political ferment during the 1920s (Chap.3, Location 951, Par. 1). This is important to have in mind in analyzing yellow music since many

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Chinese intellectuals have deeply criticized the genre and Li for blending different styles that were not seen as the cultural norm of the time. Many of these intellectuals never saw the cultural value of yellow music and the contributions of Li to Chinese culture during the Shanghai Republic, which explains why they do not see yellow music being a product of the nation-building of China. Lis music was a fusion of Chinese folk, Tin Pan Alley pop, and African American jazz which was subject to major criticism since the western music he was blending with traditional Chinese folk was seen as bad western music (Chap. 3, Location 1282-1301). Many of the critics of yellow music do not like it because it relates to a specific ethnic identity, Chineseness (Chap. 3, Location 1288, Par. 1). Another issue that critics saw was yellow musics relation with jazz in relation to African-Americans, another ethnic identity. The major differences between yellow music and traditional Chinese music are the way the music was presented, the lyrics, and the blend of genres. Jones says that traditional Chinese melody is characterized by pentatonicism, its primary instrument the qin which generateds a timbre and tone color that differs from the West (Chap 1, Location 371, Par 2). Traditional music was a component of Confucian ritual at the imperial court, a medium of intellectual and emoctional exchange between the literati, and element of religious ritual, and integral aspect of operatic performance, and a diversion among many other diversions at temple fairs and rural market festivals (Chap 1, Location 402, Par. 1). This differs from yellow music in that yellow music was primarily for entertainment, and blended many musical forms that caused more diversity in sounds. Also, Lis music transcended to criticizing prevailing trends and spur along the implementation of a humanistic political regime in China (Chap 3., Location 1056, Par. 1). His music also included what was deemed as promiscuous language and did deals with some sexual themes in the music and styles,

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which is why yellow music is seen as pornographic. However, interestingly enough, his music was similar to traditional Chinese folk in its popularitiy and how there were traditional Chinese music menat for the masses. As mention, yellow music was ridiculed and highly criticized by many since it was seen as vulgar in its use of blending several types of music genres that glorified certain ethnicities, and since it did deal with many taboo sectors of society. Li was also criticized since he lacked Western training in music since he never went abroad to learn more about Western music, and the western music he did incorporate in his genre was deemed as bad. Overall, his music was not as popular as some critics may deem, as Jones also notes in his book. In all, his music was also a product of nation-building and in certain ways, colonial modernity since it was seen as modern.