Gender in Chinese Music

October 2013
26 black and white, 8 line illustrations
316 pages
9x6 in
Eastman/Rochester Studies Ethnomusicology
University of Rochester Press
BISAC MUS015000, SOC032000, HIS008000

Gender in Chinese Music

Edited by Rachel Harris, Rowan Pease, Shzr Ee Tan

Gender in Chinese Music draws together contributions from ethnomusicologists, anthropologists, and literary scholars to explore how music is implicated in changing notions of masculinity, femininity, and genders "in between" in Chinese culture.
Village ritualists, international classical pianists, pop idols, and professional mourners -- whether they perform in temples, on concert stages, or in TV shows, Chinese musicians continually express and negotiate their gendered identities. Gender in Chinese Music brings together contributions from ethnomusicologists, anthropologists, and literary scholars to explore how gender is not only manifested in the diverse musical traditions of Chinese culture but also constructed through performing and observing these traditions.
Individual chapters examine unique music cultures ranging from those of courting couples in China's heartlands to ethnic minority singers in the borderlands, and from Ming-period courtesans to contemporary karaoke hostesses. The book also features interviews with musicians, music industry workers, and fans talking about gender. With its wide-ranging subject matter and interdisciplinary approach, this volume will be an important resource for researchers and students interested in how music is implicated in the changing notions of masculinity, femininity, and genders "in between." Contributors: Ruard Absaroka, Rachel Harris, Stephen Jones, Frank Kouwenhoven, Olivia Kraef, Joseph Lam, Rowan Pease, Antoinet Schimmelpenninck, Hwee-San Tan, Shzr Ee Tan, Xiao Mei, Judith Zeitlin, Tiantian Zheng.

Rachel Harris is a Senior Lecturer in Ethnomusicology at SOAS, University of London.
Rowan Pease is a Senior Teaching Fellow at SOAS, University of London.
Shzr Ee Tan is Senior Lecturer in Music at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Table of Contents

Introduction - Rachel Harris and Rowan Pease
Gender and Music in Local Communities - Stephen Jones
The Pleasures of Print: Illustrated Songbooks from the Late Ming Courtesan World - Judith T. Zeitlin
From Courtesans to Modern Hostesses: Music and Construction of Gender in the Entertainment Industry in China - Tiantian Zheng
An Interview with Zhang Han, Karaoke Bar Host - Shzr Ee Tan
Impulsive Scholars and Sentimental Heroes: Contemporary Kunqu Discourses of Traditional Chinese Masculinities - Joseph Lam
An Interview with Madame Zinnia Kwok, Amateur Opera Singer - Shzr Ee Tan
Men Behaving Badly? Shawm Bands of North China - Stephen Jones
An Interview with Coco Zhao, Shanghai Jazz Singer - Ruard Absaroka
New Chinese Masculinities on the Piano: Lang Lang and Li Yundi - Shzr Ee Tan
An Interview with Aloysius Lee, Fan of Singer Faye Wong - Shzr Ee Tan
"I Prefer a Man Who Is Fresh like a Jumping Fish": Gender Issues in Shan'ge, Chinese Popular Rural Song - Frank Kouwenhoven and Antoinet Schimmelpenninck
An Interview with Liu Sola, Composer, Singer, Visual Artist, and Novelist - Shzr Ee Tan
Broken Voices: Ethnic Singing and Gender - Rowan Pease
An Interview with Li Sisong, Producer and Songwriter - Shzr Ee Tan
"Mother's Daughter": Gender Narratives in Nuosu-Yi Women's Musical Expressive Forms - Olivia Kraef
An Interview with Xiao Mei, Ethnomusicologist - Shzr Ee Tan
"Doing Satan's Business": Negotiating Gendered Concepts of Music and Ritual in Rural Xinjiang - Rachel Harris
Bodies, Gender, and Worldviews: Me-mot Spirit Mediums in the Jingxi Region of Guangxi - Xiao Mei
Vegetarian Sisters: New Configurations of Gender in Buddhism in Southern Fujian - Hwee-San Tan
Selected Bibliography
List of Contributors


The essays collected in this volume display a holistically panoramic yet individually illuminating view of how gender and music are manifested and integrated not just in the Chinese context, but beyond. . . . To add to its attractiveness, the book is also amply illustrated with music scores, photos from exotic places, and fine drawings from traditional literary texts. . . . I strongly recommend this book for both specialists and lay people alike. ASIAN ETHNOLOGY

There are too many gems in this book to address here. . . . I can think of no better volume to demonstrate the astounding breadth of Chinese musical cultures than Gender in Chinese Music. The chapters are well written, informative, thought provoking, and provide an important contribution to a range of issues in Chinese society both in the musical sphere and beyond. MUSIC AND LETTERS

This is a comprehensive, well-edited, and interdisciplinary selection of essays on a complex theme. . . . The book features interviews with fans and musicians, who offer their own personal and professional approaches to gender, which is especially interesting considering the differing constructions of gender within the broader artistic scene in China. . . . This book's insights and broad perspectives make it valuable to those interested in ethnomusicology, cultural studies, and Chinese studies in general. Summing up: recommended. CHOICE

These meticulously-researched essays, written by leading scholars in their respective fields, provide contextualized accounts of the great variety of musical cultures, forms, and practices in China from the Ming period to the present time. Inspiring and informative, this volume will be of interest to specialist and nonspecialist readers alike. --Siu Leung Li, Associate Professor and Director of the Master of Cultural Studies Program at Lingnan University

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