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In Search Of A Genuine Chinese Sound: Jiang Wenye And Modern Chinese Music

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the acoustic choices Jiang Wenye made at defining moments of his career in the 1930s and 1940s, and the aesthetic and political consequences he had to deal with. The author asks how Jiang's sonic sensibility reflected colonial, national and cosmopolitan bearings; how his wartime engagement with Confucian musicology brought about an unlikely dialogue between Chinese cultural ontology and Japanese pan- Asianism; and most important, how his lyrical vision was occasioned by, and confined to, historical contingency. Throughout his life Jiang Wenye sought for a sound, one that might resonate with both the aboriginal melodies of Mount Ali and the ritual music of the Confucius Temple, both the fantastic cadences of natural Taiwan and the avant-garde rhythms playing in the metropolises of Japan and China.

Keywords: Jiang Wenye; modern Chinese music



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