Musicology

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  • Topic: Folk music, China, Music of China
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  • Published : February 28, 2013
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Name: Kellie Rong
Section Instructor (GSI): Antonette Marilyn Adiova
Musicology 139 (Fall 2011) Paper #1: World Music CD Report

Newly Arranged Chinese Folk Songs is an anthology of Chinese folk music that originated from both Northern and Southern China. Featuring opera singer and concert soloist, Dr. Mei Zhong’s operatic soprano vocals along with young composer, Dr. TingYi Ma’s fusion of modern atonal music and traditional Chinese tunes, the arrangements in this CD bring forward a blend of contemporary and classical ideas; however, in this experiment to combine Western and Eastern ideas, it becomes questionable as to whether the arrangements fully preserved the true style Chinese folk music. Chinese folk music, like much of Western folk music, was passed down from generation to generation (Chinatravel). As these well-known melodies were passed down, they became more elaborated and developed with modern techniques. Depending on the origins of these folk tunes, the structure, style, and contexts in which they were written, vary. Northern Chinese folk music tends to lean more towards an edgy and disjunct style due to their harsh life conditions in the dry, cold winters. Their music exudes the sense of agitation and tension. Often, the intervals of a fourth would be emphasized. In contrast, Southern Chinese folk music convey a much more comfortable lifestyle through its flowing melodic lines that are more lyrical; the intervals of thirds and fifths are more prevalent. Folk music in China is often said to follow a duple meter; however, the same stresses on the weak and strong beats are not always acknowledged (Liang). Heterophony is the most common form of music; thus, if multiple instruments are playing simultaneously, one of them will play slight variations off of the main melodic line. Harmonies only happen on rare occurrences. The Eastern definition of timbre of a voice is more elaborate than that of the Western. In Chinese music, the tonal inflections of...
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