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Music of Asia

This guide is designed to help get students started on research on the musical traditions of Asian peoples


Use this page to get started or find contextual information for music in China. This page includes information about music in China, prominent Chinese composers, popular music in China, traditional music in China, and Chinese musical instruments.

China is currently made of approximately 92% ethnic Han citizens, but other ethnic groups in the country have their own forms of traditional music. These groups include TibetansUyghursManchusZhuangDaiMongoliansNaxiMiaoWaYi, and Lisu.

In addition to the resources listed on this page, make sure to use the general resources in the Getting Started page as well.

Music of China

Folk, National, and Traditional Chinese Music

Contemporary Chinese Composers and Contemporary Classical Music in China

Douglass Library has access to many scores by Chinese composers. The most prominent include: 

Chinese Instruments

The TENG Guide to the Chinese Orchestra

The TENG Guide to the Chinese Orchestra is a seminal guide to equip composers, scholars and music enthusiasts worldwide with the necessary knowledge to work with Chinese musical instruments. The INSTRUMENTATION section outlines the history, physical attributes and performance techniques of Chinese musical instruments in detail. It also includes practical scoring advice for composers and reference charts for fingerings and chords. The ORCHESTRATION section contains systematic analyses of score excerpts from Chinese orchestra pieces spanning the last 60 years to demonstrate how Chinese musical instruments work together in an orchestra.

Website of the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra

Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra Instrument Demonstrations

The website of the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra provides descriptions and demonstration videos for dozens of instruments in their ensemble.

Popular Music of China

Chinese and Western Musical Encounters

Music and the Chinese State

Traditional Music Scores and Transcriptions

Chinese Opera

East Asian Library

The East Asian Library, located on the second floor of Alexander Library, hosts a large collection of resources in the Chinese vernacular.

The library has a comprehensive set of reference tools in Chinese. Some reference works are also available in Chuang, Miao, and Tibetan.

The library also has an extensive collection of materials relating to Chinese opera.

For more information and research tools in East Asian languages, see the East Asian Library website.

Music score in Chinese number notationMusic scores in the East Asian Library


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