The Formation of Modern Musical Identity in Japan, Korea and China through the Art Song

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This paper argues that the art song genre contributed significantly to the development of musical modernity in East Asia. Set to a poetic text in the vernacular language, and sung solo by a conservatory trained singer, the art song contributed to the formation of a modern musical identity, fulfilling the desire to express Japanese-ness, Korean-ness or Chinese-ness in a genre of western music. East Asia in the early twentieth century experienced colonization by European powers, and the resulting contact introduced many aspects of western music to the region. This was further stimulated by an influx of refugee musicians and of touring world class performers. Intra-regional transculturation of musical practices also occurred. The paper traces the development of the art song and its representative composers in Japan, Korea and China, then discusses commonalities in compositional approaches, and choice of texts. Differences between the songs are shown to be due to political factors of each country, whereby many composers suffered dramatic reversal of status after 1945 or soon after, depending on the context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalNihon Dentoo Ongaku Kenkyuu (Japanese Traditional Music Research)
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2017

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