Chinese instruments and the creation of a national music

The next time you hear a performance of “traditional” music, consider that the “Chinese” sounds in your ear, like the borders of the modern People’s Republic, are scarcely a century old. Often they are much newer; yet they are propagated and presented as traditional. This occurs through the musical equivalent of a military occupation: government oversight of music schools, venues, broadcasting, the recording industry, and other prominent incubators and outlets of cultural activity.

The guqin

The guqin is perhaps the most Chinese of all instruments.

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