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Politically Influenced Music in Post-Reform China

Li, Jingdi (2014) Politically Influenced Music in Post-Reform China. PhD thesis, University of York.

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This thesis explores the connection between music and politics in post reform China from the point of view of mass communication, and within the fields of politically influenced folk music in Xinjiang, the rapid development of the ‘Chinese Piano Dream’, and the popular music on the central stage of the China Central Television Spring Festival Gala. This is preceded by an introduction to the political, economic and cultural changes since the implementation of the Reform and Opening Up Policy in 1978, which have not only challenged China’s traditional culture but have also altered her self-image and relationship with the outside world. Chinese politicians have realized that communal value and national identity are no longer based only on closed borders and a strong political ideology. Meanwhile, music remains a propaganda tool since the establishment of the Communist Party of China, and continues to serve the mainstream media, interacting with politics to further the Communist agenda and maintain a favourable image of the Party. As a native fieldworker from Xinjiang, I enjoy dual identities and perspectives (‘emic’ and ‘etic’) as insider and outsider to apply to the research of new folk music in Xinjiang: how it is decoded, disseminated and interpreted by its audience, and how it conveys political messages. With China’s rapid economic growth, Western classical music became a new channel of communication between East and West. The renowned pianist Yundi Li is not only a household name but is moreover a symbol of the response to President Xi Jin-ping’s call to the nation to chase the ‘Chinese Dream’ and he also represents China’s ‘soft power’ internationally. My fieldwork with Yundi stemmed from the largest music tour in Chinese history, entitled ‘China Piano Dream’ (2013), and the ‘Emperor - Fantasy’ tour (2014), which gave me a unique insight into how Chinese musicians negotiate the political and social expectations placed on them. Finally, a new crossover resulting from collaborations between well-known musicians from Mainland China and Taiwan has had a significant impact on the most viewed television programme in the world: the China Central Television Spring Festival Gala. Mass communication models, audience reception and a semiotic approach to the analysis of musical extracts are applied to interpret the political meaning of the performance.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: China Opening up policy folk music Xinjiang Pianist Central Television CCTV
Academic Units: The University of York > Music (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.684995
Depositing User: Miss Jingdi Li
Date Deposited: 11 May 2016 08:52
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:34
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/12912

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