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The emergence of the Chinese zheng : traditional context, contemporary evolution, and cultural identity Han, Mei 2013

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The Emergence of the Chinese Zheng: Traditional Context, Contemporary Evolution, and Cultural Identity by Mei Han M.A., The University of British Columbia, 2000 M.A., Music Research Institute of Chinese National Academy, 1995  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in  The Faculty of Graduate Studies (Ethnomusicology) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) May 2013 © Mei Han, 2013  ABSTRACT The zheng is a Chinese long zither that was developed from a five-string folk instrument over two thousand years ago to become a concert instrument with approximately twenty million practitioners around the world today. The opposing forces of metamorphosis and continuation have dominated the evolution of the instrument with the most rapid and drastic changes to its conception and practice witnessed in the twentieth century. This dissertation is a musical and cultural study of the zheng’s living tradition from traditional practice to contemporary evolution, with an emphasis on the transformation of its musical and cultural identity. The studied areas include composition, dissemination, performance technique, and aesthetics. These discussions reveal an underlying ancient Chinese aesthetic principle drawn from both Confucian and Taoist philosophies that applies to all developmental periods of the zheng––the relationship between sheng (generated sound) and yin (cultivated sound). In addition to being a researcher, the author combines her four-decade long experience of performing and studying the instrument with the voices of four generations of zheng performers and those of Chinese and non-Chinese zheng composers and scholars to reveal the core musical and aesthetic elements of traditional zheng practice. Crucially this includes analyzing contemporary changes in Mainland China and North America since the twentieth century in the context of political influences, Westernization, and globalization. The author argues that the fundamental values of traditional zheng practice are still pertinent to the contemporary development of the instrument.  ii  PREFACE The study that formed the foundation of this dissertation required the approval of the RISe UBC Behavioural Research Ethics Board. The Principal Investigator (PI) was Nathan Hesselink, the Department Approver in the music department was Richard B. Kurth, and the Primary Contact was myself, Mei Han. The study, numbered H09-03060, was deemed to be a behavioural study of minimal risk. The initial approval date for the study was December 1, 2009, and the study required ethics reviews with annual renewals. Study completion occurred September 29, 2012. All photos are property of the author except where credited. All notation examples were transnotated by the author, except where credited. All other figures were produced by the author.  iii  TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract.......................................................................................................................................ii	
   Preface....................................................................................................................................... iii	
   Table	
  of	
  Contents ....................................................................................................................iv	
   List	
  of	
  Figures........................................................................................................................ viii	
   Glossary.................................................................................................................................... xii	
   Acknowledgements.............................................................................................................xxx	
   Dedication ...........................................................................................................................xxxii	
   1	
   INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................1	
   1.1	
   Prelude ...................................................................................................................................... 1	
   1.2	
   Studied	
  Subjects,	
  Personal	
  Background	
  and	
  Perspective,	
  and	
  Research	
   Process ................................................................................................................................................. 7	
   1.2.1	
   Organization	
  of	
  the	
  Chapters...................................................................................................... 7	
   1.2.2	
   Personal	
  Background	
  and	
  Perspective................................................................................... 9	
   1.2.3	
   Research	
  Process	
  and	
  Interviews.......................................................................................... 13	
   1.3	
   Literature	
  Review ................................................................................................................16	
   1.3.1	
   Historical	
  References .................................................................................................................. 17	
   1.3.2	
   Twentieth-­‐Century	
  Zheng	
  Literature................................................................................... 19	
   1.3.2.1	
   Historical	
  Studies...................................................................................................................................20	
   1.3.2.2	
   Studies	
  of	
  the	
  Traditional	
  Zheng.....................................................................................................23	
   1.3.2.3	
   Studies	
  of	
  Contemporary	
  Development ......................................................................................28	
    2	
   THE	
  MUSIC	
  AND	
  CULTURE	
  OF	
  THE	
  TRADITIONAL	
  ZHENG............................... 31	
   2.1	
   Introduction	
  to	
  the	
  Traditional	
  Zheng .........................................................................31	
   2.1.1	
   Shandong	
  Style............................................................................................................................... 33	
   2.1.2	
   Henan	
  Style...................................................................................................................................... 35	
   2.1.3	
   Chaozhou	
  Style............................................................................................................................... 38	
   2.1.4	
   Hakka	
  Style ...................................................................................................................................... 41	
   2.1.5	
   Fujian	
  (Min)	
  Style ......................................................................................................................... 43	
   iv  2.1.6	
   Zhejiang	
  (Wulin)	
  Style ................................................................................................................ 45	
   2.2	
   Compositional	
  Structure	
  of	
  Traditional	
  Zheng	
  Music .............................................48	
   2.2.1	
   Baban	
  Beat-­‐Form	
  and	
  its	
  Variations .................................................................................... 49	
   2.2.2	
   Symmetry	
  and	
  Endnotes ........................................................................................................... 55	
   2.2.3	
   Section ............................................................................................................................................... 58	
   2.3	
   Sheng	
  and	
  Yin:	
  Examining	
  Performance	
  Technique	
  in	
  the	
  Context	
  of	
   Traditional	
  Composition ..............................................................................................................61	
   2.3.1	
   Right-­‐hand	
  Technique:	
  Sound	
  Initiation ............................................................................ 62	
   2.3.2	
   Left-­‐hand	
  Technique:	
  Manipulating	
  Sound ....................................................................... 67	
   2.4	
   Notation	
  and	
  Oral	
  Tradition.............................................................................................77	
   2.4.1	
   Notation	
  and	
  its	
  Function	
  in	
  Traditional	
  Performance	
  Practice .............................. 77	
   2.4.1.1	
   Ersi	
  Notation............................................................................................................................................77	
   2.4.1.2	
   Gongche	
  Notation ..................................................................................................................................80	
    2.4.2	
   Oral	
  Teaching	
  Tradition............................................................................................................. 85	
   2.5	
   Cross-­fertilization	
  of	
  Aesthetic	
  Principles ..................................................................90	
   2.5.1	
   Social	
  Harmony	
  and	
  Self-­‐cultivation .................................................................................... 91	
   2.5.2	
   Performance	
  Aesthetics ............................................................................................................. 93	
   2.5.3	
   Spontaneity	
  and	
  Amateur	
  Spirit............................................................................................. 98	
    3	
   MODERNIZATION,	
  WESTERNIZATION,	
  AND	
  PROFESSIONALIZATION .......101	
   3.1	
   Modernization	
  of	
  Chinese	
  Music	
  from	
  the	
  Late	
  Nineteenth	
  to	
  the	
  Early	
   Twentieth	
  Centuries ................................................................................................................... 102	
   3.1.1	
   Adopting	
  Western	
  Models ......................................................................................................102	
   3.1.2	
   National	
  Music	
  (guoyue)	
  and	
  Instrumental	
  Reform ....................................................105	
   3.1.3	
   Initial	
  Urbanization	
  of	
  the	
  Zheng .........................................................................................108	
   3.2	
   The	
  Institutionalization	
  of	
  the	
  Zheng’s	
  Dissemination........................................ 113	
   3.2.1	
   New	
  Students,	
  Old	
  Tradition..................................................................................................114	
   3.2.2	
   Codifying	
  Scores	
  and	
  Standardizing	
  Performance	
  Fingerings................................121	
   3.2.3	
   Establishing	
  Liupai	
  and	
  Reinventing	
  a	
  Traditional	
  Style...........................................127	
   3.3	
   Innovation	
  and	
  Standardization	
  in	
  Zheng	
  Construction ..................................... 132	
   3.3.1	
   Development	
  of	
  the	
  Twenty-­‐One	
  String	
  Zheng	
  and	
  the	
  Use	
  of	
  Nylon	
  Strings..136	
   3.3.2	
   Creating	
  the	
  Pentatonic	
  Key-­‐Changeable	
  Zheng ...........................................................139	
   3.3.3	
   Diatonic	
  and	
  Chromatic	
  Key-­‐changeable	
  Zheng............................................................143	
    v  3.4	
   The	
  Development	
  of	
  Composition,	
  New	
  Techniques,	
  and	
  the	
  Transformation	
   of	
  Musical	
  Style ............................................................................................................................. 150	
   3.4.1	
   Celebrating	
  the	
  Harvest:	
  A	
  Departure	
  from	
  Traditional	
  Composition .................151	
   3.4.2	
   Battling	
  the	
  Typhoon:	
  A	
  New	
  Model	
  for	
  Zheng	
  Composition ...................................156	
   3.4.3	
   Artistic	
  Expression	
  while	
  Negotiating	
  Politics...............................................................162	
   3.5	
   “Serving	
  the	
  People”—New	
  Performance	
  Contexts............................................... 168	
    4	
   THE	
  MAKING	
  OF	
  THE	
  ZHENG	
  PHENOMENA:	
  CREATING	
  A	
  MODERN	
   IDENTITY ...............................................................................................................................176	
   4.1	
   Development	
  of	
  Performance	
  Techniques............................................................... 178	
   4.1.1	
   Invention	
  of	
  the	
  Fast	
  Fingering	
  Sequence	
  (Kuaisu	
  zhixu) .........................................179	
   4.1.2	
   Extended	
  Techniques	
  for	
  Counterpoint	
  and	
  Unconventional	
  Tones ...................182	
   4.1.3	
   Discourse	
  on	
  the	
  Development	
  of	
  the	
  Techniques.......................................................184	
   4.2	
   New	
  Directions	
  in	
  Composition.................................................................................... 191	
   4.2.1	
   The	
  Blossoming	
  of	
  a	
  Variety	
  of	
  Compositions................................................................191	
   4.2.2	
   Influence	
  of	
  Minoru	
  Miki’s	
  Works .......................................................................................200	
   4.2.3	
   Quest	
  for	
  Virtuosity	
  in	
  Zheng	
  Composition.....................................................................206	
   4.2.4	
   Exploring	
  Western	
  New	
  Music	
  on	
  the	
  Zheng .................................................................214	
   4.3	
   Striving	
  for	
  Virtuosity	
  and	
  Creating	
  a	
  New	
  Legacy ................................................ 219	
   4.3.1	
   Technical	
  Virtuosity	
  in	
  Zheng	
  Performance	
  and	
  Teaching.......................................219	
   4.3.2	
   Visuality	
  in	
  the	
  Zheng’s	
  Performance ................................................................................225	
    5	
   DISCOVERING	
  INDIVIDUAL	
  VOICES	
  WHILE	
  CREATING	
  A	
  GLOBAL	
  MARKET	
   FOR	
  THE	
  ZHENG ..................................................................................................................232	
   5.1	
   Improvisation	
  as	
  a	
  Tool	
  for	
  Zheng	
  Performance	
  and	
  Composition................. 233	
   5.1.1	
   Discovering	
  an	
  Individual	
  Voice	
  through	
  Free	
  Improvisation................................235	
   5.1.2	
   Bluegrass	
  to	
  Redgrass:	
  Reclaiming	
  the	
  Role	
  of	
  the	
  Performer/Composer........240	
   5.2	
   Developing	
  Craft	
  Skills	
  through	
  Exploring	
  New	
  Music......................................... 245	
   5.2.1	
   Revitalization	
  of	
  Traditional	
  Techniques	
  in	
  a	
  New	
  Music	
  Context .......................245	
   5.2.2	
   Assimilating	
  Performance	
  Aesthetics	
  of	
  East	
  Asian	
  Zithers ....................................251	
   5.3	
   Macrocosm	
  through	
  Microcosm .................................................................................. 258	
   5.3.1	
   Heightening	
  Awareness	
  of	
  Sound	
  in	
  Zheng	
  Performance.........................................259	
   5.3.2	
   Embracing	
  a	
  Broader	
  Sound	
  Realm ....................................................................................261	
   5.4	
   Identity	
  and	
  Aesthetics	
  of	
  The	
  Zheng	
  in	
  The	
  Age	
  of	
  Globalization................... 267	
    vi  Bibliography.........................................................................................................................272	
   Historical	
  Sources........................................................................................................................ 272	
   Contemporary	
  Chinese	
  Language	
  Sources.......................................................................... 274	
   Foreign	
  Language	
  Sources ........................................................................................................ 286	
    Appendix	
  A:	
  	
  List	
  of	
  the	
  Most	
  Influential	
  and	
  Prolific	
  Traditional	
  Zheng	
   Musicians	
  Recruited	
  by	
  the	
  Conservatories ..............................................................291	
    vii  LIST OF FIGURES Figure	
  1-­‐1	
  A	
  third-­‐century	
  stone	
  relief	
  of	
  a	
  music	
  ensemble	
  from	
  northeastern	
  China	
  (modern	
   day	
  Shandong	
  province)	
  with	
  a	
  half-­‐tube	
  zither	
  at	
  the	
  centre	
  of	
  the	
  picture	
  (Liu	
  1988:31,	
   photo	
  by	
  permission	
  of	
  the	
  Chinese	
  Music	
  Research	
  Institute). ............................................3	
   Figure	
  1-­‐2	
  A	
  Tang	
  dynasty	
  mural	
  painting	
  of	
  a	
  court	
  ensemble	
  including	
  the	
  zheng	
  (Liu	
  1998:83,	
   photo	
  by	
  permission	
  of	
  the	
  Chinese	
  Music	
  Research	
  Institute). ............................................4	
   Figure	
  2-­‐1	
  Centres	
  for	
  traditional	
  zheng. ......................................................................................32	
   Figure	
  2-­‐2	
  Donglu	
  Yayue	
  Tuan	
  (Refined	
  Music	
  Ensemble	
  of	
  East	
  Shandong)	
  photo	
  taken	
  in	
  1944.	
   Wang	
  Dianyu	
  (middle),	
  Gao	
  Zicheng	
  (second	
  from	
  the	
  right),	
  and	
  Zhao	
  Yuzhai	
  (second	
  from	
   the	
  left,	
  playing	
  the	
  yangqin)	
  (photo	
  in	
  Public	
  Domain).......................................................35	
   Figure	
  2-­‐3	
  A	
  Chaozhou	
  xianshi	
  yue	
  ensemble	
  (photo	
  by	
  permission	
  of	
  A.	
  Thrasher,	
  2006). ........39	
   Figure	
  2-­‐4	
  Baban	
  mother	
  tune. .....................................................................................................51	
   Figure	
  2-­‐5	
  Excerpt	
  from	
  Putian	
  Tongqing	
  (Universal	
  Celebration)................................................52	
   Figure	
  2-­‐6	
  Excerpt	
  from	
  Hangong	
  Qiuyue	
  (Han	
  Palace	
  in	
  the	
  Autumn	
  Moon). ............................54	
   Figure	
  2-­‐7	
  Comparison	
  of	
  the	
  first	
  two	
  phrases	
  of	
  the	
  three	
  sections	
  of	
  Xunfeng	
  Qu	
  (Tune	
  of	
   Warm	
  Breeze),	
  also	
  known	
  as	
  Da	
  Baban	
  (The	
  Great	
  Baban). ..............................................55	
   Figure	
  2-­‐8	
  Phrase	
  structure	
  and	
  endnotes	
  of	
  baban.....................................................................58	
   Figure	
  2-­‐9	
  The	
  “First	
  Great	
  Suite”	
  of	
  the	
  traditional	
  Shandong. ...................................................60	
   Figure	
  2-­‐10	
  Bafa:	
  Eight	
  Fingering	
  Patterns	
  by	
  He	
  Yuzhai	
  (He	
  2008:180),	
  written	
  in	
  gongche	
   notation	
  on	
  the	
  left,	
  and	
  transcribed	
  into	
  cipher	
  notation	
  on	
  the	
  right...............................63	
   Figure	
  2-­‐11	
  Excerpt	
  from	
  Sanshisan	
  Ban	
  (Thirty-­‐three	
  Beats)	
  of	
  Zhejiang	
  zheng. ........................64	
   Figure	
  2-­‐12	
  Basic	
  types	
  of	
  the	
  technique	
  cui.................................................................................66	
   Figure	
  2-­‐13	
  Excerpt	
  of	
  Yejing	
  Luanling	
  (Tinkling	
  Bells	
  in	
  the	
  Still	
  of	
  the	
  Night).............................67	
   Figure	
  2-­‐14	
  Moving	
  tones	
  in	
  Fengbai	
  Cuizhu	
  (Bamboo	
  Swaying	
  in	
  the	
  Wind)..............................71	
   Figure	
  2-­‐15	
  A	
  comparison	
  of	
  different	
  directions	
  of	
  moving	
  tone	
  la	
  in	
  Fengbai	
  Cuizhu	
  (Bamboo	
   Swaying	
  in	
  the	
  Wind). ...........................................................................................................72	
   Figure	
  2-­‐16	
  Comparison	
  of	
  the	
  three	
  main	
  notational	
  systems	
  used	
  for	
  the	
  zheng. ....................74	
   Figure	
  2-­‐17	
  Chaozhou	
  scale	
  and	
  modal	
  system. ...........................................................................74	
   Figure	
  2-­‐18	
  Excerpt	
  of	
  Liuqing	
  Niang	
  (Madam	
  Liuqing),	
  Lin	
  Maogen’s	
  performance	
  score. ........75	
   Figure	
  2-­‐19	
  An	
  ersi	
  score	
  of	
  Liuqing	
  Niang	
  (Madam	
  Liuqing)........................................................79	
    viii  Figure	
  2-­‐20	
  Liuqing	
  Niang	
  comparison	
  of	
  cipher	
  and	
  ersi	
  notation. .............................................80	
   Figure	
  2-­‐21	
  Fengbai	
  Cuizhu	
  (Bamboo	
  Swaying	
  in	
  the	
  Wind)	
  (Cao	
  1954). .....................................82	
   Figure	
  2-­‐22	
  A	
  comparison	
  of	
  cipher	
  and	
  gongche	
  notation	
  of	
  Fengbai	
  Cuizhu.............................83	
   Figure	
  2-­‐23	
  Examples	
  of	
  Hakka	
  variants	
  for	
  gongche	
  notation.....................................................83	
   Figure	
  3-­‐1	
  He	
  Yuzhai	
  (seated	
  behind	
  the	
  zheng)	
  at	
  a	
  performance	
  in	
  Shanghai,	
  1934	
  (photo	
  in	
   Public	
  Domain)....................................................................................................................111	
   Figure	
  3-­‐2	
  Cao	
  Zheng	
  teaching	
  Xiang	
  Sihua	
  in	
  1960	
  (photo	
  by	
  permission	
  of	
  Xiang	
  Sihua). .......117	
   Figure	
  3-­‐3	
  The	
  tanchang	
  group	
  at	
  the	
  Shanghai	
  Conservatory	
  of	
  Music,	
  1962.	
  Left	
  to	
  right:	
  Zhang	
   Yan,	
  Xiang	
  Sihua,	
  Sun	
  Wenyan,	
  Wang	
  Zheng,	
  Fan	
  Shang’e,	
  and	
  Guo	
  Xuejin	
  (photo	
  by	
   permission	
  of	
  Liu	
  Qichao). ..................................................................................................130	
   Figure	
  3-­‐4	
  Twenty-­‐one	
  string	
  “S”	
  shaped	
  Dunhuang	
  zheng........................................................137	
   Figure	
  3-­‐5	
  Comparison	
  of	
  zheng	
  tuning	
  pegs	
  (A:	
  wooden	
  pegs;	
  B:	
  metal	
  pegs). ........................137	
   Figure	
  3-­‐6	
  Model	
  65	
  key-­‐changeable	
  zheng	
  (artistic	
  recreation). ...............................................141	
   Figure	
  3-­‐7	
  21-­‐string	
  Yingkou	
  key-­‐changeable	
  zheng,	
  played	
  by	
  the	
  author................................142	
   Figure	
  3-­‐8	
  Pentatonic	
  21-­‐string	
  pedal	
  zheng	
  (Liu	
  1992:206,	
  photo	
  by	
  permission	
  of	
  the	
  Chinese	
   Music	
  Research	
  Institute). ..................................................................................................143	
   Figure	
  3-­‐9	
  Thirty-­‐six	
  string	
  diatonic	
  key-­‐changeable	
  zheng	
  (Liu	
  1992:204,	
  photo	
  by	
  permission	
  of	
   the	
  Chinese	
  Music	
  Research	
  Institute). ..............................................................................145	
   Figure	
  3-­‐10	
  Diatonic	
  44-­‐string	
  pedal	
  zheng	
  (Suzhou	
  1972,	
  photo	
  by	
  permission	
  of	
  the	
  Chinese	
   Music	
  Research	
  Institute). ..................................................................................................145	
   Figure	
  3-­‐11	
  Butterfly	
  Zheng	
  (Liu	
  1992:208,	
  photo	
  by	
  permission	
  of	
  the	
  Chinese	
  Music	
  Research	
   Institute). ............................................................................................................................146	
   Figure	
  3-­‐12	
  “W”	
  shaped	
  Zheng. ..................................................................................................148	
   Figure	
  3-­‐13	
  The	
  opening	
  section	
  of	
  Celebrating	
  the	
  Harvest,	
  exhibiting	
  the	
  early	
  development	
  of	
   two	
  hands	
  plucking	
  the	
  zheng. ...........................................................................................153	
   Figure	
  3-­‐14	
  Excerpt	
  from	
  Celebrating	
  the	
  Harvest,	
  exhibiting	
  the	
  transformation	
  of	
  glissando	
   from	
  the	
  right	
  hand	
  to	
  the	
  left	
  hand. .................................................................................154	
   Figure	
  3-­‐15	
  Wang	
  Changyuan	
  in	
  1984	
  at	
  Kent	
  State	
  University,	
  Ohio	
  (photo	
  by	
  permission	
  of	
   Gerry	
  Simon).......................................................................................................................157	
   Figure	
  3-­‐16	
  An	
  excerpt	
  from	
  Battling	
  the	
  Typhoon,	
  showing	
  the	
  combined	
  techniques	
  of	
  two	
   fingers	
  rapid	
  plucking	
  and	
  inward	
  strum. ...........................................................................165	
   Figure	
  3-­‐17	
  An	
  excerpt	
  from	
  Waves	
  of	
  Lake	
  Hong......................................................................166	
   ix  Figure	
  3-­‐18	
  An	
  excerpt	
  from	
  The	
  Heroic	
  Sisters	
  From	
  the	
  Grassland. .........................................167	
   Figure	
  3-­‐19	
  The	
  author	
  performing	
  the	
  zheng	
  in	
  Hebei	
  province,	
  1981	
  (photo	
  by	
  permission	
  of	
   Han). ...................................................................................................................................171	
   Figure	
  3-­‐20	
  Liu	
  Weishan	
  performing	
  at	
  Qingtong	
  Xia	
  Reservoir	
  (photo	
  by	
  permission	
  of	
  Liu)...172	
   Figure	
  4-­‐1	
  Fingering	
  combinations	
  of	
  kuaisu	
  zhixu:	
  1)	
  the	
  thumb,	
  2)	
  the	
  first	
  finger,	
  3)	
  the	
  middle	
   finger,	
  4)	
  the	
  fourth	
  finger,	
  and	
  5)	
  the	
  small	
  finger............................................................180	
   Figure	
  4-­‐2	
  An	
  excerpt	
  from	
  Dahu	
  Shangshan	
  showing	
  kuaisu	
  zhixu	
  fingering............................182	
   Figure	
  4-­‐3	
  A	
  four-­‐part	
  melody	
  played	
  with	
  two	
  hands. ..............................................................183	
   Figure	
  4-­‐4	
  An	
  Excerpt	
  from	
  the	
  first	
  section	
  of	
  Qinsang	
  Qu	
  (Melody	
  of	
  Remembrance)	
  (C	
  and	
  G	
   are	
  neutral	
  tones	
  played	
  as	
  moving	
  tones). .......................................................................192	
   Figure	
  4-­‐5	
  The	
  yanyue	
  scale	
  of	
  banquet	
  music	
  of	
  the	
  Tang	
  court...............................................193	
   Figure	
  4-­‐6	
  An	
  excerpt	
  from	
  the	
  first	
  section	
  of	
  Drums	
  Resound	
  on	
  Incense	
  Mountain,	
  which	
  is	
   written	
  in	
  D	
  shang	
  (re)	
  mode	
  of	
  the	
  yanyue	
  scale..............................................................193	
   Figure	
  4-­‐7	
  Zhang	
  Yan	
  playing	
  the	
  double	
  zheng	
  in	
  the	
  early	
  1980s	
  (photo	
  by	
  permission	
  of	
  Liu	
   Qichao). ..............................................................................................................................197	
   Figure	
  4-­‐8	
  The	
  tones	
  used	
  in	
  Maqam,	
  Prelude	
  and	
  Dance;	
  there	
  are	
  four	
  octaves	
  of	
  this	
   particular	
  scale	
  on	
  the	
  21-­‐string	
  zheng	
  (D-­‐d2). ...................................................................198	
   Figure	
  4-­‐9	
  An	
  excerpt	
  from	
  “vigorous	
  dance,”	
  the	
  third	
  section	
  of	
  Maqam,	
  Scattered	
  Prelude	
  and	
   Dance,	
  demonstrating	
  rhythmic	
  patterns	
  of	
  a	
  Uyghur	
  dance. ...........................................199	
   Figure	
  4-­‐10	
  Traditional	
  hirajoshi	
  tuning	
  for	
  koto. .......................................................................201	
   Figure	
  4-­‐11	
  The	
  tuning	
  for	
  Greening. ..........................................................................................202	
   Figure	
  4-­‐12	
  The	
  compositional	
  structure	
  of	
  Greening. ...............................................................202	
   Figure	
  4-­‐13	
  An	
  excerpt	
  from	
  Greening	
  (hand-­‐written	
  score	
  by	
  the	
  composer	
  given	
  to	
  the	
  author	
   as	
  a	
  private	
  gift). .................................................................................................................204	
   Figure	
  4-­‐14	
  The	
  author	
  with	
  Minoru	
  Miki	
  in	
  2003. .....................................................................205	
   Figure	
  4-­‐15	
  The	
  tuning	
  of	
  the	
  zheng	
  for	
  Fantasia. ......................................................................207	
   Figure	
  4-­‐16	
  Introduction	
  of	
  Fantasia	
  demonstrating	
  changes	
  of	
  harmonic	
  tone	
  colour. ...........207	
   Figure	
  4-­‐17	
  Modulations	
  in	
  the	
  compositional	
  structure	
  of	
  the	
  Fantasia...................................208	
   Figure	
  4-­‐18	
  The	
  main	
  theme	
  of	
  Fantasia,	
  demonstrating	
  its	
  symmetrical	
  form.........................209	
   Figure	
  4-­‐19	
  Composer	
  Xu	
  Xiaolin	
  (photo	
  by	
  permission	
  of	
  Xu)...................................................210	
   Figure	
  4-­‐20	
  The	
  zheng	
  tuning	
  for	
  Mountain	
  Goddess,	
  with	
  tritones	
  indicated...........................212	
    x  Figure	
  4-­‐21	
  The	
  opening	
  section	
  of	
  Mountain	
  Goddess.	
  The	
  four	
  symbols	
  at	
  the	
  end	
  of	
  the	
  score	
   indicate:	
  1)	
  strum	
  downward,	
  2)	
  strum	
  upward,	
  3)	
  both	
  hands	
  play	
  glissando	
  on	
  the	
   untuned	
  left	
  side	
  of	
  the	
  bridges	
  in	
  opposite	
  directions,	
  and	
  4)	
  hit	
  the	
  bottom	
  of	
  the	
  sound	
   box	
  with	
  the	
  left	
  hand. .......................................................................................................214	
   Figure	
  4-­‐22	
  The	
  multiple-­‐tuning	
  zheng. ......................................................................................217	
   Figure	
  4-­‐23	
  The	
  tuning	
  for	
  Rhapsody	
  of	
  Red	
  River. .....................................................................217	
   Figure	
  4-­‐24	
  Excerpt	
  from	
  Rhapsody	
  of	
  Red	
  River. .......................................................................218	
   Figure	
  4-­‐25	
  Zheng	
  performances	
  at	
  the	
  First	
  Beijing	
  International	
  Guzheng	
  Festival	
  (photo	
  by	
   permission	
  of	
  Beijing	
  International	
  Guzheng	
  Festival	
  Committee). ...................................228	
   Figure	
  4-­‐26	
  An	
  event	
  claiming	
  a	
  new	
  Guinness	
  World	
  Record	
  for	
  having	
  the	
  most	
  zheng	
  players	
   on	
  stage,	
  2007	
  (photo	
  by	
  permission	
  of	
  Xie	
  Jiangbo). ........................................................230	
   Figure	
  4-­‐27	
  Dress	
  rehearsal	
  of	
  the	
  opening	
  performing	
  at	
  the	
  First	
  Beijing	
  International	
  Guzheng	
   Festival,	
  2010	
  (photo	
  by	
  permission	
  of	
  Deng	
  Ying). ...........................................................231	
   Figure	
  5-­‐1	
  Red	
  Chamber	
  at	
  the	
  Concertgebouw	
  in	
  Amsterdam,	
  2008	
  (photo	
  by	
  permission	
  of	
   Frank	
  Kouwenhoven)..........................................................................................................241	
   Figure	
  5-­‐2	
  Red	
  Chamber	
  and	
  the	
  Jaybirds,	
  Vancouver	
  2008	
  (photo	
  by	
  permission	
  of	
  Katie	
  Yu).242	
   Figure	
  5-­‐3	
  Cynthia	
  Hiebert	
  and	
  Mei	
  Han	
  performing	
  Janet	
  Danielson’s	
  Enchanted	
  Glass	
  for	
  zheng	
   and	
  harpsichord..................................................................................................................248	
   Figure	
  5-­‐4	
  The	
  album	
  cover	
  of	
  Stringing	
  Echoes	
  (photo	
  by	
  permission	
  of	
  Deng). ......................250	
   Figure	
  5-­‐5	
  Phương	
  Bảo	
  playing	
  the	
  Vietnamese	
  dan	
  tranh	
  (photo	
  by	
  permission	
  of	
  Phương). ..252	
   Figure	
  5-­‐6	
  The	
  author	
  taking	
  a	
  koto	
  lesson	
  with	
  Sawai	
  Kazue	
  in	
  2001........................................255	
   	
    xi  GLOSSARY A an (a left-hand technique for depressing a string on the zheng) B baban (a traditional Chinese compositional form, often referred to as a “mother tune”) Baban Mingyuan (an eighteenth-century text on baban) babantou (literally “baban head,” the first few phrases of baban) babanwei (literally “baban tail,” the last few phrases of baban) Bafa (eight combinations of traditional zheng fingering techniques) Bagua (the eight trigrams of the Yi Jing) Bapu Mingyuan (an eighteenth-century text discussing eight pieces created from baban) Bai Chengren (twentieth-century composer) Bai Juyi (Tang dynasty poet) Baihu qifang, Tuichen chuxin (“Let a hundred flowers bloom and create the new through the evolution of the old,” quotation from Mao Zedong, 1951) Baihua Zhengyan (Hundred Flowers Blooming, a 1976 documentary film) ban (wooden clapper, emphasized beat, or section) bantou qu (Henan instrumental music genre) bayin (an ancient Chinese instrumental categorization) Beijing Dianying Zhipian Chang (a Chinese film factory) beipai (Northern zheng style) beiqu (Yuan dynasty vocal genre) biangong (a semitone lower than a tonic) Bianliang (capital of the Northern Song dynasty) bianzhi (a semitone lower than the fifth) bianzou (variation) biaoyan (performance, performing) Bo Ya (a character in a famous musical story) C Cai (a qin aesthetic of brilliance) caifeng (academic activity focusing on collecting folk tunes) Cai Zhongde (musicologist) Cao Dongfu (traditional Henan zheng performer) Cao Zhi (Han dynasty poet) Cao Zheng (traditional zheng performer and scholar) xii  Caoyuan Yingxiong Xiao Jiemei (twentieth-century composition for film) Chang Jing (zheng performer) Chang Xiangsi (twentieth-century zheng composition) Chaomei Yinyue She (Hakka music club formed in 1930) Chaoju (Chaozhou opera) Chaozhou (region in Guangdong province, a regional zheng style) Chen Anhua (traditional Chaozhou zheng performer) Chen Hong (early twentieth century Chinese scholar) Chen Kangshi (Tang dynasty author) Chen Leishi (twentieth-century zheng performer and scholar) Chen Maojin (traditional Fujian zheng performer) Chen Xingyuan Hefan (traditional zheng composition) Chen Xingyuan Luoyuan (traditional zheng composition) Chen Yi (Chinese/American composer) Chen Youzhang (traditional Fujian zheng performer) cheng (continuation) Cheng Gongliang (scholar and performer of the qin and zheng) Chu (a kingdom in ancient China) Chushui Lian (traditional Hakka zheng composition) chuantong (tradition, traditional) cipai (poetic form) cui (tempo marking in Tang banquet music, a technique for variation in Chaozhou zheng) D da (zheng fingering technique for plucking outward with the thumb) Da baban (traditional zheng composition) dadiao (a collective term for all the Hakka compositions written on the baban form) dadiao quzi (a collective term for all the Henan compositions written on the baban form) Dahu Shangshan (twentieth-century composition within one of the eight Revolutionary model operas) da pipan (mass criticism in the Cultural Revolution) Dapu (region in Guangdong province) daqu (Tang dynasty music genre) Datong Yuehui (twentieth-century music organization) daxing xiaofu, zhongfa qingsui , (a poetic description of zheng fingering) dayin xisheng (the Taoist phrase of “Great music has no sound”) Dai Chuang (instrument maker from Shanghai) xiii  dan baban (a composition on the baban form) dancui (a Chaozhou fingering variation) danqu (a Han dynasty instrumental genre) Daode Jing (Lao Zi’s treatise on Taoism) Daode Xueshe (school in Beijing) di (Chinese transverse flute) dian (a zheng fingering technique that momentarily alters the pitch of a string) dian tan (a zheng fingering technique alternating between the index finger of both hands) diao (key, mode, tonic, scale) dieshizheng (butterfly zheng) Deng Haiqiong (zheng performer) Dengzhou (a city in Henan Province) Dong Bei Luxun Yishu Xueyuan (former art school in northeast China) donglu yayue tuan (Shandong traditional ensemble) Dongshan (a county in Fujian province) Dongting Xinge (twentieth-century zheng composition) Dongzu Wuqu (twentieth-century zheng composition) dui (one of the eight trigrams of the Yi Jing) duilian (calligraphy on either side of a traditional Chinese doorway) dunhuang (a stop on the silk road famous for cave murals; a commercial brand of zheng made in Shanghai) duosheng zheng (the multiple-tuning zheng) E erban (the fourth section of the Shandong First Great Suite) erbian (two additional pitches to a pentatonic scale) erhu (a Chinese two-string stick fiddle) ersi pu (a traditional Chaozhou notational system) erxian (a Chaozhou two-string fiddle) F Fan Shang’e (zheng performer) fanxian (a Hakka mode) Fan Zuyin (musicologist) fangmanjiahua (a compositional method to slow down and add flowers) fangtang yuewu (twentieth-century song and dance composition) Fei Shi (early twentieth-century scholar) Fenhonglian Zhugongdiao (traditional Chaozhou zheng composition) Fengbai Cuizhu (traditional Shandong zheng composition) xiv  Fengsu Tongyi (Han dynasty book of records) Fengxiang Ge Bianzou Qu (traditional Shandong zheng composition) fengyun (inner gracefulness) Fujian (province in southern China) Fu Xuan (Han dynasty poet) G gaige (to reform, a reform) gaige kaifang (to open the door and reform) gailiang (to improve) Gaoshan Liushui (traditional zheng composition) Gaoyang (region in Henan province) Gao Zherui (traditional zheng performer) Gao Zicheng (traditional zheng performer) geming hua (Communist term for revolutionization) gen (one of the eight trigrams of the Yi Jing) gong (tonic or first pitch of a scale) gongche pu (a traditional notation system) Gongche Shangshu (Qing dynasty petition for reform) Gongsun Nizi (Han dynasty author of the Yue Ji [Book of Music]) gou (zheng fingering technique for middle finger plucking inward) gudai (ancient period) gudian (classical) gudiao (bone tune) Guzheng Jiaocai Bianxuan Zuotan Hui (1961 Forum to standardize the zheng) Guzheng Mihu Quxuan (book of opera tunes) Guzheng Pu ( zheng score book) Guzheng Yanzou Fa (zheng instruction book) guzi ci (Henan narrative genre) guwei jinyong, yangwei zhongyong (“Let the past serve the present, Let foreign things serve China,” quotation from Mao Zedong, 1956) Guan (tubular double reed instrument) Guanzi (ancient Chinese philosopher) Guangling San (traditional qin composition) Guangzhou (one of the five national central cities of China, and capital of Guangdong province) Guixi (a county in Jiangxi province, Southern China) Guoli Yinzhuan (National Conservatory of Music) Guo Ying (traditional Chaozhou zheng performer) Guoyu Zhouyu (earliest Chinese history book) xv  Guoyue (national music) Guoyue Gaijin She (twentieth-century music organization in Beijing) H Haiqing Nahe (traditional composition) Han (the main ethnic group in China) handiao (Hakka music) Hangao Jiupu (Hakka score book) Hangong Qiuyue (traditional Shandong zheng composition) Han Kuo–huang (ethnomusicologist) Han Tinggui (traditional Shandong zheng performer) Hanya Xishui (traditional Chaozhou zheng composition) Hanyue (traditional Hakka music) Hanyue Zhengqu Sishi Shou (Hakka score book) Hangzhou (capital city of Zejiang province) haokan, haoting, haoxue (popular saying about the zheng: “easy on the eyes, easy on the ears, easy to play”) he (unity, unification) he (harmony, harmonious) He Baoquan (zheng performer and educator) He Beibei (zheng performer) he dang (Hakka zheng fingering technique of plucking with middle finger and thumb) Henan (province in northern China) He Yuzhai (traditional Hakka zheng performer) heyue (traditional Fujian ensemble music) He Zhanhao (composer) Hezheren de Chuntian (twentieth-century zheng composition) Honghu Shui (twentieth-century zheng composition) hongmu (a type of padauk wood) Hong Peichen (traditional Chaozhou zheng performer) Hongshuihe Kuangxiang (zheng composition) Hubei (province in southern China) huqin (family of bowed fiddles) hua (flower) hua (zheng fingering technique of bending notes with the left hand) Hua Liuban (traditional composition on the baban form) huazi gongche pu (Shandong zheng notation) Huanxiang Qu (zheng composition) huangzhong (tonic of ancient Chinese equal tempered twelve tone scale) huo sanwu (another term for huowu) xvi  huowu (Chaozhou scale) J Ji Kang (Jin dynasty qin performer and philosopher) Ji Wei (zheng performer and educator) Jiahua (compositional method to add flowers) jian (a qin aesthetic of solidness) jianwu (Tang dynasty dance) jianzi (a compositional method to subtract) Jiangjun Ling (traditional composition) Jiang Qing (Mao Zedong’s wife) Jiang Yinchun (traditional musician) Jiaochuang Yeyü (traditional Hakka zheng composition) jiaofang (Song dynasty music bureau) Jiao Jinhai (zheng performer and educator) Jiaolong Tuzhu (traditional Fujian zheng composition) jie (a phrase of baban) Jin Cuntian (Shanghai Conservatory Party Leader in the 1950s) Jinzhong Jiang (Golden Bell Award—a national instrumental music competition jing (a qin aesthetic of quietness) Jinggang Shanshang Taiyang Hong (zheng composition) Jingmeng Caotang (Qing dynasty publishing house) Jiu Ge (Warring States poem) Jiu Tang Shu (Old Record of the Tang Dynasty) jue (the third pitch in the common Chinese pentatonic scale) jueju (poetry form)  )  K kaxi (a technique used in traditional music to mimic operatic melodies) Kaifeng (a city in Henan province) kan (one of the eight trigrams of the Yi Jing) Kang Mianzong (zheng performer) Kang Youwei (Qing dynasty reformer) kaoda (a term denoting a section in Chaozhou music) kaopai (a term denoting a section in Chaozhou music) Kejia (a Chinese term for Hakka) keju (historic Imperial examination system) kouchuan xinshou (the process of oral teaching) kong (a qin aesthetic of emptiness) Konggu Liushui (twentieth-century composition) Kongque Dongnan Fei (twentieth-century composition) xvii  Kongzi (Confucius) Kongzi Gaizhi Kao (Qing dynasty essay by Kang Youwei) kuyin (neutral seventh, “crying tone”) kuyin (neutral seventh, “bitter tone”) Ku Zhouyu (traditional Henan zheng composition) kuai sidian (traditional Zhejiang fingering technique using thumb and two fingers) Kuaisu zhixu (fast fingering sequence) kun (one of the eight trigrams of the Yi Jing) kunqu (operatic genre) L Lang Lang (pianist) lao baban (traditional tune and compositional form) lao liuban (traditional tune and compositional form) Laozi (Taoist philosopher) leiqin (two -string Shandong stick fiddle) li (one of the eight trigrams of the Yi Jing) li (Confucian concept of societal hierarchy) Li Bai (Tang dynasty poet) Li Chen (xiao performer) Li Han (zheng performer and educator) Li Huanzhi (twentieth-century composer) Li Jiating (traditional Chaozhou zheng performer) Li Ling (twentieth-century music critic) Li Mei (ethnomusicologist and composer) Li Meng (zheng performer and educator) Li Si (Warring States official) Li Si Liezhuan (biography of Li Si written in Han dynasty) Lisao (Warring States poem, qin composition) Li Tai’an (Yinkou zheng maker) Li Wei (zheng performer) Li Xi’an (ethnomusicologist) Li Zhi (Ming dynasty philosopher and historian) Lianhua Yao (zheng composition) lian taoqu (a set of compositions) liang (a qin aesthetic of brightness) Liang Ming-yüe (ethnomusicologist) Liang Tsai-ping (twentieth-century zheng performer and educator) Lin’an Yihen (zheng composition) Lin Chong Yeben (traditional zheng composition) xviii  Lin Maogen (traditional Chaozhou zheng performer) Lin Yongzhi (traditional Chaozhou zheng performer) liu (a qin aesthetic of fluidity) Liuban (six beats) Liu Dehai (contemporary pipa performer) liupai (style, branch, school) Liuqing Niang (traditional Chaozhou zheng composition) Liu Shikun (pianist) Liu Weishan (zheng performer and educator) Liuyang He (twentieth-century zheng composition) Liu Zhuang (twenty-century composer) Lou Shuhua (twentieth-century zheng performer and composer) luyin luxiang xiaozu (audio and video recording unit for Mao Zedong, 1975) lun (pipa fingering technique of a roll) luohou (backward) Luo Huiwen (Luo Jiuxiang’s granddaughter) Luo Jiuxiang (traditional Hakka zheng performer) Lü Ji (twentieth-century musicologist and music critic) Lü Jin (zheng and kayakŭm performer) Lülü Zhengyi (Ming dynasty text on music theory) lüshi (poetry form) M Mawang Dui (an archaeological site in Hunan, Southern China) Mao Zedong (Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party) Meizhou (region in Guandong province) mihu (Shaanxi operatic genre) Miluo Jiang Huanxiang Qu (twentieth-century zheng composition) min (historic term for Fujian province) Min Huifen (erhu performer and educator) minjian (folk) minyue (national music) minzuhua (Communist term for nationalization) Ming (Chinese dynasty from 1368-1644) Mukamu Sanxu yu Wuqu (twentieth-century zheng composition) muqu (mother tune) N Nanjing (city in Jiangsu province) nanpai (southern style) xix  nanting (unpleasant sound) Nan Xiang Zi (classical poetry form, composition) Nanyang (city in Henan province) nao (left-hand technique for the qin and zheng for momentary pitch bend) naotai (enliven a stage) Ni Cheng Pu (twentieth-century monograph on the zheng) Nie Er (twentieth-century composer) O Ouyang Xiu (Song dynasty poet) Ouyang Xun (Tang dynasty Confucian scholar and calligrapher) P pai (style, school, branch) Pan Haixin (zheng maker) Pan Haiwei (zheng maker) peng baban (traditional Shandong music genre) pipa (four-string teardrop lute) po (Tang dynasty dance) Pu Shuigang (Qing dynasty novel) Putian Tongqing (traditional Shandong zheng composition) Q Qi (go, a Chinese board game) qi (initiation) Qi Baishi (twentieth-century fine artist) qiyue hua (instrumentalization) qian (one of the eight trigrams of the Yi Jing) Qiangxian (original title for Battling the Typhoon) Qianzhong Fu (twentieth-century zheng composition) qiang (vocal tune) qin (seven-string fretless Chinese zither) Qin (a state from the Warring States period) Qinsang Qu (twentieth-century zheng composition) qinshu (Shandong narrative form) Qinyun (traditional Shandong zheng composition) qinzheng (another term for zheng) qing (a qin aesthetic of lightness) qing (a qin aesthetic of clarity) Qing Feng Nian (twentieth-century zheng composition) qing san (Chaozhou scale of light three) xx  qing sanliu (Chaozhou scale of light three six) qingsan zhongliu (Chaozhou scale of light three heavy six) qingshang (Tang dynasty banquet music scale) qingshang yue (a section of Tang banquet music) Qingting Dianshui (traditional Fujian zheng composition) Qingtong xia (Bronze Gorge in northwest China, site of a hydroelectric dam) qingyue (traditional Hakka instrumental genre) qingyun (feeling or emotional tone) Qing Zhu (composer and music educator) Qiu Dacheng (twentieth-century zheng performer and scholar) Qiu Ji (zheng performer and educator) Qulü (Ming dynasty vocal instruction book) qupai (named tunes) Qu Xiaosong (composer) Qu Yuan (Warring States poet) Qu Yun (zheng performer and educator) qunzhonghua (Communist term for massifying) R Rao Ningxin (traditional Hakka zheng performer) Renmin Yinyue Chuban She (People’s Music Publishing House) Rong Zhai (Qing dynasty court musician) rou (portamento) rujia yue (Hakka concept of refined music) ruan (four string round bodied lute) ruan wu (Tang dynasty dance form) ruan xian (Hakka scale) S sanban (the third section of the Shandong First Great Suite) San Chuan (a zheng trio based in Beijing) sanfen sunyi fa (a system for temperament calculation) sanqu (Yuan dynasty vocal genre) Sanshi anban (traditional Zhejiang composition) sanxian (three-string fretless rebab) sao (strum) shao (small) se (ancient long zither) Shaanxi (province in central western China) Shancun Laile Shouhuo Yun (twenty-century composition for Chinese sona) xxi  Shandong (province in northern China) Shandong Yuequ Chaoben Erce (Two Copies of Shandong Zheng Music from the Qing dynasty) Shandong Zhengqu Zhenchao Ben (Shandong zheng score book) Shan Gui (Warring States poem) shankou (large bridge on the right side of the zheng) Shan Mei (zheng composition) shang (second tone of a Chinese pentatonic scale) Shanghai (one of the five national central cities of China) Shangqiu (region in Henan province) Shao Guangchen (twentiethcentury composer) Shenqi Mipu (Ming dynasty qin score book) Shenyang (capital city of Liaoning province) Shen Yue (fifth-century poet) Shenzong (Ming dynasty Emperor) sheng (bamboo mouth organ) sheng (sound) shengduo yunshao (more sound, less yun) shengqianghua (vocalization) shengshao yunduo (less sound, more yun) shengyin (sound) shi datao (ten baban suites) shidai jingshen (Communist concept of the “spirit of the time”) Shiji (Han dynasty history book) Shiliu Ban (traditional zheng composition on a baban form) Shimian Maifu (traditional pipa composition) Shi Shu (historical records written for every dynasty throughout the Chinese imperial period) Shi Yinmei (traditional Henan zheng performer) Shi Zhaoyuan (zheng performer and educator) Shuyun (Shandong zheng composition) Shuangban (traditional Shandong composition) shuangcui (Chaozhou technique to rearticulate a given note three times) shuangdie cui (Chaozhou technique to rearticulate a given note seven times) shuangqing (four-string Fujian long neck lute) Shuowen Jiezi (Han dynasty Chinese dictionary) sijiu (Communist concept of the “four olds”: old ideas, old culture, old customs, and old habits) Shuo Lue (Ming dynasty encyclopedia) siban (the fourth section of the Shandong First Great Suite) xxii  sidian (“four points,” a fingering technique alternating the thumb and first two fingers) Sihe Ruyi (traditional Zhejiang composition) Siku Quanshu (Complete Library of the Four Treasuries, 1782) siping bawen (Chinese idiom for stability “f our being even and eight being stable”) sixian (Hakka zheng genre) sixiang luohou (politically backward) Song (Chinese dynasty from 960-1279) su (euphonic quality) Su Wenxian (Chaozhou zheng performer) suzi (folk music notation) Sui (Chinese dynasty from 581-618) Suiping (a county in Henan province) Sui Shu (Record of the Sui dynasty) Sun Wenyan (zheng performer and educator) T tai (low or large, often referring to drum sounds) tanchang (narrative song genre) Tan Dun (composer) Tan Gu Luan (traditional Fujian zheng composition) tanhuang (Zhejiang narrative form) tanlun (contemporary zheng counterpoint technique of a synchronized pluck and roll) tanyao (contemporary zheng counterpoint technique of a synchronized pluck and tremolo) Tang (Chinese dynasty from 618-906) Tang Biguang (twentieth-century composer) Tang Guocheng (traditional Fujian zheng performer) Tianjin (one of the five national central cities of China) tianyan (traditional compositional method of adding a weak beat) Tianxia Datong Universal Harmony, an album of zheng music, the title of a zheng composition in baban form) Tianxia Tong (the title of a zheng composition in baban form) tianzi (Hakka term meaning “to add”) Tongdian (Encyclopedic History of Institutions, 801) touban (the first section of the Shandong First Great Suite) W waijiang xian (a term for Hakka music) xxiii  wanke (a Zhejiang and Jiangsu term for a casual meeting of musicians to play together) wanyou (a Shandong and Henan term for a casual meeting of musicians to play together) wanwan qiang (a regional operatic genre in central Shaan xi province) Wang Changyuan (zheng composer and performer) Wang Dianyu (traditional Shandong zheng performer) Wang Guangqi (musicologist) Wang Jide (Ming dynasty music scholar) Wang Jianmin (composer) Wang Leyong (traditional Shandong zheng performer) Wang Li (zheng performer) Wang Shengwu (traditional Henan zheng performer) Wang Shu (twentieth-century composer) Wang Xunzhi (traditional Zhejiang zheng performer) Wang Yingrui (ethnomusicologist) Wang Yun (zheng performer and educator) Wang Zhongshan (zheng composer and performer) Wei Hongning (zheng maker) Wei Zhongle (twentieth-century pipa performer) Wei Ziyou (traditional Henan zheng performer) Wenhua Jiang (a notional instrumental music competition ) Wenji Guihan (Beijing Opera piece) Wenxian Tongkao (A Comprehensive Investigation of Documents and Traditions, 1307) Wenyi Jiemu (Art Program, a special score collection compiled during the Cultural Revolution) Wu Fei (zheng performer) Wulin (another term for Zhejiang) wuqu (“martial” section of traditional pipa repertoire) wuqu (dance music) wutong (type of wood for making instruments) Wuyi Pinglan (Fujian traditional zheng composition) Wu Yingju (composer) Wu Xi (city in Jiangsu province) Wu Zuqiang (composer) X Xi’an (capital of Shaanxi province) Xi’an guyue (Xi’an drum music) Xibu Suixiang (twentieth-century zheng composition) xxiv  xiqin (Shandong two-string stick fiddle) Xishan Qinkuang (Aesthetics of the Qin at Xishan Mountain, 1673) xixue (Western knowledge) Xi Yun (twentieth-century zheng composition) xiyue (Chaozhou ensemble music genre) xiandai (contemporary) xianshi yue (Chaozhou ensemble music genre) xiansuo (string ensemble) Xiansuo Beikao (nineteenth-century score book) xiansuo diao (northern narrative singing genre) xiansuo qiang (northern narrative singing genre) Xiansuo Shisantao (nineteenth-century score book) xianghe daqu (Han dynasty song and dance genre) xianghe ge (Han dynasty vocal genre) Xiangshan Shegu (twentieth-century zheng composition) Xiang Sihua (zheng performer) xiao (end-blown bamboo notch flute) xiao (small, tiny) xiaolun (pipa fingering technique of a roll that excludes the thumb) xiao qu (Henan folk music) Xiaotao Hong (traditional Hakka zheng composition) Xiao Youmei (twentieth-century musicologist) Xiaozhao Yuetuan (twentieth-century music society) Xinchao Sizhu Hui (Chaozhou music society in Shanghai) Xinjiang (Uygur autonomous region in western China) Xin Tang Shu (The New Record of the Tang Dynasty, 1060) Xinye (county in Henan province) xing (punishment) Xinghai (Guangzhou music conservatory) Xu Xiaolin (composer) Xu Zhengao (zheng maker) xuanji (to display skill) Xue Qiongqiong (Tang dynasty zheng performer) Xueshan Chunxiao (twentieth-century zheng composition) xuetang yuege (school song) xun (one of the eight trigrams of the Yi Jing) Xunfeng Qu (traditional Hakka zheng composition) Y ya (refined, elegant) xxv  Yashan Ai (traditional Hakka zheng composition) yayue (refined music) ya un (to rhyme) yan (weak beat) Yan’an (the base camp of the Communist Party of China during the anti-Japanese War) Yan Fu (Qing dynasty scientist) yanshi (to interpret) yanyue (Tang Imperial court banquet music) yanzou (to perform) yang (masculine, solid, opposite of yin in the duality of yin-yang) Yangbian Cuima Yunliang Mang (twenty-century composition for Chinese dizi) Yang Guangquan (traditional Chaozhou musician) yang qin (hammered dulcimer) Yang Xiuming (traditional Chaozhou zheng performer) Yang Yinliu (musicologist) yao (zheng fingering technique for tremolo) yaosheng (moving tone) yaoyou (zheng fingering technique for tremolo that moves along the string) Yejing Luanling (traditional Shandong zheng composition) Ye Xiaogang (composer) yi (intention) yiban sanyan (one strong beat, three weak beats) yiban yiyan (one strong beat, one weak beat) Yi Dian Jin (traditional Hakka zheng composition) Yi Jing ([Chinese] Book of Changes) yijing (an idealized place or philosophical state suggested by a poetic title and the programmatic contents of a piece) Yili Hepan (twentieth-century zheng composition) Yi Suzi (eighteenth-century writer) Yiwen Leiju (Collection of Literature Arranged by Categories, 624) Yixiang She (Hakka music society in Shanghai) yiyun busheng (zheng aesthetic of using yun to enrich sound) yizhaoxian (Shandong technical commentary of “one smart move”) yin (music) yin (feminine, fluid, opposite of yang in the duality of yin-yang) yin (zheng fingering technique of light vibrato) Yingkou (city in Liaoning province) yingxian (traditional Hakka scale) xxvi  youyun (the delight of elegant reclusion ) yu (an ancient bamboo mouth organ) yu (the pitch la in the common Chinese pentatonic scale) Yu Huiyong (composer, former Minister of Culture) yuji (self -entertainment) yuren (entertaining others) Yuzhou Changwan (twentieth-century zheng composition) yuan (qin aesthetic of smoothness) Yuan (Chinese dynasty from 1271-1368) yuanban jiahua (compositional method of adding flowers to the original beats) yue (music) Yue’er Gao (traditional composition) Yuefu Shiji (Collection of Lyrics from the Music Bureau, c. 1254) Yuehe minsheng (Confucian saying of “if music is harmonious, people are harmonious”) Yue Ji (Record of Music) Yueju Yuekan (Journal of Musical Theater and Music) yueqin (small round-bodied lute) yueshan (fixed bridge on the right side of the zheng) Yueshu (Treatise on Music, c. 1100) yuetong (Confucian saying of “music unites”) yun (zheng aesthetic of sophistication, refinement, and beauty) yunduo shengshao (zheng aesthetic of more yun, less sound) Yun Qing (traditional composition) Yunxiao (region in Fujian province) Z zaju (Yuan dynasty operatic genre) zaoju (Chaozhou term for variation) Zenghou Yi (Marquis from fifth century BCE) Zeng Zhimin (twentieth-century scholar) zhan (zheng fingering technique for heavy vibrato) Zhan Taifeng (twentieth-century zheng composition) zhantou quwei (compositional method for variation) Zhanyou (comrade, name for a Chinese art troupe) Zhang Guisheng (composer) Zhang Kun (zheng maker) Zhang Xiaofeng (composer) Zhang Yan (twentieth-century zheng performer) Zhang Zelun (scholar) xxvii  Zhang Zhitong (Qing dynasty scholar) Zhang Zirui (zheng maker) Zhao’an (region in Fujian province) Zhaojun Yuan (traditional Hakka zheng composition) Zhao Chun (zheng student) Zhao Manqin (zheng educator) Zhao Yuzhai (traditional Shandong zheng performer) Zhejiang (province in eastern China) zhen (one of the eight trigrams of the Yi Jing) zheng (Chinese long zither) zheng (governance, administration) Zhengfu (Odes to the Zheng) Zhengfu Xu (preface of Odes to the Zheng) Zhenggai Xiaozu (Zheng Reform Unit) zhi (finger) zhi (a pitch on the common Chinese pentatonic scale) Zhiqu Weihushan (Taking the Tiger Mountain by Strategy, one of the eight model operas) Zhong (Confucian aesthetic of equilibrium) zhong (a qin aesthetic of heaviness) Zhongguo Wenlian Chuban She (Chinese Literary Association Publishing House) Zhongguo Yangzhou Guzheng Xueshu Jiaoliu Hui (1986 National Guzheng Conference) Zhongguo Yishu Tuan (Chinese National Art Troupe) Zhongguo Yinyue Gailiang Shuo (Discourse on Chinese Music Reform) zhongliu (Chaozhou scale of heavy six) Zhongyang Gewu Tuan (Central Song and Dance Troupe) zhongxue weiti, xixue weiyong (Qing dynasty initiative of Chinese learning as substance, Western learning for application) Zhongzhou Gudiao (Hakka score book) Zhou Enlai (Chinese Prime Minister) Zhou Ji (twentieth-century ethnomusicologist, composer) Zhou Jiu (ancient Chinese music official) Zhou Long (composer) Zhou Wang (zheng performer and educator) Zhou Yanjia (zheng composer and educator) zhu (ancient five-string bamboo zither) zhuche (Hakka and Chaozhou compositional method to insert re in between two melodic notes) xxviii  zhufuo (Hakka and Chaozhou compositional method to insert a short glissando between two melodic notes) Zhu Lei (zheng performer) zhuliu (Hakka and Chaozhou compositional method to insert sol between two melodic notes) zhuan (deviation) Zi Qi (a character in a famous musical story) zitan (a type of red sandalwood used for making instruments) Zuo Zhuan (Chronicles of Zuo, a Confucian classical text)  xxix  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The writing of this dissertation was a three-year process, but it took me a lifetime to prepare for it, including forty years learning about the instrument and thirty years learning English as my second language. Throughout this long journey I received support and guidance from many teachers, friends, and family members, and I am grateful to all of them. First I would like to express the deepest appreciation for my committee members Dr. Nathan Hesselink, Dr. Michael Tenzer, and Dr. Catherine Swatek. I am deeply indebted to my adviser and committee chair Dr. Nathan Hesselink who has guided me throughout my Ph.D. program with encouragement, insightful knowledge, and thoughtful advice. I also would like to thank him for his constructive feedback and editing. I am grateful to Dr. Michael Tenzer who has always inspired and challenged me with his critical thinking and high standards of scholarship, and to Dr. Catherine Swatek for her support and for being willing to be a member of the committee. I would also like to thank Dr. Jan Walls who selflessly lent his expertise in translating Chinese language into English; Dr. Janette Tilley for her editing, comments, and perspectives; as well as Dr. Fredric Lieberman and Dr. Alan Thrasher, two distinguished scholars of Chinese music, for giving me invaluable advice. I would also like to thank The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada who generously supported my Ph.D. studies. A number of leaders of zheng communities in both Mainland China and in North America provided tremendous support, specifically Shi Zhaoyuan, Zhou Yanjia, Chen Tianhua, Rao Ningxin, Xiang Sihua, Fan Shang’e, Wang Changyuan, Liu Weishan, Liu xxx  Qichao, Li Meng, Wang Zhongshan, Li Wei, Lü Jin, Qiu Ji, Ji Wei, Deng Haiqiong, Wu Fei, He Beibei, and Xiang Mei. Dr. Li Mei and Xu Xiaolin offered candid discussions on many issues addressed in the dissertation that greatly improved the text. And I would like to thank the composers and musicians I have collaborated with, specifically Dr. John Sharpley, Dr. John Oliver, Professor Barry Truax, Jon Jang, and John Reischman. I am forever grateful to my zheng teachers Gao Zicheng, Zhao Yuzhai, and Zhang Yan. Last, but certainly not least, I am deeply indebted to Randy Raine-Reusch who is my mentor and the catalyst who sparked my continuous search for new artistic voices on the zheng and a deeper philosophical connection between my heart and my music. I am also thankful for his intelligence and creativity, his encouragement to share ideas with him, and his tireless support in numerous ways throughout the entire process. I would also like to thank my daughter D’arcy Han for her support and love.  xxxi  DEDICATION  To artistic hearts and inquiring minds  xxxii  1 INTRODUCTION 1.1 Prelude [People in the Qin State] beat clay drums [and] earthen jars, play the zheng, [and] slap their thighs to accompany songs. This is the true music of the Qin.1 (Li Si, 237 BCE) The zheng is a plucked half-tube wooden zither native to Han Chinese. Throughout the two thousand years of its history, the zheng has gone through several transformations in construction, yet the instrument has maintained its fundamental form. Its body is nearly rectangular in shape, with a flat bottom, flat sides, and a convex top soundboard. The strings are stretched over movable bridges across the soundboard and fastened to tuning pegs. Over time the zheng has varied in its size, numbers of strings, shapes of bridges, and materials for making strings and bridges. Today the size of the zheng ranges from 140 to 170 cm long and 25 to 35 cm wide. The soundboard is made of wutong wood (firmiana platanifolia), while the frame of the body uses hongmu (padauks), zitan rosewood, or other types of hardwood. The standard modern zheng employs from 21 to 26 strings, whereas historically 5, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 or 18 strings were used. Strings were made of silk for the majority of the zheng’s history, with copper and steel strings becoming common in the late nineteenth century; modern zheng strings are now commonly made of metal wound with nylon. Zheng bridges are currently constructed of wood or occasionally bone or synthetic material, while historically ivory or jade were also used. 1  This statement is the earliest known description of the zheng, cited from the “Li Si Liezhuan” (Biography of Li Si) in Shiji (Records of the Grand Historian, Sima c. 91 BCE). The state of Qin, located in modern day Shannxi province in central western China, was one of the Warring States (475-221 BCE). 1  The rich history of the zheng encompasses both solo and ensemble genres. With its roots planted in folk music, as illustrated by Li Si’s description, the zheng has extended to a multitude of performance contexts with manifold musical styles while continuously retaining its appeal to diverse social strata. Based upon primary performance function, dissemination, and literature, I divide the zheng’s history into two primary developmental stages: ancient tradition (gudai, the second to fourteenth century), and living tradition, which can be further divided into traditional (chuantong, the eighteenth to mid-twentieth century) and contemporary (xiandai, mid-twentieth century to current day). These stages reflect each period’s social-cultural context and the zheng’s shifting position in styles, genres, and popularity within the various social classes. The zheng became popular during the Han dynasty (206 BCE-221), with the instrument used in various folk and court music activities (see Figure 1.1). It featured most prominently in a small string and wind ensemble to accompany xianghe ge (harmonious song), also known as xianghe daqu (great tunes of harmony), a genre that features singing and dancing. An instrumental repertoire known as danqu, performed by either a solo zheng2 or an ensemble featuring the zheng, was developed from the xianghe daqu (Guo c. 1264). By the second century the solo zheng had become a popular form of entertainment as well as a tool for self-cultivation for the literati; as the great poet Cao Zhi (192-232) writes: “Playing the zheng, strive for tranquil tones; fresh sounds, marvelous as the divine.”  2  The Yuefu Shiji (Collection of Lyrics from the Music Bureau, Guo c.1264) listed seven danqu pieces as both ensemble works as well as solo works for the zheng, the qin (seven-string zither), the zhu (five-string struck zither), and the sheng (bamboo mouth organ). 2  Figure 1-1 A third-century stone relief of a music ensemble from northeastern China (modern day Shandong province) with a half-tube zither at the centre of the picture (Liu 1988:31, photo by permission of the Chinese Music Research Institute).  In the following Sui, Tang, and Song (581-1279) dynasties—the height of the Chinese imperial era—solo zheng performance flourished and the performance techniques and compositions of the zheng became very sophisticated (Duan c. 890). There were two types of zheng popular at the time found in professional court ensembles performing yanyue: banquet music and other non-ritual court activities3 (see Figure 1.2). A twelve-string zheng was utilized in performing the qingshang yue (pure music) section of yanyue that featured older Han Chinese music. The more popular thirteen-string zheng was used in the non-Han sections of yanyue and other musical genres (Chen c. 1100).  3  Yanyue refers to the banquet music performed at the imperial court established as early as the Zhou dynasty (1046-256 BCE). During the Tang dynasty, yanyue became a general term to include banquet music and all non-ritual music performed at the imperial court. The most promienent yanque of the time was banquet music divided into nine (later ten) sections. While the qingshang yue section of yanque was Han Chinese music inherited from previous dynasties, the other sections were comprised of foreign musics, including those from Persia, Central Asia, and Korea. 3  During this period, women––whether court musicians, courtesans, or members of noble families––often played the zheng, establishing it as a symbol of beauty and romantic sentiments.  Figure 1-2 A Tang dynasty mural painting of a court ensemble including the zheng (Liu 1998:83, photo by permission of the Chinese Music Research Institute).  Court music, and especially banquet music, gradually lost its position as the main source for entertainment over the next two hundred years as China went through a series of major political and cultural shifts with the change of dynasties. The Ming dynasty (1368-1644) then saw the total demise of banquet music, and only sporadic performances of court music continued with the zheng taking a minor role, if included at all.  4  Although largely unacknowledged in the literature, the zheng was combined with other string instruments in the xiansuo (string) ensemble4 to accompany various beiqu (northern tune) vocal genres, including zaju (operatic plays on various subjects) and sanqu (literary songs), both developed during the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368) (Zhongguo 1985:22).5 Over the next several hundred years, a new type of narrative singing genre, named xiansuo diao or xiansuo qiang (string tune), was developed in Henan and Shandong provinces of northern China (Zhang 1993:28) where two northern traditional zheng styles were later established.6 These developments marked a significant transition of the zheng, which saw its function shift from its previous role as a prestigious and elegant instrument primarily serving the imperial court to an accompaniment to popular art forms for common people. This change in identity and social status of its practitioners led the instrument to its second stage of development, which I refer to as its traditional period. The musical elements of these opera and narrative singing genres later became the fundamentals for traditional zheng music, delineating its general concepts of composition and creation, as well as the development of styles and techniques. In the traditional period the zheng was most prominent in rural areas of northern and southern China as a lead instrument in small ensembles performing instrumental 4  The term xiansuo first appeared in the Song dynasty, referring to plucked string instruments. Later it became the general term for string ensembles accompanying dramatic genres developed in Northern China. These ensembles commonly included the zheng, pipa (four-string pear shaped lute), sanxian (three-string fretless rebab), and huqin (two-string fiddle) (Yang 1981:629). 5 Lyrics mentioning the zheng are found in sanqu repertoire, such as “There is a fine xiao (endblown bamboo flute), but don’t know how to blow it; there is a lovely zheng, but don’t know how to play it”; and a woman is “…good at playing the zheng to accompany vocal. Very few can compete with her” (Zhang 1993:16, translated from the Chinese). 6 A number of earlier sources cited by Zhang Zelun stated that xiaosuo qiang was also known as “woman’s tune,” because it was often sung by female entertainers who accompanied themselves on xiansou instruments (Zhang 1993:29, translated from the Chinese). These sources suggest that xiansuo diao has a possible link to the earlier practice of solo female performances of the zheng in earlier dynasties. 5  music, and as accompaniment to narrative singing genres. This period saw a wealth of repertoire formed through a collective compositional process based on the baban mother tune, to be discussed later. This repertoire became the foundation for the zheng’s next developmental period. The contemporary period commenced with the demise of the imperial era in China in the early twentieth century, while a subsequent series of dynamic political and cultural revolutions once again transformed the zheng. Specifically, in the latter half of the twentieth century the zheng underwent its most condensed period of modification and development, affecting its physical construction, repertoire, performance practice, social function, and dissemination. Socio-cultural upheavals such as absorption of Western influences, the Cultural Revolution, and rapid economic growth not only greatly challenged zheng tradition, but also propelled the instrument well into the twenty-first century as a prominent national instrument with a unified pedagogy. Today the zheng has become one of the most—if not the most—popular Chinese instruments with an estimated twenty million practitioners in China and around the globe. With this considerable history and significant transformation occurring in the twentieth century, I ask a number of important questions about the zheng and its contemporary modernization: 1) In its change and transformation over the centuries, is there a core identity and a governing aesthetic remaining?; 2) If so, what aspect of the zheng’s identity has changed?; and 3) What are the influences or stresses that impel the changes? These questions will form the substance of this dissertation.  6  1.2 Studied Subjects, Personal Background and Perspective, and Research Process  This dissertation is a musical and cultural study of the living tradition of the zheng, its traditional practice, contemporary evolution, and musical and cultural identity, with an emphasis on its contemporary transformation since the twentieth century. I use the term “traditional zheng” to refer to the music developed in several rural regions in China before the twentieth century. In zheng literature this developmental stage is often referred to as folk (minjian) music, primarily due to its practices of auraloral transmission and collective composition. However, research has shown many innerconnections between “folk” and “court” practice. Therefore, labeling traditional practice as “folk” would be incorrect and overwrite important continuities. In addition, these regional genres are living traditions, which are still vibrant in certain areas outside the metropolitan centres in which the “contemporary” zheng has been established. For these reasons, I identify zheng music prevalent in the rural regions as traditional instead of folk. I use the term “contemporary” to define music developed since the twentieth century, composed by individual composers and performed by professionally trained musicians and zheng students.  1.2.1  Organization of the Chapters The issue of identity change is at the heart of the contemporization of the zheng.  While metamorphosis and continuation have been two conflicting yet coinciding features dominating its evolution, the twentieth century has witnessed the most rapid and drastic  7  transformations of all. Composition, performance techniques, dissemination, and performance aesthetics comprise four aspects in which the most significant changes have occurred, affecting the music and cultural identity of the instrument. These subjects are examined in the context of social and cultural changes that demonstrate the continuum and transformations of the zheng from its traditional era to contemporary practice. Each of these subjects could support its own dissertation or in-depth study but I attempt a more synthetic and comprehensive approach. It is my observation that even with the rapid growth of an indigenous body of zheng literature in recent years providing a wealth of new information, Chinese studies primarily recount what happened. A lack of critical perspective leaves many questions remaining as to how and why. Rapid modernization and Westernization in the last hundred years has brought the zheng to a new milestone as a versatile concert instrument; now it is facing new challenges such as globalization and the influence of popular cultures. Thus it is paramount to examine the zheng’s music and cultural identity at this time through: 1) reevaluating traditional music and music practice; 2) scrutinizing the impact of communist ideology on the modern transformation of the instrument openly and honestly; 3) assessing the influence of Western music (both classical and twentiethcentury); and 4) understanding its relationship with other East Asian zither traditions. I also believe that a combination of a Chinese (insider) and global (outsider) perspective is needed for such an examination. My objective here is to step beyond descriptive studies and focus on a multifaceted examination of the zheng’s changing identity through discussing the musical issues and forces behind these changes, challenging a number of well-accepted conventions.  8  Chapters Two through Five are laid out chronologically from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century. Chapter Two discusses the era of the traditional zheng—elements that signify the cultural provenance of the living tradition: its composition, performance techniques, music styles, transmission, and aesthetics. Chapter Three examines the zheng’s initial modernization through the early twentieth century to 1976 (the end of China’s Cultural Revolution) as it transformed from a community based traditional instrument to a concert instrument. The discussion of the modernization of the instrument juxtaposes the two primary forces affecting the development of Chinese music of the time: the domestic social and political revolutions in China, and the influence of Western music. Chapter Four discusses the zheng’s development in Mainland China from the 1980s to the present day. This chapter includes many diverse “insider” voices on issues of performance technique, composition, and performance aesthetics. Chapter Five presents a new perspective on the zheng by examining the experiences and challenges that Chinese zheng performers have experienced in North America. The materials presented in this chapter have not previously been included in the study of the zheng, and they directly reflect my personal viewpoint. This chapter also serves as the conclusion of the dissertation, integrating all the previous discussions in my synthetic portrayal of the zheng’s musical and cultural identity.  1.2.2  Personal Background and Perspective As a professional zheng performer and a scholar of Chinese music studies I have a  special involvement in the world of the zheng. I studied privately with both traditional  9  and contemporary zheng master performers in China, and was a professional musician performing both traditional and contemporary zheng music in China for over twenty years. Moving to the West I spent another sixteen years performing a multitude of contemporary and non-Chinese music genres on concert stages around the world. Throughout my subsequent years in academia I directly participated in the zheng’s modernization. Each phase of my career has deepened my knowledge. These experiences provided me with a new perspective and insight—the synergy between a performer and observer, as well as that between a native Chinese and an expatriate to the West. I started learning the zheng in 1971 with Gao Zicheng (1918-2012), a traditional zheng musician from the Shandong style who taught at the Xi’an Conservatory of Music at the time. Gao is best known for his gentle tone and exquisite subtle embellishments, and studying with him was especially beneficial in developing my traditional left hand techniques. In 1975 I was recruited by a professional orchestra in Shenyang, northeastern China and began my career as a professional musician. However, I continued to take lessons with Zhao Yuzhai (1923-1999), another Shandong zheng musician, who followed the same teacher as Gao Zicheng. My studies with these two masters granted me rare opportunities to experience traditional teaching—learning by rote and playing by ear. The traditional subtlety of the instrument and the essence of its music that was implanted in my heart and ears through these learning experiences benefited me for the rest of my artistic career and equipped me with an informed perspective on the key issues of the musical identity of the traditional zheng discussed in this dissertation. In 1977, as contemporary compositions became prevalent in zheng performance, it became necessary for me to expand my palette of techniques. I began to study  10  contemporary techniques with Zhang Yan (1945-1996), one of the most accomplished contemporary zheng performers credited with creating and performing numerous modern techniques, as well as composing a number of landmark scores for solo zheng. Some of her techniques evolved from the traditional Zhejiang style, while others were adaptations of piano and harp technique. In 1980 I joined the Zhanyou Ensemble, an instrumental ensemble affiliated with the People’s Liberation Army in Beijing. I performed as a soloist, in ensemble works, and as a vocal accompanist. Heralded as the top Chinese ensemble of its type in the country at the time, the Zhanyou Ensemble’s main goal was to entertain soldiers, therefore its repertoire consisted of compositions containing strong political messages. In the early 1980s a series of cultural transformations occurred in the new era of post-Mao China that affected both the Ensemble and my career. After decades of being isolated from the Western world, the new sounds of pop music—primarily from Hong Kong and Taiwan— began to permeate China. Western instruments such as the guitar, synthesizer, and drum set became a “must-have” for music groups nationwide. The Zhanyou Ensemble was no exception, incorporating these instruments to create a “modern” sound, with the roles for traditional Chinese instruments tremendously diminished. This prompted me to leave the ensemble and pursue academic studies in Chinese music. Moving to the West in the late 1990s, my performance career rekindled, quickly expanding to the international stage. My approach to zheng composition and performance gradually shifted away from mainstream Chinese zheng music to embrace a multitude of non-Chinese music genres, including experimental music, New Music, Jazz, free improvisation, electro-acoustic, and various genres of world music. These activities have  11  gradually changed my position in the zheng community in China to that of an outsider, while becoming an insider to the diaspora. My academic history includes studying ethnomusicology at the Chinese Music Research Institute of the Chinese National Academy of Arts (1992-1995) in Beijing before studying at the University of British Columbia (1996-1999); I received a Master’s degree from both programs. I also studied two descendants of the zheng overseas––the koto in Japan and the dan tranh in Vietnam––in 2001 and 2005 respectively. At the Chinese Music Research Institute I absorbed the method of traditional Chinese scholarship and Chinese music history and theory. This training provided me with knowledge of the zheng that a performer would not have—the ability to examine its performance practice within historical and theoretical perspectives, and understanding of the zheng in relationship to Chinese music theories and aesthetics. My studies at UBC introduced me to Western scholarship and research methods. These approaches provided me with the tools to question and challenge cultural conventions with a depth of analysis and attention to issues not provided in China. This alone opened a new world to me, so that combined with the introduction to a wide scope of world music traditions and performing music in various idioms I now regard Chinese music and its cultural contexts from a radically new perspective. To put it succinctly, my view of the world, its cultures, and art is constantly evolving. My study of other Asian long zithers has not only been beneficial to my understanding of these instruments, but has also helped me to gain new appreciation of the commonalities among East Asian long zithers. Through exploring this larger cultural sphere I have gained a broader perspective of my own culture, and developed a more  12  comprehensive understanding of the zheng. In this dissertation I utilize a cross-cultural viewpoint that combines ancient Chinese ideas, approaches drawn from Western ethnomusicology, and my expertise on the instrument to challenge many assumptions about the zheng and its contemporary development.  1.2.3  Research Process and Interviews My research process began with a comprehensive review of the literature on the  zheng, including sources written in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and English. The Chinese zheng literature includes historical documents, contemporary journal articles, theses, and monographs. I also draw from English sources that examine historical and sociological issues related to the zheng and its development not discussed in Chinese. One of the key strategies of this dissertation is to present the studied subjects with a combination of many voices—those of active practitioners, academic critiques, and my own. Extensive fieldwork was therefore central, and included interviews, attending concerts, and taking and observing zheng lessons. As I have considerable access to prominent zheng musicians and composers, I conducted extensive interviews both in China and in North America. My interviewees in China included zheng performers, instructors, students, composers, and ethnomusicologists. I gave high priority to seeking the involvement and opinions of performers who are among the most highly engaged and experienced participants in the zheng’s development. Interviews in China included the most senior living zheng performer/scholars Shi Zhaoyuan and Zhou Yanjia, traditional performers Rao Ningxin (Hakka style) and Chen Tianhua (Chaozhou style), firstgeneration conservatory trained professional performers Xiang Sihua, Fan Shang’e,  13  Wang Changyuan, and Liu Weishan, the leading zheng educators Li Meng and Wang Zhongshan, and the most prominent young performers such as Qiu Ji and Ji Wei. While these personal communications presented a wide range of individual perspectives from inside the tradition, they also revealed clear generational differences of perspective on critical issues concerning the evaluation and conservation of the tradition, Westernization, and globalization. My discussions with the Chinese ethnomusicologist Li Mei and composer Xu Xiaolin were especially valuable, as they conveyed unique views on the development of the zheng outside the performance community. Outside Mainland China I interviewed diasporic zheng performers who are pioneering new styles, such as Deng Haiqiong, Wu Fei, and He Bei Bei; and I approached Western composers that I have worked closely with on innovative projects such as John Sharpley, John Oliver, Barry Truax, Randy Raine-Reusch, and Robert Zollitsch. I believe that the new perspectives brought by these performers and composers will make an impact on the mainstream zheng community in China in the near feature. There are, admittedly, some lacunae. The first is that the research area does not include the development of zheng music in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Europe, all three regions having a vibrant scene. As Taiwan and Hong Kong have been modeling the zheng in Mainland China, their developments have not been distinctive enough for this discussion. I am equally cognizant of zheng developments in Europe and felt that they would not substantially affect my arguments. Secondly, different styles of zheng music have rapidly expanded in Mainland China since I began my dissertation research. One significant change is the use of the zheng in pop music, a style established by the 12-girl  14  band in China. The use of the zheng in pop music and other fringe genres in China (i.e, rock & roll and new age) requires a separate study. These are for future research. Objectivity sometimes presented a challenge to me. Being an active artist I have developed a set of artistic values and opinions. Integrating my own artistic choices and viewpoints and those held by others (performers and academics), I strive for balance. All Chinese texts, if not otherwise credited, are translated by the author.  15  1.3 Literature Review In this section I will review a select number of important historical texts that comprise the main resources for historical studies of zheng organology, aesthetics, early performance history, and music theory. I will also review the contemporary literature, in both Chinese and non-Chinese languages, that presents essential contributions to the study of the zheng. Chinese scholarship historically was guided by Confucian ideology, which viewed music as an integral part of governance and education and which closely reflected the cultural hierarchy of the imperial society. Musical issues documented in historical texts largely pertain to theory, methods for pitch calculation, chronicles of the court music bureau, organology, and Confucian and Taoist aesthetics. As the zheng was primarily considered an entertainment instrument, it did not become the subject of critical scholarly studies commonly reserved for what were perceived as higher art forms by conventional Chinese scholarship (e.g. the qin, the seven-string long zither). Contemporary Chinese music studies in the People’s Republic of China embraced Chinese folk music (minzu minjian yinyue), and its research method was modeled after caifeng—gathering folk tunes—an academic activity initiated in the 1920s and instigated in the 1940s at Yan’an, the base camp of the Communist Party of China during the anti-  16  Japanese War.7 Both older and Communist approaches to scholarship are evident in the Chinese zheng literature. As Bell Yung points out: “Chinese music is considered within its own historical and cultural contexts. For example, some types are considered ‘fine’ or ‘art’ and thus deserving of study, while others are considered less so. China’s study of its own music has much to do with national pride in artistic accomplishments and with a broader context of national development. The goal is to promote, improve, and disseminate as much as to do research and to understand” (2001:25).  1.3.1  Historical References References to the zheng have been found in a variety of historical texts since its  initial citation in the second century BCE. These sources range from ancient dictionaries and treatises on customs to dynastic records and poetic essays. The primary early references for zheng studies are found in the Shuowen Jiezi (Explanation of Graphs and Analysis of Characters, Xu c. 121) and Shiming (Explanation of Characters, Liu c. 200), two prominent etymological reference books, as well as the Fengsu Tongyi (Treatise on Customs, Ying c. 175) and the poetic essay Zhengfu Xue (The Preface of the Odes to the Zheng, Fu c. 265). These sources discuss the zheng’s denomination, invention, origin, and instrument construction in the context of  7  The contemporary study of Chinese folk music began in the early twentieth century. Known as caifeng (gathering styles), academic activities mainly focused on collecting folk tunes, both vocal and instrumental. The caifeng was later adapted by the Communist Party in the 1940s to serve its political policy of “serving the people.” In order to mobilize the masses, as Isabel Wong explains, “…the Party, must organize a program… by using musical or literary forms familiar to the targeted group as a means of persuasion…In order to make the mass-line strategy function effectively, the Party needed a ‘cultural army’ to collect suitable poplar cultural products, which were then to be remolded as means for winning over the hearts of the people. On the musical front, the collection of folk songs was a logical choice …” (Wong 1991:46). 17  etymology and morphology.8 These early accounts were compiled together with ancient myths9 and commentary in later musical treatises, notably the Yiwen Leiju (Collection of Literature Arranged by Categories, Ouyang 624), the Tongdian (Encyclopedic History of Institutions, Du 801), the Yueshu (Treatise on Music, Chen c. 1100), and the Wenxian Tongkao (A Comprehensive Investigation of Documents and Traditions, Ma 1307). In addition to discussion of morphological issues, these books include descriptions of the various forms of ancient zheng, lists of repertoire performed in the imperial court, and accounts of popular zheng musicians. Other important sources for zheng studies, especially its use in imperial court ensembles, were the music sections of the Shi Shu—historical records written for every dynasty throughout the Chinese imperial period. The Sui Shu (The Record of the Sui Dynasty, Wei c. 629), the Jiu Tang Shu (The Old Record of the Tang Dynasty, c. 946), and the Xin Tang Shu (The New Record of the Tang Dynasty, 1060), in particular, list a variety of types of zheng in a number of styles of music in their catalog of the instrumentation of various court ensembles and musical styles. All the above sources are also found in the Siku Quanshu (Complete Library of the Four Treasuries, 1782), the largest historical anthology in Chinese history. Chinese poetry serves as an indispensible resource for contextualizing classical zheng music. Eight Zhengfu (Odes to the Zheng) written between the third and the sixth  8  The full citations for these ancient texts are included in my “Zheng” entry in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2001:802). 9 Mythology attributes the invention of the zheng to two historical figures: Kui (c. 2200 BCE), a mythical being and talented musician who served as the musical official for the legendary Emperor Huangdi; and General Meng Tian (d. 210 BCE) of the Qin State (seventh cent.-221 BCE). As a result, the zheng is also known as Qinzheng. 18  centuries (Ouyang 624)10 bear valuable information on the zheng’s performance technique and style, while exemplifying the way of a gentleman cultivated by Confucianism and Daoism. The popularity of courtesans and female musicians performing solo zheng in the imperial court is reflected in the hundred or more classical poems romanticizing the sound of the zheng and its performance. Examples can be seen in poems written by renowned poets such as Shen Yue (441-513)11 and Ouyang Xiu (1007-1072).12 Most importantly, these poems portray an idyllic aesthetic associating female beauty with the zheng. This aesthetic is especially critical and relevant to the cultural phenomenon of female dominance in contemporary zheng performance practice.  1.3.2  Twentieth-Century Zheng Literature Contemporary zheng studies in Chinese, English, and French encompass texts on  its history, tradition, and contemporary development. The earliest known source on the zheng written in English is A. C. Moule’s brief (two paragraphs) description of the 10  Six of the eight Zhengfu (Odes to the Zheng) written between the late Han and Nanbei (The Southern and Northern, 420-589) dynasties are compiled in Ouyang Xun’s Yiwen Leiju. 11 Shen Yue writes in “The cither [zheng]” : The cither of Chi’in [Qin] give forth unsurpassed melodies, The frets of jade make the strings produce high-pitched tunes. The strings are strung so tight as to be nearly breaking, The melody follows her agile fingers roaming over the strings. But how can one by merely hearing the lingering echo afar-off, Divine the perfect beauty of the player? (translated by Gulik 1951:17) 12 Ouyang Xiu’s “Li Liuhou Jia Wen Zheng Shi” (Impromptu - Written While Hearing the Cither Played) writes: For twenty years I had not heard the sad notes of the cither, Then suddenly her slender fingers made the strings resound. Now the tones came lightly like birds twittering among the flowers, Then there was a low murmuring sound, like streams covered with ice. It is usually said that this music is now forgotten, So I ask her who taught her the cither when she was still a child. The melody finished, the guests laugh at me over their wine cups, For I, white-haired old man, have started silently to weep. (translated by Gulik 1951:19) 19  zheng’s morphology in A List of the Musical and Other Sound-Producing Instruments of the Chinese (Moule 1908:111). Van Gulik’s article “Brief Note on the Cheng, the Chinese small Cither” (1951) was a rare non-Chinese source on the zheng at the time, which provided a substantial review of historical texts, a list of traditional zheng repertoire, and its development in China in the early twentieth century. In China a small number of texts were written in the 1930s. Little else was added until the 1980s, when zheng literature began to grow. In the last decade writings on the zheng expanded exponentially due to an increasing number of national and regional universities offering graduate programs in ethnomusicology, as well as Chinese conservatories’ establishment of master’s degrees in zheng performance requiring a thesis as partial fulfillment for the degree. As a result, zheng studies have grown from the limited number of historical reviews to a substantial body of literature containing monographs, ethnographies, articles, and theses spanning numerous research fields.  1.3.2.1 Historical Studies In the twentieth century Liang Tsai-Ping (1910-2000) and Cao Zheng (19201998) were prolific pioneering writers on zheng history. Liang’s 1938 instruction book, Ni Cheng Pu (A Sketch of the Zheng), contains “Introductory Essays on the Zheng,” which references many of the historical sources mentioned above, as does Cao’s historical study Guzheng Pu (Guzheng Score, 1946, unpublished).13 Liang’s monograph Music of Cheng (1971), published in Taiwan, includes a detailed overview of the historical development of the zheng. Cao’s “A Discussion of the History of the Gu 13  Both Liang and Cao’s original manuscripts are preserved in the Library of the Chinese National Academy of Arts. 20  Zheng,” published in Asian Music (1983),14 is a summary of most of Cao and Liang’s previous works, yet more importantly provides the first account of developments after the 1949 founding of the People’s Republic of China. French sinologist/ethnomusicologist Rault-Leyrat also did substantial historical work (1987). Ancient instruments and musical iconography unearthed in archeological sites found in China between the 1970s and 1980s greatly stimulated and expanded historical studies, especially pertaining to morphology and organology.15 This led to renewed discussions of the zheng’s origin, its early construction, and its relationship to both the se, a twenty five-string plucked wood zither used in ceremonial court music, and the zhu, a five-string bamboo zither (Huang 1987; Wei 1990; Xiang 1993). Based on his study of the 598 BCE zithers excavated in Guixi County, Jiangxi, Southern China in 1979 (1987: 40), Huang argues that the zheng and the se were separate instruments.16 Wei posits that the zheng and se were the same instrument named differently in various regions (1990:19). Xiang relates the early forms of the zheng to the bamboo zithers of the nonHan ethnic groups in Southern China, and includes studies of the Southeast Asian bamboo zither by the Japanese scholar Hayashi (1962); and, by way of Hayashi’s writing,  14  The Chinese version of this article was originally published in the journal Chinese Music in 1981, volume 1. 15 Eight musical instruments, including wood zithers, were found in the Han Dynasty Mawang Dui Tomb (168 BCE) in Hunan, Southern China in 1972. Two thirteen-string wood zithers dated 598 BCE were excavated in Guixi County, Jiangxi, Southern China in 1979. Two pieces of bronze sculpture portraying a zither performance from the sixth century BCE were found in No. 306 tomb in Zhejiang, Southern China in 1982. 16 One ancient theory suggests that the zheng was created when two people, often two relatives, fought over a se and broke it in half, thus creating both a twelve-string and thirteen-string zheng. One version is as follows: “[State of] Qin was ill-mannered. A father fought with his son over a se. [The result was that] each took half [of the se] and named [the new instrument] zheng” (The Shuolue: vol. 11, in Siku 1782). Modern scholars agree that the zheng originated in the State of Qin (now Shaanxi province in central western China) around the fifth century BCE, yet disagree as to whether the zheng came from splitting the se. Two long zithers that descended from the zheng, the Korean kayagŭm and Japanese koto, however, have twelve and thirteen strings respectively. 21  that of Sachs.17 Xiang’s work reflects the initial impact of the introduction of Western ethnomusicology in the mid-1980s, which brought with it valuable new avenues of research, comparative methodologies, and new approaches to Chinese scholarship. In 1986, as the study of the zheng expanded, the Xi’an Music Conservatory began publishing Qinzheng, a journal for zheng studies. Featured was “Qingzheng Shihua” (The History of the Qingzheng, Jiao 1992-1997),18 a series of articles that ostensibly function as a bibliographical study of historical texts. Jiao’s comprehensive inclusion of historical accounts from a wide variety of literature forms provides an essential tool for identifying original literary sources. One of the most important periods of the zheng’s history was within the imperial court tradition of the Tang dynasty when classical zheng music flourished. Descriptive discourses on both the use of the zheng in the imperial court ensembles and as a solo instrument for entertainment are found in a variety of Tang official documents and music treatises. However, the only surviving instruments and scorebooks from the Tang period are preserved in Japan.19 The Japanese music manuscripts the Jinchi Yoroku (Essentials of Being Benevolent and Wise, Fujiwara c. 1171) and the Ruisōchiyo (Essentials of the  17  Sachs writes: “Both the cheng [zheng] and the she [se] are composed of three parts, a main section that supports the strings, and two end pieces which are bent back. This triple arrangement recalls the tube-zither and the half-tube-zither of the Malayan Archipelago and a few African countries including Madagascar, all of which have a piece of bamboo as a body, either an entire tube or half of a bamboo split lengthways; the strings run parallel to each other the length of one internode in the bamboo and are formed by strips cut off the bamboo itself ... That these bamboo zithers were the prototypes of the Far Eastern unfretted zithers is confirmed by a Chinese tradition, according to which the cheng was originally made of bamboo” (Sachs 1940:186). The “Chinese tradition” here most probably refers to the existence of the “bamboo” radical in the Chinese character for zheng. 18 This series of articles was later published under the same title by Zhongguo Wenlian Chuban She (Chinese Literary Association Publishing House) in 2002. 19 Four zheng from the Tang court have been preserved in the Shōsōin Repository in Nara, Japan. 22  Koto for Gakuso, c. thirteenth cent.),20 which contain essential musical information such as tuning and modal systems, as well as performance techniques—have been a key source for the studies of Tang zheng music by non-Chinese scholars (Hayashi 1962; Picken 1969; Tanabe 1936). The integration of the information from these historical scores with previous research generated new opportunities for analyzing, interpreting, and reconstructing zheng music from the Tang dynasty (Jin 1992; Ye 1986), and stimulated comparison between zheng and koto melodic structure (Thrasher 1995) and performance techniques (Yan 1996). The most recent synopsis of the Tang Dynasty zheng is provided in a thesis by Xie Ming (2007).  1.3.2.2 Studies of the Traditional Zheng As stated in the Prelude, the traditional zheng was predominantly found in rural China. Its repertoire and performing techniques were passed on by the combination of notation and oral transmission for centuries. Literary descriptions of music activities involving the traditional zheng as a folk instrument exist,21 yet few substantial writings in historical texts are found, a situation similar to many other folk music traditions in China. Subsequently, only a handful of zheng scores written in traditional gongche notation have survived to the beginning of the twentieth century, including some in the Xiansuo Beikao (References for Strings; Rong 1814, in Cao and Jian 1955), a collection of thirteen works  20  Jinchi Yoroku and Ruisōchiyo are collections of tablature scorebooks for the koto/gakuso, the Japanese thirteen-string zither, a descendant of the zheng. Among the over two hundred pieces collected in the books, many were classical zheng pieces brought to Japan from China during the Tang dynasty. The books also contain tuning systems and the modal theories used for zheng music in the Tang court. 21 The two famous classical novels, the fourteenth century Shuihu Zhuan (Outlaws of the Marsh) and the seventeenth century Liaozhai Zhiyi (Strange Tales of a Lonely Studio), contain many brief descriptions of zheng performances. 23  for small string ensembles that contains the zheng, and four hand-copied score collections from the early twentieth century.22 The Chinese study of the traditional zheng was initiated in the early 1980s, with several of the journal articles published during this period written by traditional musicians who initiated zheng instruction in conservatories. Their perspectives as performing musicians trained in a very different context from later generations of contemporary zheng performers have helped to lay the groundwork for scholarly analysis on the subject. The articles written on the Shandong zheng by Cheng Gongliang (1982 and 1993), on Henan by Zhou Qingqing (1983), on Chaozhou by Lin Maogen and Chen Anhua (1981), and on Fujian or Min by Chen Maojin (1986) inform the history of these traditional styles, their repertoire, performance techniques, cultural contexts, and connections—both historical and musical—to vocal and other instrumental music genres in their respective regions. Wu Yujun’s substantive MA thesis (2009), a cultural study of Hakka zheng, is one of the latest contributions to the study of traditional zheng. Articles that focus on individual musicians and genealogies of musicians (Cao 1993; Guo 1993; Guo and Guo 1996; Zhao 1984) offer interesting insights into the daily lives of musicians and the teaching methods of the traditional zheng. A series of monographs on individual traditional styles was produced during the 1980s and 1990s by the Renmin Yinyue Chuban She (People’s Music Publishing House), a state-owned publishing company in Beijing. Each monograph included an introductory 22  These four scorebooks include Shandong Zhengqu Zhenchao Ben (An Original Copy of Shandong Zheng Music) and Shandong Yuequ Chaoben Erce (Two Copies of Shandong Zheng Music), both anonymous from the Qing dynasty and hand copied by Cao Zheng; and also Dapu He Yuzhai Xiansheng Zhengpu (Zheng scores by Mr. He Yuzhai of Dapu) preserved by Sun Yude and Zhengshi Pu (Scores of Zheng Poetry) from the Jingmeng Caotang publishing house in the Qing dynasty (Zhongguo 1994). 24  article on regional styles and master musicians, a chart of idiosyncratic fingering techniques, and scores of popular works in their repertoire (Shi 1985; Fan 1987; Cao and Li 1981; Chen 1991). Later many of these texts were compiled, with minor changes, in the Zhongguo Guzheng Mingqu Huicui (Collections of Famous Chinese Guzheng Pieces, Yan 1993)23 and again in the Chuantong Zhengqu Ji (Traditional Zheng Music, Xiao 2009), a collection of ten volumes of traditional zheng repertoire containing repertoire for the yatga (Mongolian long zither) and kayagŭm (Korean long zither) from Inner Mongolian and Chinese Korean ethnic groups respectively. Each of the ten volumes also includes previously published articles on the style and an audio CD. The Zhongguo Minzu Minjian Qiyuequ Jicheng (Anthology of Chinese Ethnic and Folk Instrumental Music, Li et al. 1991-2007), the largest collection of transcriptions of traditional instrumental music in Chinese history, serves as a database for studies of the traditional zheng; these sources also include brief discussions on social contexts and musical features. Volumes covering provinces where traditional zheng styles were established contain transcriptions of both solo repertoire and ensemble pieces. For instance, the Shandong volume contains eighty-five solos, some rarely known outside the province, as well as three suites for peng baban ensemble, a genre performed on zheng and other string instruments. These scorebooks were originally intended to preserve traditional zheng music and to promulgate performance scores, yet they are of value for academic studies by providing descriptions of styles, historical background, and idiosyncratic approaches to  23  The Zhongguo Guzheng Mingqu Huicui contains three volumes in total. The second and third volumes are compilations of contemporary compositions from the 1950s to the 1990s (Yan 1993). 25  music making. However, the transcription method became subject of debate.24 These codifications of traditional zheng repertoire, which were essentially transcriptions of individual musician’s extemporizations upon a core score, have changed the function of the score from “descriptive” to “prescriptive” (Seeger 1958). I will address this issue in detail in the following chapters. The Zhengxue Sanlun (Essay on Studies of the Zheng, Jiang 1995) is the first ethnography on the zheng, commemorating the author’s teacher Jin Zhuonan (18821976), a scholar-musician from Shandong province, and documenting his achievements as a composer and teacher. The author also discusses his own experience as a zheng practitioner. One of the latest contributions to the studies of traditional zheng is He Song’s (1922-2007) ethnography He Yuzhai Zhengpu Yigao (He Yuzhai’s Manuscript of Zheng Score, 2008).25 The author’s research is based on sixty Hakka pieces handed down by He Yuzhai (1886-1943), his grandfather and a representative Hakka musician. The book records the author’s experience of learning the zheng with his grandfather, his observations of the activities of the Hakka zheng in the early twentieth century, and encapsulations of important technical idiosyncrasies of the style.26 One of the first published studies of zheng notation is Chen Leishi’s (1918-2010) Chaoyue Juepu “Ersi Pu” Yuanliu Kao (Examination of the Origins and Development of  24  In his review of the Anthology, British scholar Stephen Jones pointed out that “Without access to recordings, it remains to be seen how reliable such transcriptions are… indeed, different versions of many pieces from the same province are given, though not different versions of the same piece performed by the same musicians on different occasions…it is unlikely that one will be able to construct reliable or detailed analyses from such transcriptions” (2003:298). 25 Previously published by Zhongguo Xiju Chuban She (The Drama Publishing House) in 2006 without a CD. 26 The chapter titled “The Eight Patterns of Playing the Zheng” reports that to differentiate the varying degrees and directions of bending tones on a single string, the older generation of musicians would replace specific gongche notes with a variety of words whose spoken tones match the pitch direction (He 2008:181). 26  the Lost Chaozhou Ersi Notation), in which he explores the origin of ersi notation, a Chaozhou system, suggesting a direct connection to Tang court music (Chen 1978:54). Cao Zheng further discusses the relationship between the ersi and gongche notation in Chaozhou music and their interchangeability in performance practice (Cao 1980). Zhao Yi’s notation study, using a comparative methodology, draws similarities between the historical tuning systems amongst the zheng, qin, and koto, arguing that zheng’s notation systems were developed from indications of string number and scale degrees (Zhao 1999). Compositional theory and score structure form the framework that performance and repertoire are built upon. Traditional musicians’ accounts of the compositional mother tune baban (Lin and Chen 1981; Zhao 1983) provide reliable firsthand descriptions of extemporaneity in the course of performing traditional repertoire. Discussions of the musical scales and modes of the southern styles review the relationship between the basic score and their realization (Zheng and Cai 1983; Shi 1985). Studies of baban and other theoretical subjects relevant to the traditional zheng are included in many monographs and articles by Chinese theorists (Ye 1983; Yuan 1987; Xue 1999; Du 2004). However, in-depth considerations of baban structure and its relationship to realizing individual works are still lacking in Chinese sources. Alan Thrasher’s studies on zheng solo and ensemble music in Southern China (1988, 1995, and 2002) and his recent monograph Sizhu Instrumental Music of South China: Ethos, Theory and Practice (2008) examine the theoretical underpinnings of the Chaozhou and Hakka instrumental music traditions. My own study (2010) on the application of baban structure in Shandong zheng music explores the integration of  27  theory and practice in its compositional process. Lawrence Witzleben’s study of silk and bamboo music (1995), a traditional ensemble genre from the Shanghai area, investigates baban and the six-beat structure of liuban sheds light on traditional zheng in Han instrumental music. Other English sources on the study of traditional zheng music include Mercedes Dujunco’s study of the Chaozhou xianshi string ensemble (1994) and Deng Haiqiong’s study of the manifestation of traditional aesthetics within the zheng’s portamento (2006).  1.3.2.3 Studies of Contemporary Development Subsequent to Cao Zheng’s 1983 article, two English dissertations discussed the modernization and Westernization of the zheng (Chen 1991; Cheng 1991). Cheng’s writing presents an overview of development prior to the late 1980s, highlighting the creation of new compositions and the construction of the modern zheng. Chen provides a brief timeline of the twentieth century zheng, though it contains numerous erroneous and unsubstantiated statements which seem to display a cultural bias, calling into question her understanding of the tradition. Wang Yingrui’s dissertation Ershi Shiji de Zhengyue (Twentieth Century Zheng Music, 2007) is supported by extensive research and reveals many important political and cultural influences. Her first chapter is particularly informative, providing detailed information on the music activities of over a dozen zheng musicians (some lesser known) who moved into metropolitan centres such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou during the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. Wang presents a balanced view of each musician’s involvement  28  in performing in this new environment while constructing new repertoire for this rural-tourban transition of the zheng in China. Two theses document the period between 1949 and 1966 immediately preceding the Cultural Revolution (Yang 2007 and Zhao 2009). These works briefly address political and cultural influences on modernization and institutionalization of pedagogy. They also analyze new performance techniques and compositional vocabularies resulting from the influence of Western music under the guise of “nationalization” (minzuhua). Composition for the zheng underwent a significant transformation in the second half of the twentieth century. Zhang Tong’s “Cong Xinshiqi Guzheng Chuangzuo Kan Zhengyue Fazhan” (An Examination of the Development of the Zheng in the New Era through its Composition, 1994) explores this transformation through a comparative study of three generations of zheng composers and their compositional styles post-1949. The author also explores the interrelationship between the expansion of the compositional language with the development of the zheng’s performance techniques, the modification of the instrument, and experimentation with new tunings. As compositional and stylistic practice expanded in the last three decades, the study of zheng composition has become more specified, branching into sub-disciplines such as examinations of solo zheng works from 1949 to 1966 (Li 2009) or studies of individual composers, such as Xu Xiaolin (Hu 2009) and Wang Jianmin (Sun 2009). They consider the use of Western compositional methods to develop a national voice in contemporary zheng composition, socio-economic impact on musical development, and the composer’s role.  29  Discussions of contemporary fingering techniques, elucidate diverse perspectives on the balance between new and old. Wang Xiao Ping contends that traditionally the right and left hand fulfill differing functions: the right hand initiates a note, whereas the left hand embellishes that note, a process that distinguishes the zheng from other instruments (2001). Li Han, conversely, argues that techniques developed in the last fifty years, such as both hands rapidly plucking, have increased the artistic value of the zheng (2000). Qiu Ji (2004) points out that a balanced approach should be taken in the development of new techniques. A recent thesis by Yang Fan traces the evolution of zheng techniques from those inherited to the recently innovated, explaining their progression as an inevitable result of China’s social and cultural evolution (2007). In recent Chinese texts ethnomusicological concepts and methods (e.g., comparative, anthropological, and/or cultural studies approaches) are increasingly applied. However, there is often an implication that the zheng developed from being a previously unsophisticated folk instrument into an improved modern instrument capable of expressing the national voice, and that credit is due to government efforts to modernize. They comprise an establishment view of rapid development and increased technical complexity in zheng performance composition.  30  2 THE MUSIC AND CULTURE OF THE TRADITIONAL ZHENG 	
    All music (yin) rises from the human heart. Emotion stirs, taking shape as sound (sheng). Sound refined in patterns is music (yin). (Confucius, in Gongsun c. first cent. BCE) In this chapter I will present an overview of the traditional zheng. This will include an introduction to the major regional styles, their representative compositions, idiosyncratic techniques, and genealogy. I will also discuss briefly the historical, geographical, and cultural issues that contributed to the development of the traditional zheng. I will then examine traditional approaches to composition, exploring the principles underpinning the repertoire that entail correlations between: 1) compositional structure and development of melodic material development through variation and embellishment; 2) performance techniques and compositional method; 3) notation— “the blueprint”— and the method of oral teaching; and 4) traditional philosophy and aesthetics.  2.1 Introduction to the Traditional Zheng  Traditional zheng refers to zheng practice developed in several rural regions of China before the twentieth century. These major regional practices, now known as liupai,27 include Shandong, Henan, Chaozhou, Hakka, Fujian, and Zhejiang established in  27  The application of liupai to traditional zheng commenced in the 1930s as part of the modernization of the zheng, which will be addressed in the next chapter. 31  Shandong and Henan provinces in the North; and Guangdong, Fujian, and Zhejiang provinces in the South (see Figure 2.1).28 Chinese terminology for a zheng style may either denote a province, such as Shandong, which contains a number of regional centres for the zheng; or a specific region, such as Hakka or Chaozhou, both located in Guangdong province.  Figure 2-1 Centres for traditional zheng.  In the early twentieth century only men practiced the zheng as part of small community ensembles for entertainment, to accompany opera or narrative singing, and for self-cultivation. Coming from an oral tradition, they believed this use of the zheng  28  Listed here are traditional instrumental zheng practices by Han Chinese, which therefore do not include the Mongolian yakta or Korean kayagŭm popular in Inner-Mongolia or the Korean region of northeast China respectively, nor the minor practice of utilizing the zheng to accompany narrative song traditions located in northern Shaanxi province in the north of China, and in Guangdong and Hong Kong in the south. 32  had a long history; however, the unbroken lineage of these regional practices can only be traced back to the nineteenth century.  2.1.1  Shandong Style Shandong was one of the oldest cultural hubs of the Han Chinese and the  birthplace of Kongzi (Confucius). The music scene in ancient Shandong has been described as follows: “Everybody could blow the yu (a mouth organ), play the se (25string long zither), strike the zhu (struck zither), or pluck the qin” (Anonymous, c. 210 BCE, in Siku 1782, translated from the Chinese).29 From the twelfth century onward, a wide variety of popular forms of entertainment such as opera, narrative singing, dancing, and acrobatics flourished in Shandong (Li 1994:10). The root of Shandong zheng music—the xiansuo string ensemble—and other ensemble instrumental genres became increasingly popular in the Ming and Qing dynasties in the west and southwest of the province.30 Local musicians believed xiansuo was yayue, or refined music from the imperial court (Zhao 1983:34), which had been introduced to the region in the early Qing dynasty by a Taoist monk who used to be a court musician (Yang 1988:21). A typical Shandong xiansuo ensemble contains four stringed instruments: the zheng, pipa, xiqin (the local two-string fiddle), and yangqin (hammered dulcimer).31 Since the main repertoire of xiansuo is created from baban, the genre is commonly known as peng baban (meeting the baban). Peng baban could be performed independently and, more often, to 29  In addition to referring to the seven-string zither, the term “qin” was also used as a general term for string music in Shandong. The string ensemble repertoire of Shandong was labeled as “qin music” (Cheng 1982:47). 30 The regional centers of Shandong zheng are located in Juancheng, Yuncheng, and Heze counties in the Heze District of southwestern Shandong, as well as Linqing in the Liucheng District of western Shandong. 31 Xiansuo ensembles were recognized as a Chinese national intangible heritage in 2006, and still actively perform in Western Shandong province, especially in the Heze region. 33  accompany qinshu, the local narrative singing genre, as mentioned by my teacher Gao Zicheng.32 The ensemble normally played a long instrumental section as a “prelude” for the main act. Due to this close connection with qinshu, the Shandong zheng repertoire includes a large number of qupai, or named tunes, drawn from qinshu, in addition to its baban repertoire. The most important part of the Shandong zheng repertoire are its baban pieces, most with poetic titles such as Gaoshan Liushui (Lofty Mountain and Flowing Water), Fengbai Cuizhu (Bamboo Swaying in the Wind), and Yejing Luanling (Tinkling Bells in the Still of the Night). These pieces can be played individually or combined as suites. Originally there were ten baban suites known as shi datao (great ten suites), but by the beginning of the twentieth century only the first suite of the shi datao had remained (Zhao 1983:34). The older generation of Shandong zheng musicians disclosed that there was no separate repertoire for the solo zheng, as the musicians played the same pieces for both solo and ensemble performances (Cheng 1993:266). The Shandong style used both a thirteen- and a fifteen-string zheng, with the latter being more common. The fifteen string zheng had steel or copper strings—seven thicker and eight thinner strings—known as “seven elderly and eight youth” to musicians. The right-hand technique is centred around the thumb, with the two most recognized techniques including: 1) the thumb playing inward and outward rapidly on the same string, creating a short tremolo with a clear individual sound; and 2) playing hua (flower)  32  My teacher Gao Zicheng recollected that the qinshu used to be accompanied by the yangqin, consequently the genre was also called chang yangqin (singing the yangqin). It should be noted that the instrumentation in the Xiansuo Beikao (References for Strings, Rong 1814), a collection of works for small string ensembles compiled by the Beijing court musician Rong Zhai, includes the zheng, pipa, sanxian, and huqin. The replacement of the sanxian with the yangqin in Shandong peng baban suggests the influence of the qingshu tradition instrumentation. 34  descending glissandi as either an anacrusis at the beginning of phrases or around the main melodic notes. The musical style of Shandong zheng is strongly influenced by qinshu, therefore the sole purpose of the left hand is nearly always to bend the string in imitation of its vocal style. The Shandong zheng has a lineage spanning over six generations, commencing with Wang Leyong (1830-1905) and ceasing with Han Tinggui (b. 1929) (Li 1994:1516). Prominent artists include Wang Dianyu (1899-1964) and his students Zhao Yuzhai (1923-1999) and Gao Zicheng (1918-2010), both considered the most accomplished of the traditional Shandong zheng musicians, and this author studied privately with both of the latter (see Figure 2.2).  Figure 2-2 Donglu Yayue Tuan (Refined Music Ensemble of East Shandong) photo taken in 1944. Wang Dianyu (middle), Gao Zicheng (second from the right), and Zhao Yuzhai (second from the left, playing the yangqin) (photo in Public Domain).  2.1.2  Henan Style Henan, located in the central plain of China, was a centre of the ancient Han  Chinese civilization. The zheng was performed as part of an ensemble in the regions of  35  Kaifeng city—formerly known as Bianliang, the capital of the Northern Song dynasty (960-1127)—in east Henan, and also in southwest Henan. The popularity of the zheng in the southwest was due to frequent flooding in the east, forcing those from the Kaifeng area to migrate and eventually settle in Nanyang and its neighbouring counties in southwestern Henan (Li 2006:118).33 Eastern Henan is adjacent to southwest Shandong province where the Shandong zheng is prevalent. Subsequently, traditional zheng practice from these two regions is jointly identified as the “northern style” (beipai).34 Traditionally the zheng was part of a xiansuo ensemble, which had different instrumentation from that of Shandong. A Henan xiansuo ensemble featured three plucked-string instruments: the zheng, pipa, and sanxian. In addition, it occasionally included wind instruments, such as the xiao, an endblown bamboo flute, and the guan, an end-blown tubular double reed. Chinese scholars and local musicians believe that as an instrumental music genre xiansuo was popular in the Kaifeng region as early as the fifteenth or sixteenth century (Ding 1993:271). The most important development to later influence the Henan zheng was the use of xiansuo to accompany local folk songs, known as xiaoqu (small tunes). This combination of vocal and instrumental music eventually was developed into the new narrative genre of guzi qu (drum tune) around the eighteenth century, which later became known as dadiao quzi (major tune). The original instrumental form of xiansuo, built on the baban form, became bantou qu, the instrumental prelude section of the dadiao quzi  33  Traditional zheng practices are found in Kaifeng and Shangqiu in eastern Henan, as well as Nanyang, Miyang, and Dengzhou in the southwest of the province. 34 The term “beipai,” or northern style, first appeared on the cover of Tianxia Datong, a record of zheng performance by Lou Shuhua from Hebei province in 1936, while “nanpai,” southern style, was written on the cover of Hanya Xishui, a record by Liang Tsai-ping released in Taiwan after 1949 (Wang 2007:12). 36  played before the singer enters the stage. This practice of livening up the stage is known as naotai (Ding 1993:271). The Henan solo zheng tradition was drawn substantially from bantou qu, with the addition of paizi qu (the local term for qupai), named tunes used in the dadiao quzi narrative form.35 Vestiges of the dadiao quzi narrative form in the Henan solo zheng tradition are evident in the underlying programmatic storylines in such well-known pieces as Su Wu Sixiang (Su Wu Longing for Home),36 Ku Zhou Yu (Weeping for Zhou Yu),37 Chen Xingyuan Hefan (Chen Xingyuan’s Matrimonial Alliance with Barbarians), and Chen Xingyuan Luoyuan (Cheng Xingyuan Landing in the General’s Yard).38 These tales are most probably borrowed directly from narrative forms and opera plots. The foremost idiosyncratic technique of the Henan solo instrumental zheng is also a vestige of narrative singing (Zhou 1983:23-27). This is a rapid descending portamento accomplished by the right thumb playing a rapid roll while moving along the length of a single string creating variations in timbre and dynamics, while the left hand simultaneously releases the pressed string with a rapid vibrato. Wei Ziyou (1875-1936) was celebrated for being a pioneer Henan zheng artist performing and teaching in Beijing in the 1920s (Ding 1993:272). He taught Liang Tzaiping, Lou Shuhua (1907-1952), and Shi Yinmei (1889-?) who, in turn, made important 35  The bantou qu prelude and dadiao quzi narrative form are still performed in Henan. Su Wu (140-60 BCE) was a general from the West Han dynasty who led a military campaign against the Huns in the west of China. Having lost in battle, Su was captured and exiled to Siberia. After nineteen years of herding sheep, he finally returned to China. This is a popular plot for Chinese opera and narrative genres. 37 Zhou Yu (175-210) was one of the most famous military strategists in Chinese history who lived in the late Han dynasty. This piece expresses his wife’s heartbreak upon receiving news of Zhou’s death. This story was another popular plot. 38 Chen Xingyuan, an opera character, was the daughter of a Tang court official who was forced to marry into a northern tribe in exchange for peace for the country. On her journey to the North, she tried to commit suicide by jumping off a cliff, but accidentally landed in another general’s yard. Again, a story utilized in Chinese opera and narrative genres. 36  37  contributions to popularizing the zheng in China, Taiwan, and abroad. Wang Shengwu (1904-1968) was known for having a unique repertoire, but unfortunately few of his arrangements have become standard.39 Cao Dongfu (1898-1970) was the most prominent musician responsible for bringing the Henan zheng to the national music scene by transferring and arranging a large number of ensemble bantou qu works for solo zheng. It was during his time in the early twentieth century that the number of strings was increased from the original thirteen to sixteen (Li 1997:729).  2.1.3  Chaozhou Style Chaozhou is located in eastern Guangdong, a province at the southern tip of the  country and the ancient territory of the indigenous Yue people. The Chaozhou dialect is a branch of the Southern Min (Fujian)—a Sinitic linguistic group, which contains eight tones that subsequently influenced the unique tonal complexity of Chaozhou music (Tang 2005:103). Since the fourth century, Han Chinese moving from the North to evade wars and strife settled along the east coast of Guangdong, including the Chaozhou region, bringing their music and other cultural practices with them. The zheng is referred to as qinzheng in Chaozhou, as it came from the north where “Qin,” the ancient capital region of the Han Chinese, was located (Cao 1993:274). The Chaozhou zheng was traditionally utilized in two ensemble genres: xiyue (elegant music) and xianshi yue (string-poem music). Xiyue is performed by three plucked-string instruments: the zheng, pipa, and sanxian. As an instrumental music form, xiyue was common as early as the Song dynasty, and the inclusion of the zheng in a xiyue  39  According to Ding Chengyun, Wang’s performance repertoire was compiled in Guzheng Duzou Quji (Music for Solo Zheng) and published in 1958 (Ding 1993:273). 38  ensemble occurred during the Southern Song period (Zhou c. 1150). The xianshi yue was originally used to accompany chanted poetry (Zhongguo 1985:422), and the ensemble included zheng, pipa, erxian (two-string fiddle), yangqin, and xiao (see Figure 2.3).40  Figure 2-3 A Chaozhou xianshi yue ensemble (photo by permission of A. Thrasher, 2006).  The Chaozhou zheng repertoire is composed of baban pieces and various qupai pieces, following a similar path of development as the traditional zheng in the North. The most recognized ten baban pieces are known collectively as shi datao (great ten suites), and include the well-known pieces Hanya Xishui (Lonely Crows Playing Over a Winter Stream), Zhaojun Yuan (Lament of Lady Zhaojun), Jinshang Tianhua (Adding Flowers to Colourfulness), and Da Baban (Great Eight Beats). The qupai pieces, represented by Liuqing Niang (Madam Liuqing), often contain fewer beats than sixty-eight. Differing from the regional zheng in the North, each Chaozhou zheng piece often contains multiple  40  Thrasher’s research has shown that the two ensemble forms share great similarities, although a higher skill level is required to perform xiyue (Thrasher 2008:8). 39  sections. In addition, individual pieces can be tied together to become a larger suite, known as lian taoqu (joined suites) (Li 1992:8). Chaozhou zheng traditionally use a shorter zheng, often with a more convex top and sixteen metal strings. Chaozhou zheng music utilizes both ersi and gongche notation, which will be further discussed in this chapter.41 Unique to ersi notation are four diao (scales or modes),42 each denoting a selection of five or six tones arranged within one octave and sharing the same tonal centre: qing sanliu (light three-six), qingsan zhongliu (light three and heavy six), zhong sanliu (heavy three-six), and huowu (lively five) or huo sanwu (lively three-five).43 A fifth diao, fanxian (reverse string), a term most likely derived from reversing the tuning of a two-string fiddle, has a different tonal centre. I will discuss the diao in relation to the left-hand technique later in this chapter. The Chaozhou zheng has developed a wealth of left-hand techniques to enable the strings to be bent to the specific pitches in each different scale, and also to perform subtle nuances that mirror tonal changes in its spoken language. The right-hand technique is not as complex, with the most idiosyncratic technique being cui, plucking with combinations of the right thumb and the first and middle fingers. Different types of cui are utilized in a range of tempi to create density and rhythmic variations with the main melodic notes, which will be discussed later. The lineage of traditional Chaozhou zheng musicians can only be traced back three or four generations to the early twentieth century. Nevertheless, the number of well41  Local zheng musicians stated that ersi notation was vocalized with Chaozhou dialect, which made it difficult to propagate; therefore, it was partially replaced by gongche notation (Lin and Chen 1981:41). However, Chinese theorists believe that the adoption of gongche notation was a result of playing qupai, which was written in gongche notation (Zheng and Cai 1983:105). 42 The term diao is used for both scales and modes, and does not differentiate between them. I differentiate scales from modes where appropriate. 43 “Light” refers to an open string, and “heavy” refers to a string pressed to raise the pitch to changes scales from the open tuning. 40  known Chaozhou musicians exceeds that of any other region for traditional zheng. The first generation includes Hong Peichen (1866-1916) and Li Jiating, as well as Lin Yongzhi (1892-1928) who introduced the Chaozhou zheng to northern China in 1924. Notable second generation musicians are Su Wenxian (1907-1971) and Guo Ying (19142002), both who contributed greatly in teaching the Chaozhou style in conservatories. The representative musicians of the third generation include Lin Maogen (1929-2007) and Yang Xiuming (b.1935), both still performing and teaching today.  2.1.4  Hakka Style The term Hakka, meaning “guest” (kejia) in Mandarin Chinese, refers to one of  the oldest groups of Han Chinese that previously resided in central China. Between the eighth and twelfth centuries they migrated to escape two major wars in the North44 to settle in Meizhou and Dapu of eastern Guangdong, and the region has since been known as the Hakka district. Hakka music is officially known as Guangdong Hanyue (Cantonese Han Music), a name assigned by the government after the founding of the P.R.C. (Zhongguo 1985:129). Yet it is more commonly known as handiao (tunes of the Han), zhongzhou gudiao (ancient tunes of the Central Plain), and waijiang xian (strings of foreign rivers), titles that tie the music tradition to its origin in central-northern China. Traditional Hakka zheng are utilized in two instrumental genres: sixian (silk string) or he xiansuo (to join in playing xiansuo), and qingyue (pure music). While sixian  44  A military revolt led by An Lushan, an ex-Tang general, turned into a civil war between 755 and 763. The severe damage cost by this war marked the beginning of the end of the Tang dynasty. In 1125 Jurchen (Jin), a northern kingdom, declared war on the Chinese, which forced the Song imperial court to move its capital from Kaifeng, Henan, to the southern city of Hangzhou, Zhejiang. 41  is performed by a larger ensemble,45 the zheng plays a more prominent role in qingyue, which also includes the yehu (two-string coconut fiddle) and pipa. Qingyue is also known as rujiayue (Confucian’s music), as it is believed to contain ancient Han music that is refined and elegant. Hakka musician Luo Jiuxiang (1902-1978) declared: “Qingyue is first-rate, like those who are commonly called Confucian scholars. The so-called Confucian scholars are not necessarily erudite cognoscenti, but rather people who value elegance and refinement over mere technique” (Luo cited in Ju 1995:194, translated from the Chinese). The Hakka zheng repertoire is divided into two types: 1) dadiao (great tunes), all in baban form; and 2) chuandiao (minor tunes), a collection of qupai tunes from Hanju opera and other local opera genres (Shi 1985:2). The best-known dadiao melodies include Chushui Lian (Lotus Emerging From Water), Yashan Ai (Anguish At The Cliff), Xunfeng Qu (Tune of Warm Breeze), and Zhaojun Yuan (Sorrow Of Madam Zhaojun). The chuandiao repertoire includes famous pieces, such as Jiaochuang Yeyu (The Night Rain Tapping on the Window), Xiaotao Hong (Red Little Peach), and Yi Dian Jin (A Piece of Gold). Most pieces in both repertoires were arranged and notated in gongche pu by He Yuzhai (He 1993:281), the oldest known Hakka zheng musician, complied in two score manuscripts: Zhongzhou Gudiao (Ancient Tunes from the Central Plain) and Hangao Jiupu (Old Tune from the Hanjiang River) (He 2008). Structurally the Hakka zheng shares certain similarities with the Chaozhou, in that each piece can contain multiple sections, and each section can be repeated (Shi 1985:1). In addition, a combination of individual pieces can also be played together as a larger  45  A sixian ensemble usually contains the erxian (two-string fiddle), yehu, zheng, yueqin (lute), pipa, sanxian and dizi. 42  suite. The two common scales, yingxian (hard string) and ruanxian (soft string), are the equivalent to Chaozhou’s “light” and “heavy” sanliu.46 The traditional Hakka zheng has sixteen strings. The right hand middle finger is highlighted, as phrases are often led by the middle finger playing either the downbeat or accents on syncopated phrases. Like the Chaozhou zheng, left-hand technique involves bending strings to obtain alternate pitches and ornaments. However, Hakka melodies are less embellished compared with the Chaozhou style. There is little record of the older generation of Hakka zheng musicians before the twentieth century. The most influential musicians of the twentieth century are He Yuzhai (1886-1943) and Luo Jiuxiang (1902-1978). He Yuzhai brought the zheng to the most important urban cultural centre at the time by founding Yixiang She (Tranquil Sound Association), a music club in Shanghai in 1932. Luo was active in teaching and propagating the Hakka zheng from the 1950s to the 1970s. Together these two men handed down the Hakka repertoire and performance techniques. The younger generation of prominent traditional Hakka performers include Chen Anhua (b. 1940) and Rao Ningxin (b.1941), both of whom taught at the Xinghai Music Conservatory in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province.  2.1.5  Fujian (Min) Style Fujian province, also known as Min, is on China’s southeast coast. The traditional  Fujian zheng shares a cultural background with Hakka and Chaozhou zheng, as it is  46  Modal systems in Chaozhou and Hakka music are complex and prominent in defining the traditions and have, therefore, been an important subject for scholarly study. Alan Thrasher’s research on the subject is thus far the most comprehensive among non-Chinese language sources (Thrasher 1988, 2002 and 2008). 43  found in the southwest of the province,47 close to the border with east Guangdong. This region is a hub for old Chinese Han culture where many local families chronicle ancestors originating in Central China. Fujian zheng originally had twelve or thirteen silk strings, as did those used in Tang and Song imperial court music. By the middle of the twentieth century, however, most musicians had changed to the sixteen-string Chaozhou zheng instead (Chen 1986:29). The zheng plays a leading role in the regional ensemble genre known as heyue (unified or harmonious music), which includes the xian (two-string fiddle), xiao, small sanxian, and shuangqing, a four string long-neck lute rarely seen in other traditional genres across the country. Like other traditional zheng styles, the Fujian solo zheng repertoire derives from ensemble music, in this case heyue. Fujian zheng performance is closer to that of Hakka than Chaozhou, with an emphasis on simplicity and fewer embellishments, yet the repertoire more closely resembles Chaozhou melodically and in piece titles. Musically the locals “did not play Chaozhou music, only revered the ancient music” (Chen 1993:285, translated from the Chinese). Unlike other regional zheng forms, baban is not found within the style nor mentioned by local musicians, which may suggest that the origin of this style predates baban. The representative pieces include Wuyi Pinglan (Casually Leaning on the Rail), Qingting Dianshui (A Dragonfly Touching Lightly on the Water), Tan Gu Luan (Sighing Over Widowhood), and Jiaolong Tuzhu (Water Dragon Spewing Pearls). Idiosyncratic performance techniques include the right middle finger plucking inward consecutively on  47  Fujian zheng is predominantly located in Yunxiao, Zhao’an, Zhangpu and Dongshan counties. 44  two adjacent strings,48 and rapidly muting a string with the edge of the right hand after plucking to create staccato. Zheng performance in southwest Fujian was documented as early as the seventeenth century according to Chen Maojin, the most prominent traditional zheng musician of this style.49 From 1875 to the 1950s several generations of the local Zhang family from Zhao’an were famous for playing the zheng, with techniques handed down through a female family member (Chen 1986:25), the only such case of female dissemination in the traditional zheng practice. Tang Guocheng (1864-1937) was the first known zheng player from Yunxiao county, whose student Chen Youzhang (1909-1963) was credited with collecting the scores and propagating the style nationally (Chen 1986:25-26).  2.1.6  Zhejiang (Wulin) Style The Zhejiang zheng is found in Hangzhou (the capital of Zhejiang province) and  its vicinity in southeastern China. Although Hangzhou was the capital of the Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279) where classical zheng music was popular,50 traditional zheng in this region do not suggest any direct relationship with Court zheng performance. The Zhejiang zheng was used as a non-essential instrument in ensembles to accompany  48  A similar finger gesture is used with the Japanese koto. A 1644 text stated: “There is an accomplished zheng player named Pu Shuigang, who knows over a hundred pieces. He has studied the zheng for over forty years and perfected ten different fingerings. His technique is above others’ and [he] has many students” (Chen 1986:25). 50 Wulin Jiushi (Old Story of Wulin, Zhou c. 1150) mentioned that several dozens of zheng performers once served at the Court music bureau (jiaofang). It also documented the titles of solo zheng pieces as well duet works performed by zheng and pipa. 49  45  tanhuang, a narrative singing tradition that came into fashion on the southeast coast around the 1700s (Zhongguo 1985:384).51 The Zhejiang zheng has fifteen strings and its repertoire and performance techniques differ a great deal from other regional zheng. The repertoire is drawn from several instrumental genres, including: 1) Sihe Ruyi (Quadra Harmony and Gratification) and Yun Qing (Cloud Celebration) from silk-bamboo music, an instrumental ensemble genre popular in regions of China’s southeast coast; 2) Yue’er Gao (The High Moon), Jiangjun Ling (General’s Command), and other works from the Xiansuo Shisantao (Thirteen Suites of String Music), an 1814 score collection for string ensemble; and 3) Haiqing Nahe (Falcon Catches Swan) and other solo pipa works. The influence of pipa techniques can be clearly seen in Zhejiang zheng. Typical techniques include yao (using the right thumb to play long tremolo) and sidian (four points), also known as kuai sidian (fast four points), a group of four sixteenth notes played by different combinations of the right thumb and the first and second fingers in fast tempi, as well two hands plucking. In my opinion these idiosyncratic Zhejiang zheng techniques create a more powerful sound and greater versatility than other zheng styles, which made the instrument an ideal choice for creating new compositions following the artistic criteria under communist political agenda in the 1950s. In addition, techniques of plucking with two hands opened the door to adopting western influenced techniques, such as playing chords and arpeggios, and compositional methods, such as the use of counterpoint. Consequently the Zhejiang zheng was uniquely positioned as a bridge between the traditional and contemporary zheng. 51  A Tanhuang performance can include from five to eleven performers, with the main instruments being the erhu, pipa, sanxian, clapper and drum. The zheng, together with the sheng, is added when performed as a seven-piece ensemble (Sheng 2007:192). 46  Wang Xunzhi (1899-1972), a zheng performer and educator, studied with the historically little-known Jiang Yinchun but went on to become the primary artist in the establishment of Zhejiang zheng. In the 1920s Wang performed the zheng in Shanghai, and returned again to start teaching at the Shanghai Music Conservatory in 1956 where he and his students arranged and notated all the pieces he had collected.52 Most of his students became prominent contemporary zheng musicians.  52  Xiang Sihua, one of Wang’s top students, said: “Falcon Catches Swan and The High Moon were arranged after 1960. Fan Shang’e, Sun Wenyan (two other zheng students at the Conservatory), and myself all helped” (Xiang 2009, personal communication). 47  2.2 Compositional Structure of Traditional Zheng Music  Traditional zheng music was largely created upon an inherited compositional form called baban53—a qupai54 (named tune) which contains a sixty-eight beat long melody. The use of inherited compositional forms is a practice shared by many Asian musical traditions, in which the most valued form of composition often faithfully follows a pre-existing framework such as a fixed rhythmic cycle, a melodic form, or a modal structure. As such, these frameworks are defined by tradition and contain the fundamental elements essential for artistic creation. The qupai tunes were used as compositional forms that were referred to as “mother tunes” (muqu) (Cheng 1983:262), or “bone tunes” (gudiao, a term known to the Hakka musicians) by traditional musicians, as Chinese zheng performer and educator Shi Zhaoyuan (b.1932) states: “[Old tunes] are simple, as only the basic principles are notated. Musicians in the past called these “bone tunes”…[through musician’s transformation], the melody of the “bone tune” is enriched with changes in pitch, time, rhythm, and tempo” (1985:6, translated from the Chinese). As a compositional framework, baban not only allows, but in fact calls, for further development and embellishment; it is regimented with numerous rules and 53  Baban is the framework for many traditional Chinese instrumental genres. Although referred to as baban (eight beats) or lao baban (old eight beats) in all the traditional zheng styles, it is also known as liuban (six beats) or lao liuban (old six beats) in other genres, such as Sizhu (Silk Bamboo), an ensemble genre popular in Shanghai and other regions along the Southeast coast of China. 54 The term qupai refers to melodies over which poetry was sung from as early as the Tang and Song dynasties. As each qupai has a title (usually drawn from the original lyrics of a poem), they are commonly referred to as “named tunes”, “labeled tunes” or “fixed tunes.” Qupai were a source for later works of dramatic and narrative singing, as well as compositional structures for instrumental music in the later imperial dynasties. In Laurence Picken’s studies of early Chinese music, he states: “One of the most fascinating musical features of these early operas is the use of a label, the cheupair (qu pai), or song-label, for each verse-form. The cheupair is a fragment of a cheu poem, usually consisting of three characters, and its function is to recall to the reader the structure of that particular verse-form. Its function may be compared with that of the metrical formulas in hymnals in the West which indicate to what type of melody hymn text can be sung or for what texts a given tune is suitable” (1960:115).  48  restrictions, yet at the same time these rules have almost all been stretched or broken at some point. It nurtured freedom for creativity, such that each individual artist who performed it chose to engage as a composer to various degrees, from only slight variations to adding a substantial amount of new material to the existing framework. As a result, a wide variety of new pieces were developed over time that embraced different regional styles as well as personal interpretations, and some have become standardized variants. Through baban, zheng music embodied a cultural continuity and a collective identity, and as such could be deemed “people’s music.” Two prominent Chinese music theorists, Ye Dong and Yuan Jingfang, discuss the use of the baban form in Shandong pengbaban, Henan bantou qu, Chaozhou Xianshi, and Hakka zheng music (Ye 1983:139-59, Yuan 1987:162-69). Even though summary descriptions of the form are provided in their studies, detailed analyses of how baban is practically used to create compositions is lacking. Further, cursory discussions undertaken with musicians and their performance practice as an integral part of its composition are unusual, as the relationship is assumed. With this in mind, below I will examine the basic structures of baban as it pertains to the zheng and then follow with a discussion of the techniques, philosophy, and consequences of the musician as composer in baban.  2.2.1  Baban Beat-Form and its Variations Ba means “eight” in Mandarin, while ban holds multiple meanings. Ban is the  name for clappers that function as the timekeeper to mark the accented beat in many operatic and narrative singing traditions; therefore, the term ban came to refer to accented  49  beats. As a vestige of the operatic tradition in instrumental music, the notion of “ban” in baban defines three rhythmic and structural elements underlying the form: “accented beat,” “phrase,” and “section.” The essential structural parameter for baban is documented in Yi Suzi’s 1762 text “Baban Mingyuan” (Explanation of the Name Baban): When the ancients first began composing, they had a score, which had to have beats, called “ban.” Each piece had a total of 68 ban, divided into eight phrases called “jie.” Each phrase begins with a ban, therefore the total of eight ban. “Eight ban” is the foundation of all scores, and the gateway to learning. Too many scores eventually lead to chaos, and too much clever fingering leads to a lack of standards. (cited in Yuan 1987:162, translated from the Chinese) The earliest notation of the baban “mother tune” is found in the scorebook Xiansuo Beikao (Rong 1814, in Cao and Li 1955).55 In the original baban, each of the sixty-eight beats is a “ban,” or accented beat (see Figure 2.4).56  55  Originally notated in the gongche system, the baban melody was transcribed in staff notation, and was included in Shiliu Ban (Sixteen Beats), the first piece in the book, as a second reference system to demonstrate the root and the relationship between the melodies of baban and Shiliu Ban as well as that of the four instrumental systems of the zheng, pipa, sanxian, and huqin. A time signature of 2/4 is given to the transcription of baban melody in Xiansuo Beikao. In western music theory this would then suggest that each measure only has one ban (strong beat), which is incorrect and misleading. I use ¼ for the transcription of the baban melody, which indicates each single beat being a strong beat and reflects the true sense of ban, accented beat. 56 Although the 68-beat baban is known as the earliest notated baban melody, over time many baban variants have been created which contain from 42, 44, 48, 50, 52, 56, 60, and 64 to 76 beats. Chinese scholars identify and categorize modified baban variants as pieces that only have babantou (baban head) or babanwei (baban tail), or describe cutting the beginning or ending of baban as zhantou quwei (decapitating head and docking tail; Ye 1983:140). Subsequently, the number of beats in each piece can vary greatly. The baban form and its variants can also be seen in the titles of numerous pieces, such as Lao Baban (Old Eight Beats), Dan Baban (Single Eight Beats), Liu Baban (Six Beats), Lao Liuban (Old Six Beats), and Hua Liuban (Flower Six Beats). Furthermore, since this mother tune was considered universal, baban pieces also include titles such as Tianxia Tong or Tianxia Datong (Universal Unison). 50  Figure 2-4 Baban mother tune. 57  In the process of creating new pieces, the original baban is varied by either increasing the density of the original beats, or/and inserting extra beats to augment the original beat-form as well as contracting back to the original. The compositional method used to create variations is bianzou—“to play with change” or “to vary”—a term commonly used by Chinese musicologists in the study of traditional instrumental genres. Although traditional zheng musicians, including my teachers, used the term bianzou later in their career, the traditional terms for variation differed from region to region, including: 1) the Shandong and Henan term jiahua (to add flowers); 2) the Chaozhou  57  The music examples presented in this chapter are written in cipher notation, the most common system utilized for traditional zheng music today. The cipher notation includes: 1 (do), 2 (re), 3 (mi), 4 (fa), 5 (sol), 6 (la), 7(ti). A dot below a note indicates a lower octave, and a dot above a note indicates a higher octave. 51  term zaoju (to make phrases); and 3) the Hakka terms tianzi58 (to add) and jianzi (to subtract). One of the primary methods of jiahua (adding flowers) is yuanban jiahua (adding flowers to the original beats), which is to vary the mother tune through interpolating new tones in between those of the original, and either displacing their original metric positions or dropping them. The following example is a comparison between the first sixteen beats of the original baban melody and Putian Tongqing (Universal Celebration), a Shandong piece (see Figure 2.5).  Figure 2-5 Excerpt from Putian Tongqing (Universal Celebration).  This example illustrates that the original beat-form remains unchanged. With minor variations the original baban notes are doubled, either in unison or octaves, and a number of hua (flower) glissandi are inserted after the main notes on the down beat of the first and ninth measures (indicated by a slur). The resulting new piece is much livelier, with every beat emphasized providing a strident support for the melody.  58  The term “zi” refers to the Chinese characters used in traditional notations; reducing or adding “characters” connotes adding or reducing notes. 52  Another variation technique is tianyan (adding yan) jiahua. Yan refers to weak beat and by adding yan after each ban, the original beat-form is lengthened. Commonly one or three yan are added after each ban, known as yiban yiyan (one ban and one yan, commonly notated in 2/4) or yiban sanyan (one ban and three yan, commonly notated in 4/4). Furthermore, adding yan can also be simultaneously combined with halving the meter of the mother tune (e.g., an eight-note value in the original baban is augmented to two beats, each with a quarter note value), thus quadrupling the length of the piece. This is known as fangmanjiahua (slowing down [the beat] and adding flowers). Thrasher summarises: “With the tempo decrease, weak beats (yan) are added—a single weak beat for moderate-tempo decrease (2/4), three weak beats for a still slower tempo (4/4), or seven weak beats for the slowest (8/4). With the slowing of tempo, the basic structure of the melodic model is maintained, the stable parameters being the fixed beat pattern (in augmented forms), the melodic length (e.g., 68 beats), and the pitches coinciding with strong beat (ban) and at cadences” (2008:130). An example of this beat-form change can be seen in Hangong Qiuyue (Moon Shining on the Han Palace; see Figure 2.6).  53  Figure 2-6 Excerpt from Hangong Qiuyue (Han Palace in the Autumn Moon).  Jianzi (reducing notes) subtracts beats after the original beat-form is expanded in the slower section. Often jianzi is used to create fast sections of a piece, the opposite to the outcome of fangman jiahua (slowing down and adding flowers). It should be noted that traditional gongche notation does not have tempo indications. Instead, the tempo is implied in the compositional method used in creating the piece or a section, thus it is typical to begin with fangman (slowing down) and/or tianyan (adding weak beats) jiahua (section A), then move to yuanban jiahua (adding density on the original beats; section B) and finish with jianzi (contracting beats and/or density; section C, see Figure 2.7).  54  Figure 2-7 Comparison of the first two phrases of the three sections of Xunfeng Qu (Tune of Warm Breeze), also known as Da Baban (The Great Baban).  2.2.2  Symmetry and Endnotes The second meaning of ban defines phrase. The baban melody is divided into  eight phrases in total, each containing eight beats, with an exception found in the fifth phrase, which has 12 beats (8+4). Some believe that the baban structure and the significance of the number “eight” is a reflection of bagua, the Eight Trigrams, a philosophical template to track changes in the book of Yi Jing/I Ching.59 The extra four beats in the fifth phrase correlates to the four seasons of spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Both “four” and “eight” are important numbers in Chinese culture, which  59  The total sixty-four beats come from the sixty-four combinations of hexagrams of the Eight Trigrams of qian, kun, zhen, gen, li, kan, dui, and xun. 55  symbolize stability and symmetry (Du 2004:148).60 Others believe the symmetrical structures in baban are clearly vestiges of earlier vocal traditions: In history, instrumental music was greatly influenced by vocal music; the structure of vocal music was determined by the form of poems. Therefore, it should not be accidental that the basic Chinese poetic forms, i.e., antithetical couplet (duilian), quatrain (jueju), and eight-line regulated verse (lüshi), also have the proportions of 2:4:8 lines. The matching of musical form with poetic forms provides us with a strong reason to consider that all the artistic forms chosen by Chinese are based on the same historical cultural and aesthetic root. (Xue 1999:91) The principle of stability of an even number (2, 4, and 8) is also evident in the pitch arrangement of the phrase endnotes of baban.61 The five tones of the Chinese pentatonic scale are gong (do), shang (re), jue (mi), zhi (sol), and yu (la), and among them gong is considered the most prominent. A famous statement “Gong is the master of all tones” by Zhou Jiu (c. 540 BCE) was documented in the Guoyu Zhouyu (States Discourse—Discourse of Zhou), one of the earliest Chinese classics. In the original baban melody, the pitches of the endnote for the eight phrases are (in order): shang (re), zhi (sol), shang (re), zhi (sol), gong (do), gong (do), gong (do), and gong (do). Gong is by far the most important and stable note, therefore it appears as the endnote in all four phrases in the second half of the piece (even). Zhi (sol) is less stable compared with gong, but more stable than shang (re), therefore it is employed as the endnote in the first two even-numbered phrases: two and four. My study of Shandong zheng repertoire indicates that in the course of creating new compositions the endnotes of the original baban  60  Four and eight are reflected in the layout of many of the classical architectures in Beijing. The ancient Chinese instruments were categorized as bayin, eight sounds. The Forbidden City features a total eight gates, four being the main gates. The phrase siping bawen (four being even and eight being stable) is used as a Chinese idiom. Philippine ethnomusicologist José Maceda discusses the interrelationship of the number four in music and ancient architecture in his article “The Structure of Principal Court Musics of East and Southeast Asia” (Maceda 2001:143-78). 61 The term “endnote” indicates the final note of each phrase of baban, which is analogous to “final” and “cofinal” in Western modal theory. 56  function as “anchors,” therefore pitch alternation seldom appears in even numbered phrases. Since the last four phrases are in the second half of the piece, which is even compared with the first half, a greater restriction of symmetry and stability are hence exercised with no phrase endnotes being altered in the baban variants. This reinforces the underlying structure of the mother tune, while allowing slight pitch changes in the first and third phrase only.62 Furthermore, symmetry is present in the progression of the eight phrases of baban, which form four stages, each containing two phrases. Evident in Chinese poetry, opera, and music composition, this well established organizational concept is known as qi, cheng, zhuan, and he, translated as “initiation,” “continuation,” “deviation,” and “reunification.” Ye Dong, the late Chinese musicologist, summarizes the corresponding relationship among the four stages of baban: The melodic line and endnotes between qi (initiation) and cheng (continuation) correspond. Zhuan (deviation) converges expansion of the phrase structure and changes endnote, while he (reunification) reinforces this new endnote and recapitulates the melody introduced in the stage of zhuan. It resolves the melody and brings stability and settlement [of the piece]. (1983:144, translated from the Chinese) Baban zheng repertoire suitably demonstrates this theory, as both the endnotes in the second and fourth phrase are zhi (sol), which reveals the corresponding relationship between the stage of “initiation” and “continuation.” Then the endnote is switched to gong (do) at the fifth phrase, the stage of “deviation,” and gong (do) reappears in the last phrase as “reunification.” An additional four beats inserted in the fifth phrase, the  62  The entire repertoire of the First Great Suite of the Shandong, as well as a large number of pieces from the southern styles, follow this rule strictly. I found that the endnotes in even-numbered phrases in those pieces is identical to that of the original baban melody, while occasionally shang, the endnote for the first and third phrases, are replaced by gong.  57  beginning of the stage of “deviation,” break the normal length of an eight-beat phrase creating a temporary imbalance that seeks stability. This stability is achieved by introducing a new endnote—gong (do)—and the return of the eight-beat phrases (see Figure 2.8).  Figure 2-8 Phrase structure and endnotes of baban.  2.2.3  Section The third meaning of ban is “section.” In southern styles, especially Chaozhou  baban repertoire, each piece often contains multiple ban or sections: touban (the first and slow section), erban (the second and moderate section), sanban (the third and fast section), and kaopai or kaoda (whipped beat, a section featuring syncopated beats). While each section individually contains the baban form of sixty-eight beats, three or more sections are often performed concurrently as one complete composition. 58  In Shandong zheng “section” refers to one division of a suite of pieces; each of these pieces can be played individually as a composition. Each section contains from one to four individual pieces of a baban variant, dependant on the tempo. For instance, the “First Great Suite,” the main repertoire of the Shandong zheng, is comprised of four ban or sections—touban (the first section), erban (the second section), sanban (the third section), and siban (the fourth section), encompassing a total of eight pieces. The first section contains the longest and slowest piece, the second a shorter and slightly faster piece, the third two faster and shorter pieces still, and the fourth four short fast pieces. As pieces progressively become shorter and faster, more pieces are added to a section so that a relative balance and symmetry is maintained between sections (see Figure 2.9).  59  Figure 2-9 The “First Great Suite” of the traditional Shandong.  60  2.3 Sheng and Yin: Examining Performance Technique in the Context of Traditional Composition  In modern Chinese the word for “sound” is shengyin, a combination of two characters—sheng and yin—which in classical Chinese denote “sound” and “music” respectively. The interrelationship between these two words was the guiding principle for making music in China’s past, as the Yueji (Record of Music), one of the earliest Chinese music sources, states: “All music (yin) rises from the human heart. Emotion stirs, taking shape as sound (sheng). Sound refined in patterns is music (yin)” (Gongsun c. 1st. cent. BCE, translated from the Chinese). The combination of sheng and yin is mirrored in the construction and performance of the zheng, as each string has a different but interrelated function on either side of its bridge. The right hand initiates the sound by plucking the open strings to the right side of the bridges, which are tuned to the anhemitonic pentatonic scale of gong (do), shang (re), jue (mi), zhi (sol), and yu (la); and the left hand manipulates the sound by pressing and releasing the strings on the untuned left side of the bridges. The performer creates rhythmic complexity and density on the right hand, while using extensive left-hand techniques to add melodic refinement. The two sides of the strings thus perform different functions, yet unite in a single purpose: to initiate sound (sheng), then shape and refine it into music (yin). In the study of traditional zheng, techniques of playing the instrument are often viewed as simply part of performance practice. Commonly overlooked is the inseparable connection between performance practice and the traditional process of composing 61  music, in which performance techniques form idiomatic patterns used for composition. As Judith Becker states: The musician in an oral tradition…has mastered a technique of composition, based on the manipulation of formulas, which allows him to perform and compose at the same moment. For this musician, the moment of performance is the moment of creation. (1980:20) Many traditional zheng performance techniques were, in practice, compositional methods, as compositions were created “in the course of performance” (Nettl 1986:392). In this section I will discuss performance technique for both hands, concentrating on their functions in the music creation process. In this context I am examining performance techniques as an integral compositional method in the context of traditional Chinese aesthetics. This will provide a better understanding of the roles that the musicians played in the creation process.  2.3.1  Right-hand Technique: Sound Initiation Melodic expansion is at the core of even the most fundamental right-hand  technique. Three examples examined here include: 1) the basic plucking pattern gou and da; 2) cui, a variation technique used in the south; and 3) the use of hua, glissando in the Shandong zheng. Traditional right-hand techniques are primarily fingering patterns combining the first and middle finger playing inward, known as gou, and the thumb playing outward, known as da (allowing for alternative terms used in different regions). Most often the thumb and middle finger either play together in octaves to emphasize the beginning of a phrase, or alternate between octaves, usually led by the middle finger. When an interval  62  is smaller than an octave, the first finger is used instead of the middle finger. These finger movements, according to traditional musicians, followed the principle of “begin with low [note] then follow with high [note]; start out heavily then follow lightly,” which was articulated in the poetic essay The Odes to Zheng (Ruan d. 212, in Ouyang 624, translated from the Chinese).63 Hakka musician He Yuzhai identified eight essential patterns of gou and da, naming them bafa (Eight Methods; see Figure 2.10).  Figure 2-10 Bafa: Eight Fingering Patterns by He Yuzhai (He 2008:180), written in gongche notation on the left, and transcribed into cipher notation on the right.  The first pattern in Figure 2.10, “he dang” contains two notes (sol [5]) in different octaves, played by alternating the middle finger and thumb. This short passage then becomes the basis for expansion and variations that include the first finger to form the 63  In the poem, “low” and “high” are depicted as da (big) and xiao (small). In classical Chinese, da and xiao (also written as tai and shao) are used in descriptions of low and high sounds (e.g., a drum with low sound is called dagu, or taiko in Japanese). The terms are also found in the inscription on the Zenghuo Yi chime bell (433 BCE), where the lower octave bells are marked with “tai,” and the higher octave bells are marked with “shao” (Zhongguo 1985:383).  63  other seven patterns (He 2008:181). Although He Yuzhai designated these as Hakka patterns, they embody the basic right-hand technique true to all the traditional styles. Kuai sidian, or “fast four points” of Zhejiang, is a typical example of the development of right-hand fingering technique. This technique features the basic patterns played either by the thumb and the middle finger alternating between two octaves, shown as the first pattern in the bafa, or in the order of “middle finger, thumb, first finger, thumb,” shown in pattern number five (the latter illustrated in Figure 2.11).  Figure 2-11 Excerpt from Sanshisan Ban (Thirty-three Beats) of Zhejiang zheng.  The approach of varying the nucleus shown in the Bafa is a clear demonstration of jiahua augmentation and jianzi reduction, two principle compositional methods in the traditional zheng repertoire discussed earlier. He Song, He Yuzhai’s grandson, also states that the technical development is directly related to the difficulty level of pieces in the  64  repertoire, which indicates that the level of creativity corresponds with a musician’s command of variation techniques.64 Another example of melodic expansion is found in the employment of cui, particularly in Chaozhou style. Cui “is a common technique for variation” (Lin and Chen 1981:42). Cui can be translated as “to increase” or “to propel.” The term cui was used as a prominent tempo mark for acceleration in daqu (great suite), a genre performed as banquet music in the imperial court from the Sui to Song dynasties (581-1279), and later in opera traditions. On the zheng, cui signifies creating melodic variations through increasing note density by rearticulating a given note at one of several possible levels of subdivision of the pulse, without changing its total duration. A large stock of formalized patterns of cui were developed by Chaozhou musicians, with the most common being dancui (single cui) to rearticulate a given note once;65 shuangcui (double cui) to rearticulate a given note three times; shuangdie cui (quadruple cui) to rearticulate a given note seven times; and zhuliu (insert six) 66 to interpolate the fifth of the scale in between two melodic notes (see Figure 2.12).67  64  He Song states: “The eight patterns are applicable to all the pieces included in the two score manuscripts: Zhongzhou Gudiao (Ancient Tunes from the Central Plain) and Hangao Jiupu (Old Tune from the Hanjiang River). [As a beginner], the player usually starts with Jiaochuang Yeyu (The Night Rain Tapping on the Window), a piece with fewer ban [sections]…After practicing more, when the player has a better command of the techniques, move to play Xunfeng Qu (Tune of Warm Breeze)” (2008:182, translated from the Chinese). Jiaochuang Yeyu is not a baban piece and traditionally did not contain substantial rhythmic variation or tempo changes, while Xunfeng Qu includes many sections with a gradual reduction of beats and acceleration in each succeeding section. 65 “Single cui” shares the same principle of yuanban jiahua (adding flowers to the original beats), discussed earlier in this chapter, which is to create new melodies by only increasing the note densities of the original baban without changing the beat value. 66 The number “six” here refers to the six in gongche notation, which is the equivalent to sol in cipher notation. 67 A similar technique is also found in the Hakka style known as zhu (to insert). Three common types of zhu are: 1) zhuliu, to insert sol of the scale in between two melodic notes; 2) zhuche, to insert re in between two melodic notes; and 3) zhufo, to insert a short glissando inbetween two melodic notes. 65  Figure 2-12 Basic types of the technique cui.  Cui is often applied to “propel” music when a melody moves from a slower section to a faster section. Sometimes the tempo does not necessarily increase in the new section, yet as the note density increases, a continued acceleration is perceived. A musician’s choice of using a specific type of cui is determined by the character of the piece s/he intends to create: lively or lyrical, faster or slower. Another right-hand technique used in melodic elaboration is jiahua. Although jiahua was discussed earlier as a term for augmentation in composition, it also designates a right-hand technique of inserting hua (flowers) or glissandi in a melodic frame. There are two main usages of hua: one as grace notes played as anacrusis, the other as integrated in a melody played in time. Although all traditional styles add glissandi, Shandong zheng is distinguished by its marked use of jiahua, with abundant use of glissandi throughout many pieces, especially those in faster tempi (see Figure 2.13).  66  Figure 2-13 Excerpt of Yejing Luanling (Tinkling Bells in the Still of the Night).  The application of jiahua creates excitement in the music, and its use in Shandong zheng was an overt display of virtuosity referred to by musicians as “one smart move” (yizhao xian; Zhao 1983:38, translated from the Chinese), in contrast to the performance criteria of southern styles.68 Gongche notation marked glissandi in the scores with the written character for hua (flower); as a result, gongche notation for Shandong zheng is named huazi gongche pu, or flower gongche notation (a score written in huazi gongche notation will be included in the next section; see Figure 2.21).  2.3.2  Left-hand Technique: Manipulating Sound The zheng is distinguished by left-hand techniques that shape and colour the  sound creating a prominent aesthetic known in traditional zheng music as yun. The allocation of different functions between the two hands and their interrelationship, with the right hand plucking to the right of the bridges and the left hand depressing and  68  Overuse of glissando is considered bad taste in the south, especially in the Hakka style, whose music is famous for carrying the essence of Confucian aesthetics: refinement and introspection. The differences in preference for the jiahua technique might be understood in the different functions that the two styles embody. The Shandong zheng was employed in an ensemble performing with qinshu narrative singing as entertainment, while Hakka small ensembles, such as sixian (silk string) and qingyue (pure music), were mostly played for self-cultivation. 67  releasing strings on the left, is known as yiyun busheng (using yun to enrich sound). Yun is in common usage in the Chinese language, however, it is quite a complex term carrying over a hundred connotations that are largely related to prosody, poetry, sophistication, refinement, and beauty, such as yun (vowel), qingyun (feeling or emotional tone), yayun (to rhyme), fengyun (inner gracefulness), or youyun (the delight of elegant reclusion). Many of these connotations apply to zheng music, and using yun to “enrich” sound (yiyun busheng) was an important part of traditional composition. However, yun, or what comprises yun, has not yet been unequivocally defined, since often it is presumed understood as a common parlance in zheng discourse; as zheng performer/educator Zhou Yanjia stated: “using yun to enrich the sound (yiyun busheng) is expected” (1986:34). As there is no clear definition of the term yun in zheng music, for the purpose of this discussion I describe it as lingering tones that carry designated pitch movements and embody subtlety and nuance, which resonate with emotion, sophistication, and charm. The left-hand techniques to create yun can be largely categorized into six different types69 serving three main purposes: 1) vibrato; 2) portamento; and 3) pitch alteration. 1) Yin  : a light vibrato carried out in numerous ways. Yin connotes “to sing”  or “to sigh” in classical Chinese. For a single note the vibrato can be long or short, realized at a uniform speed whether slow or rapid, or varied in speed throughout the note’s decay. This technique adds a subtle emotive vocalistic quality and is widely used in all styles.  69  Categorization of and terminology used for the left-hand techniques differ by region, individual musician, generation, and level of details. The categories listed here comprise my own summary, which utilizes commonly accepted terms in zheng music combined with my own definitions based on a personal understanding of the terms and experiences as a zheng performer. 68  2) Zhan  : a heavy vibrato (slow or rapid) with audible pitch alteration. Like  yin, it makes a note “sing,” however, heavy vibrato is a typical vocal style found particularly in operas and narrative singing genres in northern China. As a result, zhan is commonly used in Shandong and Henan styles, which are generally considered dramatic and earthy. 3) Hua  : a single string portamento or slide in one direction (either up or down  in pitch). Each string on the zheng can be easily depressed, causing up to a minor third fluctuation in pitch. Pitch bending is a reflection of the tonal nature of the Chinese languages transmitted from chanted poetry and other vocal genres to instrumental music, and has become a significant characteristic of Chinese music. The technique hua fulfills an important element of yun—a tone carrying designated pitch movement, either lifting or falling tones. The technique is widely used in all traditional styles. 4) Nao  : returning portamento. The left hand bends a string down-up-down or  the reverse, so that the portamento can move from either a higher to lower pitch, or lower to higher. The written character for nao is “monkey,” although it is seldom used in modern written language. This implies that the hand movement of nao is an imitation of a monkey grabbing an object.70 Nao is very effective in expressing gentle, sad, or elegant emotions. Although it is used in all styles, southern styles are particularly famous for applying it. 5) Dian : a rapid press and release of a string sharply raising the pitch with an immediate return to the open string. In southern styles this technique is often applied in  70  Nao is also a left-hand technique found on the qin, the seven-string zither. In Van Gulik’s study of qin techniques, he believes the character means “to twist” and “to rub.” He also said that “the symbolic association may also have played a role: for the vibrato ritardando,” his term for returning portamento, “should suggest ‘the cry of a monkey while climbing a tree’” (1968:132). 69  sections with faster tempi and contracted beats, to create wavering movement and a bright spirited mood. 6) An  : to depress a string to raise the pitch.71 The technique can be used in  conjunction with the fast motion of hua to slide into the raised pitch. Commonly the maximum interval of a minor third can be obtained by depressing an open string. It should be mentioned that each category of the above techniques comprises numerous applications based on individual regional and personal styles, and various techniques are often utilized either simultaneously or consecutively. Furthermore, the difference in direction, duration, speed, intensity, and even a performer’s varying energy in execution of these techniques all play a role in their outcomes. Taken together these left-hand techniques give the player a large palette of gestures that may be applied to create newly composed material. Their application within a single piece can confer what is felt to be a powerful and deep emotional aesthetic. One central element of the yun is that of a single tone in fluid motion between fixed pitches. This movement, whether it be either a simple bending of a pitch or a complex amalgamation of pitch bends combined with multiple vibrato, is described as a yaosheng, or moving tone.72 Representing one note in constant motion, the concept of a moving tone is inherent within Chinese tonal languages and transmitted through various vocal traditions. “A yaosheng is distinct from ornaments in Classical European Music 71  The number in the circle indicates the cipher note of the open string that is being pressed. To my knowledge, yaosheng is not traditionally utilized by zheng musicians nor contemporary Chinese instrumentalists in general. The term has been (re)introduced in contemporary literature by the scholar Du Yaxiong (1999), and a few more recent writings, as a traditional Chinese music concept related to the outcomes of the left-hand techniques associated with stringed instruments such as the zheng, qin, and pipa. However, there was no historical source cited or mentioned in these writings. On the other hand, yosŏng, a Korean term for vibrato, is an established traditional concept for Korean music. A discussion of yosŏng with extensive citation of historical sources is found in Han’guk chŏnt’ong ŭmak ŭi akcho (The Modes and Scales of Korean Music) (Hwang 2005). Yosŏng is also found referring to a wide and slow vibrato on the Korean kayagŭm, a descendant of the zheng (Kim 2008:69). 72  70  which are a combination of two or three distinct tones played in rapid succession. Rather, it is best described as a progression of ascending or descending pitches, such as the sound of a police siren—to give a crude example” (Du 1999:41). An example of yaosheng can be demonstrated by the moving tone la in Fengbai Cuizhu (Bamboo Swaying in the Wind), one of the Ten Great Suite pieces of Shandong. Each of these moving tones carries a large portamento between la and do (a minor third) combined with different treatments of vibrato. In the gongche score of this piece, each moving tone is notated by a single  , or la, representing the open string where the  moving tone originates. The following cipher transcription, however, notates the moving tone as 7 (ti) (see Figure 2.14). Since it is impossible to accurately capture and notate the entire process of this moving tone in cipher transcription, the notator arbitrarily chose ti, the middle of the moving tone, with fingering symbols for bending up the note or applying light vibrato on the note. This is a typical example of the codification of traditional music, which will be discussed in the next chapter.  Figure 2-14 Moving tones in Fengbai Cuizhu (Bamboo Swaying in the Wind).  71  Moving tones, especially those created on la and mi, are a strong part of the regional music identities in the north. As the zheng was actively used in narrative singing traditions (qinshu in Shandong and dadiao quzi in Henan), the moving tones typically mirror the tonal inflections of the local dialects and the musical characteristics of these narrative singing styles. The traditional steel-string zheng with its long resonance was an ideal vehicle to create and experience the variety of contours and voicings created by lefthand manipulations. I have analyzed four different versions of beat two (circled 7), the first quarter note of the piece, performed by three traditional musicians. The result illustrates that the directions of a tone moving between la (open string) and do (the maximum distance for bending on the string) differ among performers. In addition, two renditions by Gao Zhicheng, recorded thirty years apart, show slight differences from each other (see Figure 2.15).  Figure 2-15 A comparison of different directions of moving tone la in Fengbai Cuizhu (Bamboo Swaying in the Wind).  72  This analysis suggests that in the process of adding yun to their compositions, musicians produced a variety of moving tones that not only reflected regional styles but also displayed highly developed individuality. In creating yun the pitch movement reflects the performer’s feelings, therefore, it is not static but varies from style to style, composition to composition, musician to musician, and occasion to occasion. One function of moving tones in traditional zheng practice is to change or alter the diao (scale or mode). To create scales outside the pentatonic tuning of the open strings, the strings corresponding to mi and la can be pressed (an) to reach fa (bianzhi) and ti (biangong), respectively. These altered pitches are then known as er bian (two altered notes).73 One example where different scales are utilized can be seen in the Chaozhou zheng. As briefly examined earlier in this chapter, Chaozhou music uses ersi notation, a system which employs seven Chinese numerals (the numbers two through eight) to indicate nine tones, with the number three number six  representing both “la” and “ti” and the  representing both “mi” and “fa.” Gongche notation, in contrast, uses a  specific Chinese character for each tone including the numbers four six  , five  , and  . To understand the relationship between the ersi, gongche, and cypher systems, I  have provided a comparative table in Figure 2.16.  73  Using extra tones outside the pentatonic scale has been one of the major practices in Chinese music. The relationship between the tones within the pentatonic scale and those outside is explicated in this famous quote from Zuo Zhuan (Chronicles of Zuo), one of Confucius’ classics on discussions of music: “[All] nine songs, eight winds, seven sounds, and six temperaments serve the five tones” (Zuo c. 400 BCE). Chinese scholar Cai Zhongde explains: the five tones refers to those of the pentatonic scale; six temperaments refers to the pitches that form the twelve tones; seven sounds refers to the tones of a diatonic scale; eight winds refers to the diatonic scale plus one extra accidental; and nine songs refers to the combination of five tones of the pentatonic scale and four accidental notes (4, 4 sharp, 7 flat, and 7) (1988:36). 73  Figure 2-16 Comparison of the three main notational systems used for the zheng.  The Chaozhou “light three-six” scale is identical to the pentatonic tuning of the open strings: sol, la, do, re, mi. However, the scale changes to “light three and heavy six” if the mi (six  ) is pressed to become a neutral fa (sol, la, do, re, fa) in the course of  playing. The “heavy three and six” scale is used when la (three ti and mi (six  ) is pressed to a neutral  ) is pressed to a neutral fa (sol, ti, do, re, fa). The “lively five” scale  contains a neutral ti and a neutral fa combined with a distinctive heavy vibrato centred on a neutral re (five  ). A modal variant of “light three and heavy six” that starts on its  dominant is called “reverse string.” Following is a complete list of the Chaozhou scales and modes (see Figure 2.17).  Figure 2-17 Chaozhou scale and modal system.  74  The neutral tones ti and fa, unlike the fourth and seventh in the Western diatonic scale, are positioned between a semi-tone and whole-tone above la and mi. With the combination of pressing (an) and vibrato (yin or zhan), these two notes move up and down fluidly creating two moving tones, known as bitter or crying tones (kuyin),74 for they connote sorrow or sad beauty. An example of one Chaozhou piece played in multiple scales is Liuqing Niang (Madam Liuqing) (see Figure 2.18).  Figure 2-18 Excerpt of Liuqing Niang (Madam Liuqing), Lin Maogen’s performance score.  74  Kuyin, or bitter tones, have been found in many instrumental music genres as well as operas, especially regional opera traditions in Shannxi province. A literature review on the study of kuyin is included in Li Mei’s doctoral dissertation The Temperament Phenomenon of Neutral Tone (2005). 75  These pieces demonstrate that by changing scales, each version of Liuqing Niang is transformed into a new variant with unique moving tones (e.g., bitter notes) that cause the music to embody different types of culturally recognized emotions. The “light three, heavy six” scale (the first version) is the closest to the pentatonic scale, therefore “fluid and beautiful” (Li 1992:4), while “heavy three-six” (the second version) is “dark with mixed emotions” (Jiao 1998:23). The “lively five” (the third version) is more complex than the other two, as the scale includes three pressed tones ti↓, fa↑, and re↑. “When playing ‘lively five,’ the left hand lingers with much yun on each note. The subtle changes create a sense of beauty, or ‘love-sickness’ by the locals” (Li 1992:3, translated from the Chinese). In its full application, yun is expanded from just crafting a single note to connecting all notes and phrases with uses of nuance and dynamics. This was described explicitly by Shen Yue, a renowned scholar from the fifth century: If the intent is to move from gong (do) to yu (la), the low and high should be connected. If the beginning of the sound is fluid, the ending should be solid. Exhaust all nuances with one note, and contrast dynamics between two phrases. Only when reaching to this point is the music worthy of being called refined. (c. 487, translated from the Chinese) What the traditional zheng musicians accomplished with yun was a continuum of the aesthetics manifested in Chinese literature, poetry, and music for thousands of years. The exercise of yun on the zheng connects the music with emotion, sentiments, and passion, which is precisely what confers cultural authority on the instrument.  76  2.4 Notation and Oral Tradition Zheng music was traditionally transmitted from teacher to student through a combination of written scores and oral/aural transmission. Through analyzing the contents and functions of several scores, I will argue that while notation carried essential structural information, the wealth of the zheng tradition—the intricate and extensive knowledge of how to materialize and elaborate on the compositional structure and utilize the idiosyncrasies of the instrument—was transmitted orally and aurally.  2.4.1  Notation and its Function in Traditional Performance Practice Traditionally, the two separate notational systems of ersi and gongche were  employed for zheng music. A notated score often contained the “generic” compositional elements applied to the majority of the regional styles, which included a main melody, the basic beat-form, and/or scale. Some scores, however, also included “idiomatic”75 elements of specific techniques to one style or even one musician. The surviving zheng scores from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries have shown that both ersi and gongche notation systems manifest what has been defined as “prescriptive” musicwriting by Charles Seeger, in that a score functions as “a blue-print of how a specific piece of music shall be made to sound” (1958:184). 2.4.1.1 Ersi Notation Ersi notation, a system unique to Chaozhou music in the south, employs seven Chinese numerals. The script is written vertically and read from right to left, which is  75  The term “generic” and “idiomatic” are borrowed from Terri Miller in his study of phleng Thai derm, Thai “classical” melodies. 77  customary for classical written Chinese.76 An example of ersi notation can be seen in a score for Liuqing Niang (Madam Liuqing) (see Figure 2.19). The first line or title line (written larger and in darker characters) contains the name of the tune in the first three Chinese characters. The next three characters below designate the scale of “heavy threesix,” which indicates the change of pitch la (three  ) and mi (six  ) to a neutral fa and  neutral ti, respectively. The next three characters indicate a total of thirty beats, and the last two identify the beat-form known as touban (the first section), which delineates one accented beat ban followed by three weak beats yan. In the score proper, twenty-eight ban are marked with “○,” while two are marked with a “  ,” an instruction to repeat the  previous pitch. The score indicates a skeletal melody grouped with spaces between phrases; the uneven lengths of the phrases are analogous to the uneven versed classical cipai,77 suggesting that the phrasing is a vestige of the zheng’s association with sung poetry and narrative singing.  76  It has been suggested that the ersi notation was handed down from the Tang dynasty (Chen 1978:54) and was specifically created for string instruments (Cao 1980:87). To my knowledge there is no conclusive evidence to support such a claim. 77 Ci is a form for Chinese classical poetry, and pai refers to “name or label.” Cipai are title forms with fixed verse, number of words and phonological structure. Ci was often sung with music accompaniment. Liuqing Niang is a cipai. 78  Figure 2-19 An ersi score of Liuqing Niang (Madam Liuqing).  A comparison of the ersi score to a cipher transcription of a performance of Liuqing Niang by Chaozhou musician Lin Maogen shows that each number in the ersi score has the beat value of a quarter note. However, in performance musicians add more notes (jiahua) to each written beat, as well as creating numerous rhythmic variations (see Figure 2.20).  79  Figure 2-20 Liuqing Niang comparison of cipher and ersi notation.  2.4.1.2 Gongche Notation Gongche notation employs nine Chinese characters to represent sol, la, ti, do, re, mi, fa, sol, and la as fundamental pitches (see Figure 2.16).78 Gongche notation, like ersi, is written vertically and read from right to left. The notation was initially developed around the tenth century,79 and from the sixteenth century onward it was widely used as “a tonic solmization in opera and narrative songs” (Chen 2002:125, translated from the Chinese). As zheng compositions were mostly constructed on qupai, or named tunes (i.e., baban) inherited from opera and narrative song traditions, gongche notation was adopted for use with the traditional zheng repertoire. Zheng scores written in gongche notation compiled in Shandong Zhengqu Zhenchao Ben (An Original Copy of Shandong Zheng Music, Cao 1954), Hanyue 78  Extra characters are used in different regions, and sometimes radicals are added to the basic gongche characters to identity different octaves. A detailed description of gongche notation in English can be found in Yan-Zhi Chen’s Ph.D. dissertation (1991:196-201). 79 Gongche notation was developed from suzi notation (notation for folk music), which was originally used to notate melodies played on various flutes at the beginning of the Northern Song dynasty (960-1227) and formalized in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) with slight variances among genres (Chen 2002:124-125). 80  Zhengqu Sishi Shou (Forty Hakka Zheng Pieces, Shi 1985), and Zhongzhou Gudiao (Ancient Tunes of the Central Plain, He 2008) (also Hakka) are clear variants of the original “mother tunes” (baban), containing many more melodic details and/or indications of technique than the original baban mother tune. These scores are important in that they mark the progression in the development of baban pieces. While retaining the basic baban structure—e.g., beat-form, formalized phrases and end-note—they display regional variations and the individuality of each performer’s style.80 An example of a score written in Shandong huazi gongche notation is Fengbai Cuizhu (Bamboo Swaying in the Wind) (see Figure 2.21). Hua, or flower, is a Shandong term for glissando as discussed in 2.1. The title contains the label “fourth section” (daban disi—a discussion on “section” in Shandong Zheng is in 2.2), signifying its position in the Great Ten Suites, while also indicating that the piece contains only ban, or strong beats (1/4), played in a fast tempo. The main melody is written in eight separate phrases with the phrase number indicated in parentheses under each line. These phrases directly correspond to the eight phrases of the baban form. The fifth phrase takes two lines as it contains twelve beats. The character for “flower,” or the glissando (denoted by an arrow in the score example), is inserted throughout the score where required, and the symbol for ban “—” (written on  80  I examined and compared several scores of the baban repertoire, chosen from Shandong Zhengqu Zhenchao Ben (Cao unpublished), Hanyue Zhengqu Sishi Shou (Shi 1985) and Zhongzhou Gudiao (He 2008), with the zheng part in Sixteen Beats, a composition for xiansuo string music (Rong 1814) as well as with the baban mother tune. I concluded that with the exception of extra dots added after certain notes as signs for rhythmic variation, the zheng part in Sixteen Beats is not substantially different from the baban mother tune, while scores for solo zheng developed at a later date contain more melodic content, rhythmic indications, and fingering symbols. 81  the right of a note) indicates an accented beat.81  Figure 2-21 Fengbai Cuizhu (Bamboo Swaying in the Wind) (Cao 1954).  A comparison of the gongche score to the cipher transcription (Figure 2.22) shows that the number of notes notated in the gongche score is identical to what is actually played. However, the rhythmic groupings are not specified in the score. The sign for a left-hand bend (  ) provides a clear indication of which string to bend.  81  There is no explanation for the use of the symbols. However, from my own experience of playing this piece, it is safe to assume the following: = left-hand press, written to the right of a note; ¢ = play the note in octaves, written to the left of a note; and  = play a single note, written to the left of a note. 82  Figure 2-22 A comparison of cipher and gongche notation of Fengbai Cuizhu.  In comparison to the Shandong huazi gongche notation, the Hakka scores complied by He Yuzhai do not contain technique symbols. What is unique about these scores, however, is that each gongche character has a number of “variant” characters that share the same or similar phonation but in the Hakka dialect have tonal inflections (e.g., rising or falling). These tonal inflections more directly represent the shape of the numerous moving tones characteristic of Hakka music (see Figure 2.23).  Figure 2-23 Examples of Hakka variants for gongche notation.  Qian Rechu, a Hakka scholar/musician, wrote in 1934 that “[Gongche notes] change tone in music…Without being taught in person, it is hard to know these changes... 83  With [variant] characters, [students] do not need to have a teacher, because [the spoken tones of these characters] fit the music” (cited in Wu 2009:36, translated from the Chinese). Cao Zheng also writes in the preface of He Yuzhai Zhengpu Yigao (Manuscript of Zheng Score by He Yuzhai) that “The pronunciations of these [characters] are in ancient Hakka dialect, which reflect the Hakka music characteristics. [By using variants], the ancient folk tunes can be preserved and handed down accurately and truthfully” (cited in He 2008, translated from the Chinese). Both ersi and gongche are non-deterministic prescriptive notations, each with their own approaches to what is notated and what is not. These notations were not intended to indicate precise rhythms or even melodic contents. On the contrary, they were purposely created to specify a foundation that allowed for musical development and recreation. As Chen Yingshi states: Han music pays particular attention to how a singer or instrumentalist embellishes a melody. In Qulü “Rules for Songs,” Wang Jide (1542-1623) wrote that “the framework of music is its melody; its interest lies in the singing.” What he meant by “melody” was its core, whereas “singing” referred to embellishment, that is, the element of melodic recomposition in the singer’s performance. (2002:122) The relationship between “melody” and “singing” mentioned in the above statement is indeed reflected in the relationship between what is notated and what is not in traditional zheng scores. By leaving rhythmic space, musicians could apply jiahua (adding flowers) or jianzi (reducing notes) to vary the framework; and by not dictating exact embellishments, musicians could manipulate a single note to create moving tones and yun with personal touches. What is revealed in the relationship between the notation and the musician’s re-creation is how such a tradition can reflect and enact both deeply communal and personal values. 84  He Yuzhai finished his two compilations of Hakka scores in the early 1930s, a period when solo zheng performance became more prominent both in the region and in other metropolitan cities (addressed further in Chapter Three). The Shandong huazi gongche scores handed down by Zhao Yuzhai, on the other hand, were copied in 1954, a year after he commenced teaching at the Shenyang Music Conservatory. The increase in melodic content evident in both these compilations, when compared with the earlier “bone tune” scores, reflects changes in the traditional zheng world. During this period the zheng transitioned from being a regional ensemble instrument to a solo concert instrument, with the primary function of self-cultivation changing to one of entertainment. As more melodic content and performance techniques were fixed in the scores, the role of the musician as composer became less prominent.  2.4.2  Oral Teaching Tradition The oral tradition of the zheng subsumes teaching, composition, performance  practice, and philosophy. Its traditional pedagogy encompasses three stages: 1) an initial imitation of instructors; 2) a departure from the instructor’s method to create an individual style and interpretation of compositions; and 3) developing spontaneity so that each performance is distinctive. Traditionally, the knowledge of making music and the techniques of playing the zheng were transmitted orally. This process is known as kouchang xinshou, an idiom literally translated as “oral transmission of teaching from the heart,” with the implied meaning of “oral teaching inspires true understanding.” Chinese scholar Fan Zuyin addresses oral transmission in Chinese music as follows:  85  Traditional Chinese music, no matter [if] it was folk or literati music; religious or court music, always used “kouchang xinshou” as their main method for transmission. Although many of them had notated scores… they could not desert the method of “kouchang xinshou.” The traditional system of notating music interconnected and supported oral teaching… [Teachers] used their “mouth” and “heart” to teach what could not be notated… Through singing, playing and verbal communication, students reach the understanding of the essence of the music. (1996:21, translated from the Chinese) A central component of traditional kouchuan xinshou teaching method is to vocalize the melody before learning to play it on the instrument. As the majority of the zheng repertoire was derived from regional vocal traditions, authentic singing of a style helps to grasp the core of the melody and the nuances within it.82 Kouchuan xinshou was an essential part of my own training. As a young student, the most memorable aspect of my study with Gao Zicheng was his singing during the lessons. Each time I commenced learning a new piece, he put the score (written in cipher notation) in front of the instrument, and started to sing the melody as I listened and read. His singing carried a strong flavour of qinshu, the narrative song form from Shandong, which, for a student like myself who had never been to the province nor heard qinshu before, was extremely valuable. After he sang, he asked me to imitate him to sing phrase by phrase until I grasped the melodic nuances. In doing so, when moving on to play the piece on the instrument, rather than simply reading the score, I already had the “correct” sound of the melody in my head for my hands to follow. At that time I was playing a sixteen metal-string zheng, which, by pressing the strings with the left hand, clearly reproduced melodic details and nuances and allowed me to mimic the melodies that my  82  Most traditional zheng musicians were either singers themselves or worked closely with vocal genres. For instance, Gao Zicheng began to learn singing qinshu at the age of eight. Cao Dongfu, the famous Henan zheng musician, was a dadiao quzi singer himself, and Yang Guangquan became scriptwriter and the director of a local Chaoju opera group in the 1940s. 86  teacher sang. If my left hand did not play a bent note properly, my teacher would stop me and sing that note again until I could both sing and play it correctly. My teacher seldom referred to the score when teaching me a traditional piece. He knew every note by heart and he wanted me to learn it by heart as well. Zheng musician Li Wei (b. 1961) had a similar learning experience with his teacher Yang Guangquan (1915-1987) in Chaozhou. He recounts: What I benefited most from my teacher was not some playing technique, but to know how to sing a piece, which very few [zheng players] can do nowadays. Learning a piece always meant to sing first then to play. My teacher said that yun was most important for the zheng. If you want to play [them] well, you need to sing well first. If you can sing well, you can play well. (2011, personal communication) Li also stated that his teacher simultaneously integrated onomatopoeic mnemonic terms “long” (pronounced as “luŋ”), “ding,” and “dong” for right-hand fingerings of the middle finger, first finger and thumb respectively into the melody. So he learned to sing both the melody and the fingering at the same time. Rather than teaching fixed content, the core of traditional teaching reflected in the notation was to relay the musical style while providing a set of performance and compositional techniques. Musician Cao Dongfu told his students to be creative in learning the zheng. He expresses his own experience as a musician as “to learn, to practice, to teach, to perform, and to ameliorate repeatedly” (cited in Feng 2004:241, translated from the Chinese). He often uses the famous quote from Qi Baishi, the renowned Chinese fine artist: “Those who learn from me survive, those who copy me do not” (Feng ibid., translated from the Chinese). As individual musicians had developed unique composition and performance techniques, it was common for musicians to learn from each other. Therefore, there was 87  no heredity nor a strict hierarchy of master-disciple relationship established in the tradition of the zheng, such that students were free to study with more than one teacher and from each other. As Cao Zheng recalls: Before the 1930s, most zheng musicians went to visit and play with others as amateurs. In Zhejiang [province], this kind of activity was called wan ke [playing guests]. In Shandong and Henan [province], they were known as wan you [playing mates].83 These activities were meant to exhibit the virtue of refinement; therefore, there was seldom a teacher/student relationship. (1993:1, translated from the Chinese) Apart from wan ke, zheng musicians often performed in small ensembles, and this experience was also an important part of the development of a performer. The spontaneous heterophonic nature of small ensembles required each musician to adjust their own timbre, rhythmic divisions, and melodic interpretations in relation to the other player’s interpretation to create a balanced musical entity. The extemporaneous nature of these ensembles that performed without a leader or even a discussion of the music challenged the performers to listen and respond instantly, developing a flexibility and spontaneity which benefited their solo performance.84 Most zheng musicians were also capable of playing several other instruments, and often switched between instruments in  83  The term wan denotes “to play,” as in “playing a game,” which suggests the amateur spirit in these activities. 84 The complex texture and the variety of techniques used in ensemble playing is best described in Bapu Mingyuan (Explanation of Eight Parts): When [a phrase] should continue, it breaks; when it should break, it continues. Nonetheless, continuous does exclude the finite, and vice versa. When [one should] play a long tremolo, play a single note; when [one should] play a single note, play a long tremolo. Playing a long note should not exclude a short note, and vice versa. Thus, long and short, or continuous and finite are blended. Notes are varied, but the beat [ban] is the same. Pitches are varied, but the mode is unified. Eight parts are eight different versions, eight different names and eight different orders. Some are sparse, some are dense; some are light, some are heavy; some are ingenious, some are classic; some are muddy, some are clear. The five notes tumble about and not a single phrase is the same. It is true ecstasy to create Eight Parts according to eight beats. (Yi 1762, cited in Yuan 1987:163, translated from the Chinese) 88  ensemble settings, providing opportunities to play both leading and supporting roles.85 Oral transmission and associated practices engaged the musician’s ears, voice, and mind in addition to their eyes. Scores were simply frameworks for teachers to build upon and musicians to create within and around. To approach an instrument meant to engage the voice, to experience the language, to participate in the culture, and to create one’s own part in contrast and in unison with others.  85  In a peng baban ensemble the zheng plays the main role. However, the ensemble is led by the yangqin. According to Zhao Yuzhai, the yangqin player had to be a very experienced player who could make changes spontaneously and move the ensemble whichever way he wanted (1983:35). 89  2.5 Cross-fertilization of Aesthetic Principles  The practice of traditional zheng embodied many fundamental cultural values and aesthetic principles that were shared by society and the world of Chinese music in general. These values, attributed to Confucianism and Daoism (Taoism)—two distinctive but interconnected philosophical ideologies established in ancient China—delineated the ideal sound and meaning of music, as well the proper mindset in its performance. As mentioned in the Literature Review, because the zheng was primarily transmitted orally, very few historical accounts documented performance or discussed theories of the music. This was especially true in comparison with the amount of written literature on the qin, the seven-string zither favoured by Chinese literati and elite classes, as the zheng and qin generally served different social classes.86 Literature on aesthetics of the traditional zheng was initially created in the first half of the twentieth century, compiled by zheng musicians who practiced the instrument for self-cultivation. Thus zheng aesthetics borrowed heavily from qin literature and philosophy in combination with zheng tradition. Although there is only a modest amount of literature on the zheng, it became the foundation of the philosophy and aesthetics for the instrument. Unfortunately, as zheng was considered a “folk” music genre, analytical studies of zheng aesthetics, especially within the context of Confucian and Daoist  86  Zheng music was regarded as unsophisticated with few aesthetic values by qin players, and the separation between the elite position of the qin and the lower class of the zheng was embodied in the culture, where qin players were still socially or economically an elite class. In Xishan Qinkuang (Aesthetics of the Qin at the Xishan Mountain), one of the most important qin treatises, it states explicitly: “If the sound of the qin is not morally lofty, the player had better to switch to play the zheng” (Xu 1673, translated from the Chinese). This quite clearly demonstrates the general attitude towards zheng music and reflects the hierarchy in Chinese music tradition. 90  influences, are still lacking. Consequently, the philosophy and aesthetic values behind traditional zheng composition and performance are still largely unrecognized by Chinese scholarship and almost unknown to the younger generations of zheng performers.  2.5.1  Social Harmony and Self-cultivation Traditional zheng musicians believe that the music they inherited is refined music  (yayue), which embraces the essence of Confucian ideology. Stressing equilibrium (zhong) and harmony (he), Confucian principles have been the foundation and guidance for personal cultivation, as well as for Chinese rulers to create a well-ordered society throughout its history. As stated in Yue Ji (Book of Music), a harmonious society can only be achieved through correct and benevolent governing as well as individuals obtaining virtue. Music “connects with [ethical] human relationships and principles. … Music harmonizes the people’s voices. Administration is used to carry them out” (Gongsun c. first century BCE, translated from the Chinese). This Confucian concept of a well-ordered society remains a core underpinning of Chinese values in the present day. In traditional societies where the zheng was performed, playing music was often viewed as a social activity. In regions of the Shandong style, for example, each village had several bands. During summer nights or fallow time, the musicians accompanied qinshu performances to entertain the villagers. After the shows were finished and the audience had left, they would start playing peng baban (Cheng 1993:266), which the local musicians call yayue (refined music). The small ensemble genre in Fujian where the zheng is utilized as a lead instrument is simply called heyue, a term that in Chinese uses two interchangeable characters, both pronounced he (  : unified and  : harmonious).  91  Hakka musicians believe that playing qingyue (pure music), a small ensemble music rooted in the old Han culture, is an important way to bring harmony to society. Alan Thrasher affirms this idea in his research and studies of small ensemble music in the south: That social harmony (xiehe) would be identified is significant. The Chinese term xiehe (‘harmonious’) suggests a sense of concordance or social agreement—a major Confucian goal. Could there actually be a musical manifestation of ‘social harmony’? Musicians say as much. In the southern cultures, the instrumental traditions are primarily ensemble traditions, rarely performed by fewer than three musicians, normally with between five and eight…ensemble texture requires interaction among musicians, not unlike a conversation at a social gathering. While musicians may not know the old Confucian sayings ‘music unites’ (yuetong) and ‘music harmonizes the people’s voices’ (yuehe minsheng), they understand the deeper sense of these concepts because ‘harmonious’ interaction is an admitted cultural value of ongoing importance. (2008:163-64) Self-cultivation, also based on Confucian ideas, was the other essential reason for one to play the zheng. In the past, zheng musicians came from a variety of familial and socio-economic backgrounds and learned the zheng for different reasons, in contrast to qin practice where practitioners were almost exclusively scholars and from the elite classes. Many, especially those from the north—such as Cao Dongfu from Henan, and Zhao Yuzhai and Gao Zicheng from Shandong—came from musical or other low class families and initially learned to play instruments as a skill to make a living. Others, however, came from wealthy families and were well educated; their main reason for practicing music was for self-cultivation. For example, Liang Tsai-ping from Hebei in the north received his higher education both in Beijing and, later, at Yale University in the United States. Mr. Liang played both the zheng and qin. Hakka musician He Yuzhai was  92  similarly born into a rich family, growing up practicing the “four art forms” of scholars.87 Luo Jiuxiang, He’s student, went to university in Shanghai before taking zheng lessons (Wu 2009:32-42). These zheng musicians took up the zheng for self-cultivation, with the same purpose that ancient scholars undertook the qin, and they approached the instrument as if it was the qin. As Luo Jiuxiang States: Qingyue jia (virtuous musicians) are literary and refined scholars who express their sentiments by serenading the moon and chanting to the breeze. The way their music is played is patterned after the ancient qin music, which esteems nobility. That is why the music is also known as qingdiao (tunes of virtue). (cited in Ju 1995:193-4, translated from the Chinese)88 This statement suggests that musicians like Luo Jiuxiang not only had a deep understanding of the zheng tradition (qingyue of Hakka is believed to have come from the ancient Han tradition which carries a Confucian essence), but also consciously approached traditional zheng music with the qin spirit of nobility, blending the two traditions naturally.  2.5.2  Performance Aesthetics Daoist principles are the basis for the aesthetics of a variety of traditional Chinese  art forms. Whereas Confucianism governs the relationship between man and society, Daoism reveals the connection between man and nature. Daoism forms the foundation of qin philosophy. As a number of traditional zheng musicians either practiced the qin as well or were familiar with qin philosophy through their education, it is safe to assume  87  The four art forms are qin (music), qi (go chess), shu (calligraphy), and hua (painting), which were utilized as the standard to define the achievement of self-cultivation as a well-educated man. 88 This statement of Luo Jiuxiang was part of an article by the same author published in Yueju Yuekan (Journal of Musical Theater and Music) in the 1930s. Partial writings of the article were later hand copied by Luo’s student Shi Zhaoyuan (Ju 1995:209). 93  that, in many cases, the zheng and the qin share a similar aesthetic foundation. The realization of these aesthetics may differ in terminology and application of fingering techniques, yet the goal for the musicians remains the same: to create an ideal sound, to use technique correctly, to create appropriate relationships between players and the music, and to place emphasis on the programmatic content of the music. As was discussed previously, when performing the zheng the right hand plucks strings to generate sheng (sound), while the left hand manipulates the sound to create yun—the ideal artistic expression. Using yun to enrich sheng (yiyun busheng) was widely applied in traditional zheng performance practice. Additionally, the proper balance between sheng and yun should be less generated sound and more cultivated yun (shengshao yunduo). As Gao Zherui, an older generation zheng musician, prescribes: “Thirty percent of plucking and seventy percent of bending” (1994:14, translated from the Chinese). The concept of less generated sound and more yun is clearly a desire for a sophisticated expression rather than simply plucking notes, emphasizing the cultivation of a minimum of sounds into an expansive artful expression on the zheng. This notion directly corresponds to the Daoist philosophy of “great music has less sound” (dayin xisheng), an aphorism by the Daoist philosopher Laozi (Lao-Tzu) in his renowned Daode Jing (Tao Te Ching). It is uncertain whether this concept was an outcome of qin influence on traditional zheng; it is certain, however, that it has had a profound impact on qin music.89  89  In his study of qin philosophies, DeWoskin states that: “Zither without strings and soundless music are most highly venerated. As the mind advances, aural skill improves. The mind is more responsive to subtle stimuli, which, like those that dislodge that ash from the cosmic ch’i tubes, may be inaudible” (1982:160). 94  Hakka musician Luo Jiuxiang summarized and selected the most essential contents of the twenty-four aesthetic principles for the qin from Xishan Qinkuang (Aesthetics of the Qin at Xishan Mountain, Xu 1673). These aesthetic principles encompass both practical and spiritual components. The first and foremost principle, according to Luo, is “to unify the strings (xian) with the fingers (zhi); then to unify the fingers with the music (yin); and next to unify the music with intention/artistic conception (yi)” (cited in Lan 1984:21, translated from the Chinese). “To unify the strings with the fingers” suggests developing a deep sense of sensitivity and connection to the instrument when performing. Subtlety is established through appropriate touch and dynamic change. Henan zheng musician Cao Dongfu was well-known for his impeccable control of the technique “youyao”—a rapid tremolo produced by moving the first joint of the right thumb only while simultaneously moving along the length of the string. “He invented ‘youyao’ …and seamlessly combined this fingering with the left-hand bending, altering tone colours from dark to bright, and gradually changing dynamic from soft to loud” (Feng 2004:239, translated from the Chinese). Both examples demonstrate unification of the fingers and strings. “To unify fingers with music” requires musicians to develop a deeper level of understanding of the purpose, needs, and effects of the music, so that the performer’s intent is realized. The performers must be equally active as listeners to further deepen their sensitivity to all aspects of the music from the moment their fingers touch the strings until the sound touches the listener’s ears. This leads the performer to play with purpose, to take command of the music, and to shape it carefully. Luo advised his students that “Vibrato (yin), portamento (hua), pressing (an) and open string (kong) should all be clear  95  and precise” (Shi 1985:6, translated from the Chinese). His performance philosophy was as follows: “[Play] slowly but not idly; [play] fast with stability; [play] simply but remain refined, and stress the intention” (cited in Shi 1985:6, translated from the Chinese).90 The twenty-four aesthetic principles of playing the qin discusses different attacks executed by various fingerings, such as smoothness (yuan), solidness (jian), lightness (qing), heaviness (zhong), and fluidity (liu). Moreover, a variety of ideal sounds proposed—such as quietness (jing), clearness (qing), brightness (liang), and brilliance (cai)—are what the musician seeks in applying “To unify fingers with music.” Although these principles are commonly found in many music traditions, Chinese approach them with a particular philosophical bent such that each principle is applied not just to the sound of the music, but also to the musician’s demeanour, the effect upon the listener, and the influence on the environment in which the music is played. “To unify music with intention/artistic conception (yi) ” poses the ultimate philosophical challenge to musicians. Yi suggests subtly different levels of meaning ranging from a musician’s intention to his or her artistic conception. Yijing is the setting where yi is realized, and is often applied to an idealized place or philosophical state suggested by a poetic title and the programmatic contents of the piece that supports the setting. Yijing is one of the most important and unique aesthetics of Chinese culture, as Edward Ho elucidates: “[it is the] ideational/contemplative realm: the state of sublimation of an artistic image” (1997:43). He continues: “The quintessence of Chinese classical music is the feeling, the mental image, the inner vision, or the artistic conception that is  90  Cao Dongfu prefers “Busy but not chaotic, whereas slow but not broken” (Feng 2004:239, translated from the Chinese). 96  communicated. It is heavily charged with poeticism, and it is this artistic conception that music performers strive for” (1997:43). In the application of yijing, the majority of zheng compositions contain such idealized poetic titles and programmatic contents, which are similar to those found in qin music. However, unlike the qin, whose programmatic contents are contained in literary sources often attached as prefaces to the scores, the programmatic content reflected in the titles of traditional zheng music are only passed through oral transmission. Some traditional zheng compositions apply yijing through storylines that provide images of characters as well as emotional incentives for musicians, while more often compositions only have poetic titles that offer a mood or setting, such as Hanya Xishui (Lonely Crows Playing in the Winter Stream) from Chaozhou or Qingting Dianshui (A Dragonfly Touching Lightly on the Water) from Fujian. Some pieces have borrowed their titles directly from the qin repertoire. Gaoshan Liushui (High Mountain Flowing Water) of Shandong, for instance, borrows its title from a famous qin piece, whose programmatic content tells the story of Bo Ya (a qin player) meeting with Zi Qi (a devout listener), a legend known since the third century BCE.91 This piece is a suite of four individual baban compositions, each having a separate title.92 The addition of a well-known qin title to traditional zheng pieces suggests a desire for an association with qin aesthetics.  91  Bo Ya (also known as Yu Boya) was a qin player, and Zi Qi (also known as Zhong Ziqi) was a great listener. When Bo Ya played the qin while contemplating big mountains, Zi Qi reacted by saying: “How excellent! Impressive like the Taishan Mountain.” Then Bo Ya thought of flowing water as he was playing, and Zi Qi responded: “How excellent! Broad and flowing like rivers.” When Zi Qi passed away, Bo Ya broke his qin and never played again, as he believed that nobody would be able to understand his music and therefore it was not worth playing any more (see Zhongguo 1981: 41). 92 Shandong Gaoshan Liushui is comprised of Qinyun (The Charm of the Qin), Fengbai Cuizhu (Bamboo Swaying in the Breeze), Yejing Luanling (Tinkling Bells in the Still of the Night), and Shuyun (Reading Aloud). 97  The idealized artistic realm of yijing helps to define the relationship between musicians and the music. An inspiring title could stimulate a musician’s imagination in creating music, as the stories and images alluded to often carried cultural information that informed the interpretation and understanding of a piece, which then guided the musician’s artistic expression and performance. For example, Chushui Lian (Lotus Emerging from Water), a famous Hakka composition, depicts a scene of a lotus bud emerging from the water. In Chinese culture the lotus is a symbol of purity and transformation. Emerging from mud, the lotus is believed to be pure in body and soul. The body of the lotus flower is light and exquisite, but its spirit is strong and noble. This sentiment is translated into zheng technique as a light touch with a profound feeling, while the whole performance reflects nobility, purity, strength, and beauty.  2.5.3  Spontaneity and Amateur Spirit The programmatic content, on the other hand, could also inspire spontaneity in  performance. An individual musician could create many different versions and interpretations of one given composition based on his mood and thoughts at the moment of performance. Shi Zhaoyuan reflected: “Musicians often recreated based on their own understanding of the music…therefore, the new pieces were different from person to person. They reflected the musician’s mastery of technique and music, as well as their artistic achievement” (1985:6, translated from the Chinese). It should be pointed out that for the older generation of traditional musicians the philosophical idea of spontaneity is deeply ingrained in their performance techniques and personal being, and thus would easily manifest. When Shi Zhaoyuan commented on his  98  teacher Luo Jiuxiang’s performance, he noted: “Mr. Luo’s performances were often improvisational. Using his effortless techniques, he was able to blend his own feeling completely with the music. It looked so easy, but sounded profound. His superb techniques for variation were so unpredictable that the same piece was often played differently each time” (1985:6, translated from the Chinese). Luo Huiwen, granddaughter of Luo Jiuxiang, also recalled: “My grandfather’s playing depended on his mood. When he was in a good mood, the music sounded nice with more ‘flowers.’ When he was not in a good mood, he played simply and it sounded sad” (in Wu 2009:51, translated from the Chinese). Li Wei also recorded how Zhao Yuzhai once gave an exciting performance of a Shandong piece at a conference. The next day, however, he played the same piece again but with much less embellishment. When Li asked him why the performance was so different, Zhao smiled and simply answered: “I feel sleepy today” (2011, personal communication). Traditional musicians believe that when performing music, a performer’s motivation ought to be pure so that they can transform themselves through the music. Cao Dongfu stated, “Musicians should express zheng, not the zheng express musicians” (Feng 2004:241, translated from the Chinese). For the literati and educated men music is “a means for guiding and nurturing the spirit, and for elevating and harmonizing the emotions” (Ji Kang 223-63 in Gulik 1969:70). This spirit of practicing art for selfcultivation is known as the amateur ideal. As Thrasher explains: … ‘amateur ideal’ does not imply lack of training or low quality in performance, for the Chinese literati were often highly skilled in the arts. To the literatus-amateur, the reasons for writing poetry, painting landscape, writing calligraphy or performing music were simultaneously those of self-entertainment and expression of cultural values... Professionalism (i.e. the acceptance of money for performance) was seen 99  as a motivation associated with merchants, entertainers and the ethically untutored. (2008:164) Confucian and Daoist philosophies are deeply integrated in traditional zheng performance and outlook. Confucian principles were at the core of self-cultivation and community practice in traditional zheng music, whereas Daoist ideas guided composition and performance aesthetics and fostered artistic individualism. The duality of the two philosophies reflects the Chinese concept of yin and yang, conflicting and contradictory while each contains the other. Even though very few traditional zheng musicians engaged in a philosophical discourse about their music, their rhetoric on the interrelationship between the fingers and strings, as well as between music and intentions, exemplifies a deep understanding of these philosophies, and they are conveyed through the rich yun created in their music.  100  3 MODERNIZATION, WESTERNIZATION, AND PROFESSIONALIZATION  Nothing that is Chinese can be improved upon. It will require complete destruction, for there can be no great innovation without complete destruction. The absurd preference for antiquated things must be destroyed and current vices swept away. Be creative as long as it benefits the country; if you cannot create, then borrow. (Zeng 1904, cited in Zhang 1998:209, translated from the Chinese) The contemporary metamorphosis of the zheng is an outcome of complex social, political, economic, and cultural developments in China. Beginning in the early twentieth century, the zheng migrated from rural Chinese roots to urban centres. This transformation was further accelerated in the second half of the century as it developed into a concert instrument performed by professionals, which caused its musical identity to shift from traditionally “vocalistic” to an instrumental form incorporating pianistic and other influences. In this chapter I discuss the modernization of the zheng from the beginning of the twentieth century to the demise of the Cultural Revolution in China at the end of the 1970s. This includes: 1) the zheng’s initial transformation from rural to urban communities; 2) the institutionalization of the zheng in the 1950s, encompassing the formation of instructional pedagogy, the standardization of teaching materials and performance techniques, and the fostering of the first generation of professional zheng performers; 3) morphological standardization between the 1960s and the 1970s; 4) the advent of compositions conveying political messages while emphasizing Westernized performance techniques, and 5) the change of performance context. In discussing these 101  topics I will analyze how the performance techniques, compositions, aesthetics, functions, and transmission of the traditional practice of the zheng were affected through this period.  3.1 Modernization of Chinese Music from the Late Nineteenth to the Early Twentieth Centuries China’s modernization began with its comprehensive exposure to the West in the late nineteenth century. The introduction of Western culture and the implementation of Western educational models in the Chinese system directly affected the evolution of Chinese music including the zheng. In this section I will begin with a brief overview of the Western influences on Chinese music education at the beginning of Chinese contemporary history in order to contextualize the modernization of zheng music and its performance practice.  3.1.1  Adopting Western Models It is commonly held by Chinese historians that contemporary Chinese history  begins in 1840, marked by the eruption of the Opium War between China and Great Britain. By the dawn of the twentieth century China had been occupied by Western powers for more than fifty years:93  93  The first Opium War between China and Great Britain began in 1839. With the rise of Western interest in the Chinese economy, continuous wars between China and Western European countries lasted from the 1840s to the 1870s. Confronting a superior military power, China was quickly defeated and forced to open to the West. Treaties signed between the defeated Qing court and the Western powers permitted a number of Western countries to own concessions and develop industries in the main cities along China’s Pacific coast. Although the Qing court remained the official government, foreign powers took control of China’s major trade and industry, turning the country into a semi-imperial and semi-colonial state. 102  Contemporary Chinese history was not initiated by the Chinese people, instead it was forced open by the gunfire of the Western imperialist invaders. This reality decidedly proves that from the very beginning Chinese modernization was in a passive state … The direct challenge from the West was military and economic, however, from macro-historical viewpoint, it was the confrontation between Western and traditional Chinese cultures. (Bao 1987, cited in Liu 1992:21, translated from the Chinese) As the Chinese people struggled to resist European aggression, they became increasingly enraged and humiliated by their own weakness and the realization that China was no longer the “centre of the world.”94 Many patriotic intellectuals blamed their “backward” (luohou) traditional culture for the country’s weakness, suggesting that in order to regain strength and prosperity China needed to abandon the traditional Chinese educational system, study Western knowledge (xixue)—meaning science and technology—and reform the political system according to Western constitutional models.95 To counteract what was perceived as one of the most significant threats to Chinese society and culture, a government initiative of “Chinese learning as substance, Western learning for application”96 (zhongxue weiti, xixue weiyong) was put forward in 1898. By advocating the synthesis of Confucianism with Western modern technology as the solution to the dichotomy of China verses the West, the government attempted to avoid a profound change in China. However, the trend of Westernization became  94  The literal translation of “China” (Zhongguo) is “the central kingdom.” Kang Youwei (1858-1927) initiated the Gongche Shangshu (Candidates Petition) in 1895, urging reforms in government administration. In 1898 another controversial book Kongzi Gaizhi Kao (Confucius as a Reformer) was published, which attempted to legitimize reforms within the framework of Confucian ideology. Yan Fu (1852-1921) used Darwin’s evolutionary theory to argue that if China was not going to change, it would be eliminated by the world. 96 This initiative was proposed by Zhang Zhitong (1837-1909), a Confucian scholar and liberal official. 95  103  unstoppable, and at the turn of the twentieth century the idea of discarding traditional ideologies and replacing them with Western models was widespread. In the early years of the twentieth century China witnessed a series of revolts against the old society and everything associated with it. In 1905 the imperial civil service examination system (keju), in practice since 605 CE, was abolished. In 1911 the Qing court (1644-1911) was overthrown and the Republic of China was established (1911-1949), ending China’s imperial era that had lasted for more than two thousand years; and in 1919 the “May Fourth Campaign” erupted97 when anti-traditional and proWestern sentiments reached a peak in the nation. As students and scholars wholeheartedly embraced Western “science” and “democracy,” Confucianism and Confucian classics became the major target for ridicule. Westernization was inclusive of cultural elements, such as European music, which rapidly spread in China.98 In 1895 the first European military band was established in Beijing, and in Shanghai the first Western string orchestra was formed in 1908, while the first Chinese music conservatory, the National Conservatory, was founded in 1927. The conservatory’s curriculum followed a Western model, stressing Western instrumentation and composition. In 1933 the first concert hall was built in the capital city Nanjing (Liu 1988:15-23): 97  On May fourth, 1919, students of Beijing University led a demonstration against Beijing’s role at the Paris Peace Conference after the end of World War I and the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles, which allowed Japan to gain control of the erstwhile German-leased territory of Chinese Shandong province. The protest soon spread from Beijing to other Chinese cities and developed into a national campaign denouncing traditional culture. 98 The introduction of European music to China can be traced to as early as the thirteenth century when Catholic and Christian missionaries brought church music to China. Early records of introducing Western music and musical instruments to China include: 1) Italian missionary Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) presented a clavichord to emperor Shenzong of the Ming dynasty in 1601; 2) Portuguese musician Thomas Pereira (1645-1708) contributed writings about Western music to Lülü Zhengyi (Basic Principles of the System of Pitches, 1713); and 3) a performance of Nicolò Piccini’s La Cecchina was presented at the imperial Qing court (Liu 1992:63). However, it was not until late nineteenth century when Western music became increasingly popular in urban China. 104  Perhaps because they [Chinese] were impressed by Western economical and military achievements, they assumed that Western music, like Western technology, was probably based on ‘advanced’ and ‘scientifically objective’ principles. Chinese scholars in this period often discussed Western music in terms of its “scientificness.” Believing that music followed an evolutionary path and could be ‘improved’ over time, they began to propagate the emulation of Western musical techniques. (Gild 1998:116) Recommended by European-educated intellectuals, Western music was integrated into the Chinese public educational system at the beginning of the twentieth century. As a result, public schools nationwide instigated a mandatory course for “school songs” (xuetang yuege) comprised of Western and Japanese songs refitted with new lyrics.99  3.1.2  National Music (guoyue) and Instrumental Reform In contrast with the rapid acceptance and spread of Western music, traditional  Chinese music was under close scrutiny. There was a general pessimistic consensus among Chinese music educators that traditional Chinese music, past and present, was underdeveloped in comparison with Western music. They believed that music represented a nation’s spirit. If China desired to be strong and independent, it must have new music that could represent the new nation. In such an environment, change was inevitable; how to change the music, however, became a topic of debate. As the nation moved towards modernization, a central concern became what kind of music would be  99  “School songs” were designed to invoke a national and patriotic spirit; therefore, traditional Chinese tunes or instruments were not selected. Famous “school songs” include the American tune Dreaming of Home and Mother (John Pond Ordway), the French melody Frère Jacques, and the German children’s song Alle Vögel sind schon da. 105  suitable to be proclaimed as true guoyue (national music).100 One solution was to replace Chinese music with Western music. As Chinese music was “for the elite and not for the masses,” “not progressive but vile,” Chinese instruments were “crude and hard to learn” and musical notation was “unclear” (Fei 1903, cited in Zhang 1998:189-91, translated from the Chinese);101 it should be “eradicated” (Chen 1933, cited in Liu and Wu 1994:6) and replaced by Western music. “We have to choose between Chinese and Western music. We cannot have both” (Qing 1934, cited in Liu and Wu 1994:7, translated from the Chinese).102 In the same context, musicologist Wang Guangqi (1891-36) presented an opposite solution: to create a new type of music fashioned after Chinese tradition. Wang’s strategy  100  The term guoyue denotes different genres at different times. The earliest use of guoyue was found in the Suishu (Dynastic Book of Sui, 589-618), referring to Han court ritual music. After the Tang dynasty the word was used to differentiate between Han and non-Han music. Since the early twentieth century it has changed from the initial use of distinguishing Chinese from Western music, to now being mainly used in Taiwan and Hong Kong to delineate genres performed by traditional Chinese instruments. The equivalent term in Mainland China is minyue. 101 Fei Shi (1884-1959) was one of the music educators who firmly believed that Chinese music should be replaced by Western music. His view is systematically presented in his 1903 article “Zhongguo Yinyue Gailiang Shuo” (Discourse on Chinese Music Reform). Although he uses “reform” in the title, his entire argument demonstrates a view of “revolution” instead. His discourse on four main issues against traditional music is backed with detailed discussions. He argued that music played by the qin or se (25string zither) was too quiet and too elite, therefore not suitable for the masses; and the sound of Kunqu and beiqu opera was profligate, representing a dying nation. Fei also made many comparisons between Chinese and Western musical cultures. He argued that Chinese instruments, made of bamboo and silk, were too simple and unintuitive compared to those of the West, and that the Chinese notation system was undeveloped compared to Western staff notation as it was unable to clearly convey information and preserve tunes. This article made a great impact on the further Westernization of Chinese music in the early twentieth century. As Chinese scholar Feng Changchun describes: “Fei Shi’s article was like a huge rock being thrown into a calm lake. It is also like a broken dam. After 1904, more and more modern intellectuals and composers started criticizing the old music and advocating bringing and applying Western music in China. Studying Western music, then, became a social trend” (Feng 2007:62, translated from the Chinese). 102 Chen Hong (1907-2002) and Qing Zhu (1893-1959) were two prominent composers and music educators trained in Europe. Chen states: “Our [Chinese] music died a long time ago. The so-called musicians now are lower class amateur bands, prostitutes, the blind, and the homeless. Their music is either extravagant or degenerate. If music represents culture, our nation of li (rite) and yue (music) has become bestial. This kind of traditional music should definitely be eradicated” (1933, cited in Liu and Wu 1994:6). Qing stresses, “In my opinion, there is only one type of music that can be considered as art, that is Western music… In the opinion of some patriotic citizens, Western music coming to China is a form of ‘art invasion.’ If this is true, then let it happen. We have to choose between Chinese and Western music. We cannot have both” (Qing 1934, cited in Liu and Wu 1994:6-7, translated from the Chinese). 106  was to first systemize the ancient music, collect folk tunes through which to discover Chinese music’s essence, and then to use it as the foundation for guoyue (1924, in Wang 1993:42, translated from the Chinese). A third strategy was to “improve” Chinese music by borrowing Western models. This was predominantly voiced by Xiao Youmei (1884-1940), one of the most distinguished Chinese musicologists of the twentieth century. In many of Xiao’s fifty-six published writings he proposed implementing a series of changes to Chinese music, affecting composition (Western harmony and scales), instrument reform (Western technology to improve the acoustics of the traditional instruments), and notation (standardization, use of staff notation): Chinese people are very musical. If Chinese musical instruments are improved on the basis of Western technology, Chinese music will have the possibility of continuous development. I hope that one day in the future, China imports standardized notation and harmony. [If that happens], it would be a new era for Chinese music whose melody is so rich; it will generate a new life for ancient music while keeping its Chinese sentiment. This type of music is already a boon for Chinese people, and it will forever be a treasure. (1916, cited in Liu and Wu 1994:208, translated from the Chinese) With the mandate of “adapting Western performance techniques to Chinese instruments, and implementing reforms of the traditional instruments” (Liu and Wu 1988:79) Xiao formed the National Music Reform Society (Guoyue Gaijin She) in Beijing in 1927. Given the larger social and cultural environment of the country, Xiao’s vision of “improving” Chinese music was especially apt and subsequently became the doctrine for Chinese music reform. Under this vision a new style of national music (guoyue)— compositions that borrow classical Western compositional forms and harmonize Chinese pentatonic melodies—was created. The ideology of Chinese music reform and that of 107  traditional instruments also paved the way for further modernization and standardization in the second half of the century. The result of the implementation of common Western music practice in Chinese music led to a gradual abandonment of many idiosyncratic performance characteristics that defined traditional Chinese music. As Chinese musicologist Han Kuo-huang observed: “In many cases, modernization was synonymous with Westernization. Musicians trained in Western style began to think and hear music in terms of Western intonation, harmony, tone color, range, and above all, standardization of musical instruments” (1979:13). Concurrently, guoyue reforms played an important role in the survival of traditional instruments and music: patriotic artists who were enthusiastic about “upgrading” Chinese music composed new solo works for traditional instruments; numerous music clubs and societies were formed in major cities, many of which presented performances of traditional instruments; and a number of music schools offered courses in traditional Chinese instruments.103  3.1.3  Initial Urbanization of the Zheng China’s extensive social and economic changes in the early twentieth century  brought about the initial urbanization of the zheng. In search of further education, a number of zheng players left their hometowns in rural China to move to urban areas where they had new opportunities to perform and teach their music. As discussed in Chapter One, the main purpose of performing the zheng for many traditional zheng musicians was for self-entertainment and self-cultivation, and the main music activity 103  Both the Beijing University’s Conservatory of Music and the National Music Conservatory in Shanghai included several traditional Chinese instruments in their courses. However, only a couple of students enrolled in these courses. 108  was playing with other instruments in ensembles. While this still held true, urban life provided many new opportunities to perform public and private concerts. These new performance contexts triggered a subtle transformation of zheng practice that had broad implications for the zheng’s social function, repertoire, transmission, and dissemination. Lin Yongzhi (1892-1928) from Chaozhou, Guangdong province was one of the first two documented zheng players to introduce zheng music to Beijing. In 1924, when Lin was studying law at Beijing University, he joined performances organized by the Music Research Society of Beijing University (Cao in Yan 1993:275, translated from the Chinese). Another early urban pioneer was Wei Ziyou (1875-1936) from Suiping County of Henan province in the North, a former scholar-official of the Qing dynasty. Wei performed and taught Henan zheng music at the Beijing Daode Xueshe (Virtue Music Society) around 1925. He also assembled Zhongzhou Gudiao (Ancient Tunes from Central China), a score collection of the Henan repertoire (Ding 1993:273). Among Mr. Wei’s many disciples, Liang Tsai-Ping (1910-2000) and Lou Shuhua (1907-1952) subsequently made significant contributions to the zheng’s composition and propagation. Liang Tsai-ping was born and raised in Gaoyang County, Hebei province in northern China. At the age of fourteen he moved to Beijing, and later he enrolled at Beijing Jiaotong University to study applied science. There he studied zheng with Wei Ziyou and Shi Yinmei, a former student of Lin Yongzhi. Mr. Liang wrote Ni Cheng Pu (A Sketch of the Zheng), an instruction book that included a short essay on the zheng’s history, in 1938. In addition to notating and creating new arrangements of traditional pieces, Liang composed numerous new pieces for solo zheng. His composition Beijing Scenes contains four sections titled after famous city attractions. Although Liang Tsai-  109  ping’s work is virtually unknown in Mainland China, he is well known for popularizing the zheng overseas.104 Lou Shuhua, another student of Wei Ziyou, is credited with composing Yuzhou Changwan (Fisherman Singing in the Twilight) in 1938, the first recognized contemporary composition for solo zheng.105 Unlike most traditional zheng pieces constructed on a single compositional frame (e.g., baban), Fisherman Singing in the Twilight contains two main sections with distinctive melodic motifs marked by contrasting dynamic and tempo changes, separated by a short transitional segment. According to its program notes the music portrays a fishing boat on a calm sea at sundown, and depicts the fisherman’s serene contented mood. While it is unclear whether the description for the composition was written by the original composer, this transparent programmatic approach has become common in contemporary zheng composition. Hakka zheng representative He Yuzhai founded the Chaomei Music Society in Guangzhou in 1930. He then moved to Shanghai in 1932, where he founded the Yixiang She (Tranquil Sound Society, 1932-35) through which he actively performed and promoted Hakka music, “leading the way to establishing the zheng as a solo performance instrument” (Wu 2009:36-38, translated from the Chinese) (see Figure 3.1). During this period He also compiled the Zhongzhou Gudiao (Ancient Tunes of the Central Plain) and  104  In 1945 Liang Tsai-ping attended Yale University, where he presented music of the zheng. After residing in Taiwan in 1949, he co-founded the Chinese Classical Music Association in Taipei in 1953. For the rest of his life Liang dedicated himself to introducing zheng music internationally, making over thirty recordings. Liang also played the qin, through which he met Robert van Gulik, the renowned Dutch sinologist. He taught the zheng and qin to American composer Lou Harrison and Dr. Fredric Lieberman. Liang’s biography is included in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1984). 105 There are several versions of Fishman Singing in the Twilight, resulting in a debate about the origins of the piece. According to Wang Yingrui, the traditional Shandong piece Shuangban (Double Ban) and sections of other local tunes were combined by Jin Zhuonan to form his 1912 composition Fisherman Singing in the Twilight. Wang continues to insist that Lou Shuhua’s version was an arrangement of Jin Zhuonan’s piece (2007:28-29). 110  the Hangao Jiupu (Old Tunes of the Han), two score books that include sixty traditional Hakka pieces written in gongche notation system. The Tranquil Sound Society worked together with the Xiaozhao Yuetuan (Eternal Void National Music Society, 1925-35) (He 2008:162), of which Wang Xunzhi of the Zhejiang style was a member.  Figure 3-1 He Yuzhai (seated behind the zheng) at a performance in Shanghai, 1934 (photo in Public Domain).  The Chaozhou zheng player Guo Ying (1914-2002) came to Shanghai in 1931 and joined the Xinchao Sizhu Hui (New Chaozhou Silk Bamboo Society) to perform xianshi yue (string-poem music), a traditional Chaozhou ensemble genre. Guo is credited as one of the first to create solo zheng pieces “out of ensemble parts of xianshi yue.” His landmark performance of traditional Chaozhou zheng at the Shanghai Lanxin Theatre in 1941 was the first formal concert hall performance of solo zheng in Shanghai (Guo and Guo 1996:2-3, translated from the Chinese). In contrast to the increasing popularity of solo zheng music in Shanghai, the Datong Yuehui (Great Unity Music Society, 1920-37) 111  “pays much attention” to the zheng by including it in a modernized yanyue (banquet music) ensemble in an attempt to restore ancient court ensemble music (Gulik 1951:25). Cao Zheng (1920-98) from Liaoning, northeastern China, began to learn the zheng with Lou Shuhua in Beijing in 1936, and went on to study with Liang Tsai-ping in Nanjing in 1946. In 1948 he was hired to teach the zheng at Guoli Yinzhuan (National Conservatory of Music) in Nanjing for one semester (Zhou and Zhu 1994:2-3). The development of the zheng in the early twentieth century is the first stage of its modernization. Just as China was redefining its national and cultural identity, becoming modern through the adoption of Western practices and models, the zheng also underwent an initial change of its identity to become a modern instrument. Urban centres fostered the advent of concert performances, which encouraged the creation of solo works taken from traditional ensemble parts and, more notably, individually composed and fully scored pieces. The shift to an urban cultural context changed the zheng’s practice from personal to public, and from amateur to professional. In addition, the compilation of scorebooks marked the initial codification of the traditional repertoire and the demise of its oral tradition. All these transformations set the stage for the further transition of the zheng into a popular instrument in the new China in the second half of the twentieth century. As Van Gulik predicted: The cheng [zheng]… may serve a double purpose. First, it may play an important role in preserving and popularizing ancient Chinese music of a lighter genre. And second, the cheng may be utilized for developing a modern, purely Chinese music, accessable to broader circles: an indispensible factor in national life. (1951:25)  112  3.2 The Institutionalization of the Zheng’s Dissemination  After more than half of a century of turmoil and war, the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949 under the direction of the Communist Party and its leader Mao Zedong. The country followed the totalitarian model of the Soviet Union where all aspects of daily life were tightly controlled by the Party; as a consequence, the development of arts and music was dictated by and intertwined with national politics. This critical doctrine dictates that my study of the zheng’s modernization in this period be contextualized within its larger sociopolitical background, especially in light of Fairbank’s comment that “it is simply not meaningful to examine any part of Chinese society except in the context of the Communist Party’s efforts to transform it” (Fairbank 1987:xiii). In 1949 the Party’s Central Committee introduced a comprehensive plan to “foster professional composers, singers, and instrumentalists” in the newly founded state (Liang and Ming 2008:30, translated from the Chinese). To accomplish this, two tiers of music schools were established throughout the country: national and provincial. At the national level the National Music Conservatory was established in 1949 in Nanjing, then renamed the Central Conservatory of Music and moved to Tianjin in 1950 (there was also a branch in Shanghai that was later renamed the Shanghai Conservatory of Music as an independent institution). At the provincial level music departments were set up in art institutions and normal universities in every major city across the land. The first National Art Education Forum held in 1953 set the program for undergraduate study in music to five years at national level conservatories, and three years provincially. Meanwhile,  113  affiliated secondary and senior elementary school programs, set at six and two years respectively, were established in both the Central and Shanghai conservatories (Liang and Ming 2008:31).  3.2.1  New Students, Old Tradition Changes to the zheng in this period began with the institutionalization of its  teaching methods. In 1951 Mao Zedong wrote the directive for the formation of the Chinese Drama Research Institute: “Let a hundred flowers bloom and create the new through the evolution of the old” (baihu qifang, tuichen chuxin). This famous metaphor became the foundation for a new initiative in developing Chinese arts. As an important part of “creating the new through the old,” performance courses in traditional musical instruments were established in both national and provincial music institutions. Within a decade traditional zheng musicians were enlisted to teach in conservatories (see Appendix A for the list of the most influential and prolific traditional zheng musicians recruited for the conservatories). The establishment of zheng studies as a conservatory course signified a new beginning for these zheng artists, as they felt they were provided opportunities to put their talents to good use in teaching and performing. Therefore, they were dedicated to passing on their music and traditions to new generations, allowing the music to grow in the new social environment. The newly established courses for zheng performance in many conservatories faced a challenge in attracting students. According to the China News Analysis, a rare English newsletter following Chinese political and social trends (founded in Hong Kong in 1953), very few students enrolled to study Chinese instruments at the Central  114  Conservatory of Music in the early 1950s (Anon. 1961:5). The newsletter also pointed out that the Party’s position was to encourage musicians and music students who played Western instruments to switch to traditional instruments, a movement known as minzuhua (nationalization) in China. The article quoted a leading Party bureaucrat and music critic, Lü Ji (1909-2002), expressing his position on this issue: The time when the leading role in music belonged to the piano is past. It was a time of bourgeois individualism. Today we live in the period of the masses. Music also enters into the period of the masses. The masses want vocal music and not instrumental music, much less Western piano and violin solos. … Lü Chi [Lü Ji] encouraged the study of Russian popular choruses and the study of Chinese instruments. This done, one might be allowed to practise Western instruments as well. He had a peculiar grudge against the piano because as he put it, “One cannot carry a piano about and one cannot have a piano in every village. In our world the piano is not required.” He reprimanded those who think that Chinese music is inferior to Western music... and he argued that it is not correct to say that Western music is scientific and Chinese music is not. (ibid. 1961:3) It is unclear if Lü’s remark was his reaction to and interpretation of “Let the past serve the present and let foreign things serve China” (guwei jinyong, yangwei zhongyong), another famous assertion of Mao’s made in 1956. Following Mao’s instruction, “nationalization” was instigated in 1958 to redirect musicians playing Western instruments to learn Chinese instruments. At the Shanghai Conservatory of Music six students were transferred from majoring in piano to the zheng, including Xiang  115  Sihua, Fan Shang’e,106 and Zhang Yan,107 who later became celebrated zheng performers, composers, and instructors. They initially studied the Zhejiang zheng style with Wang Xunzhi, then later the Chaozhou style with Guo Ying and the northern style with Cao Zheng (see Figure 3.2). Xiang Sihua was born into a middle-class family. Her father was a medical doctor who studied medicine in Germany whose interest in music, Beijing Opera, and Kunqu (a regional opera from Shanghai) influenced the decision to let Xiang Sihua learn piano at a young age. In 1956 Xiang was accepted by the secondary school affiliated with the Conservatory to major in piano performance. Discussing her experience transferring from playing piano to the zheng, Xiang Sihua recalls: In 1958, three years after I enrolled in the School, the discussion of nationalization (minzuhua) began. Jin Cuntian, the deputy director, who was a thoughtful old revolutionist, posed a question: What path should Chinese music take? His question had nothing to do with politics; it was a discussion in response to the Westernization of traditional music in Japan. He believed that China should take its own way. The Traditional Music Department was established in the Conservatory in 1956, however there was a lot of discrimination against Chinese music at the time in Shanghai. So Jin said: “Many old folk musicians are not literate. They will take their knowledge away with them when they pass.” He encouraged good students [who played Western instruments] to switch to studying Chinese instruments, and to inherit the tradition. He also said: “This road is hard and I hope you become pioneers.” So eight of us—six were pianists— transferred to the Traditional Music Department. I was called by this movement. Although some people said it was a waste, I felt it was meaningful, even if it meant a tough road ahead. The idea of 106  Both Xiang Sihua (b. 1939) and Fan Shang’e (b. 1942) were born and raised in Shanghai and enrolled in the Secondary School of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music to study piano. In the 1970s they individually performed with several prominent orchestras and ensembles in Beijing before moving abroad. Xiang Sihua left China for Hong Kong in 1981 and immigrated to Canada in 1991. She lives and teaches in North Vancouver. Fan Shang’e went to Northeast Illinois University in 1990 and immigrated to Canada, now living and teaching in Toronto. 107 Zhang Yan (1945-96) was born in Wuxi, Jiangsu province before moving to Shanghai at an early age. She was the zheng soloist at the Shandong Provincial Orchestra from 1973 to 1978, and transferred to the Chinese Oriental Song and Dance Troupe in Beijing in 1979. In 1984 she moved to San Francisco. She performed in many prestigious venues internationally and collaborated with jazz musician Jon Jang. I studied with Zhang Yan from 1977-78. 116  nationalization was to raise the status of traditional music. During my study of the zheng, teacher Jin said two things: learn the tradition truly and thoroughly, and adapt Western ideas to the instrument. These two instructions have guided me in my fifty years of practice of the zheng. (2009, personal communication) Fan Shang’e had a similar experience, enrolling in the same program at the same school in 1954. However, the reason for her switch to the zheng was somewhat different: Honestly, when we were asked to switch to the zheng in 1958, I didn’t even know what the zheng looked like and I had no curiosity about it at all. I remember signing up for the yueqin (a moon shaped lute), because I saw a movie in which Nie Er (the composer of Chinese national anthem) played one. Back then, everybody who studied Western instruments in the school signed up to change to Chinese instruments, because if not, you would be considered sixiang luohou [a common term referring politically backward or incorrect in mind that stands in the way of progress]. For some, although they did not want to give up playing piano, they were afraid of telling the truth and to say “no” to this. I was then asked to play the zheng, although I never heard what the zheng sounded like. (2000, personal communication)  Figure 3-2 Cao Zheng teaching Xiang Sihua in 1960 (photo by permission of Xiang Sihua).  117  Xiang Sihua’s and Fan Shang’e’s experiences were typical for Chinese artists of their generation, where personal artistic choices had to comply with the Party’s policy position. While the nationalization movement changed their careers, their previous piano training and perspectives on teaching music have in turn contributed greatly to zheng performance, as well as the transformation of traditional oral teaching to a new contemporary pedagogy. Both Xiang and Fan acknowledged that they faced two challenges when switching to the zheng: the acoustic disparity between the piano and the zheng, and the difference between traditional Chinese and Western inspired teaching methods. Both of them began their studies on a silk string zheng whose sound, according to Xiang Sihua, was “hard to take” (nanting). Xiang explained that “switching from studying piano to learning the zheng was not easy. From Beethoven to sixteen silk strings, the first challenge was the sound.” The tone colour of silk strings is dull in comparison to that of the piano and the strings break easily. When I asked whether the problem was the instrument itself, she said: “No, it is the concept of tone colour. In the past, [the tone colour of] folk music was rough. Of course, the instruments were not well made either. But more critically, it was the lack of a systematic approach to performance technique: as long as the instrument sounded, it was okay. On the contrary, my piano teacher was very strict about tone and stressed that to learn an instrument, great attention should be paid to tone from the very beginning. The way to play the instrument is important” (2009, personal communication). The second challenge was that the method of teaching zheng at the time was “lacking a system” (Xiang 2009, personal communication). Both Xiang and Fan 118  mentioned that their teacher Wang Xunzhi could not effectively demonstrate on the instrument. They had to interpret his often vague verbal instructions and experiment with different fingerings themselves. Eventually they assisted Wang Xunzhi to formulate the Zhejiang fingering system. Another hurdle was a lack of teaching material. Xiang Sihua recalls: “There were times we had either no score or an incomplete one. Moreover, the scores often changed from time to time. Some people joked that our teacher used us to experiment on” (2009, personal communication). According to Fan Shang’e, Wang worked very hard to prepare material for his students. He went as far as to notate Jiangjun Ling (General’s Command) in staff notation in order to prevent his students from feeling that his method of teaching was “unscientific.” However, after learning the simpler pieces, such as Sanshisan Ban (Thirty-three Beats), they were left with little to work with because they lacked scores of more advanced pieces. Thus, they proceeded to notate traditional pieces themselves. Fan Shang’e described how, through fully scoring the piece, she helped to standardize Haiqing Nahe (Falcon Catches Swan), a traditional piece from the Zhejiang repertoire in 1961:108 I was the first one to play Haiqing Nahe. Back then there was no score, except for one written in gongche notation, which was most probably a part from an ensemble score. It was not a zheng score. My teacher would sing the melody with gongche syllables and I wrote down what he sang. The piece had a total of 18 sections, and we went through one section each week, so it took four months to complete the notation. (2010, personal communication)  108  According to both Xiang Sihua and Fan Shang’e, they also notated and standarized Yue’er Gao (The High Moon) and Gaoshan Liushui (High Mountain and Flowting Water), two traditional pieces of the Zhejiang style that Wang Xunzhi inherited from his teacher Jiang Yinchun. 119  What Xiang and Fan encountered was a clash between two cultures. As young trained pianists they were not prepared to navigate between two very different but equally valid transmission systems—one a modern model based on the highly methodical Western classical system, the other a traditional practice of oral transmission. The former provides students with an organized method of learning technique through repetition and a reliance on a fixed detailed notation that allowed performers to focus on accuracy, speed, dynamics, and expression. The latter, on the other hand, is based on the method of kouchuan xinshou (oral transmission of teaching from the heart), not a reliance on notation. This oral tradition required students to totally immerse themselves in mimicking, memorizing, interpreting, and drawing information from their teacher.109 The spontaneous nature of the music manifests variation, as a teacher could play a piece differently each time, including changes in fingering, nuances, dynamics, and even sections of melody, as demonstrated in Chapter Two. This method requires students to take a substantially longer time to learn a piece, as they had to look deeply to grasp the inner structure of the music in order to understand how numerous variations and interpretations are created. Only when the method of traditional oral teaching, and its relationship to the notation, is grasped can the reason for unfixed fingerings, passages, and dynamics be understood. Xiang Sihua’s and Fan Shang’e’s foundation in piano performance undoubtedly benefited their performing on the zheng with technical and artistic ability to creating 109  Like most contemporary Chinese musicians, I was mostly trained in a Western system, even though I was lucky to have experienced some elements of oral teaching through studying with Gao Zicheng and Zhao Yuzhai, two traditional musicians. I was not very aware of pedagogies in oral tradition until I took a gamelan performance class with Dr. Michael Tenzer in my first year at UBC in 1996. At first I was afraid of making mistakes by not being able to memorize what I was taught in class and I tried to write everything down. Through this class and further studies about oral traditions around the world, I finally understood the profound difference between Western classical pedagogy and that of oral traditions. 120  highly refined and well-crafted music rich in expression and dynamics. Their achievements also contributed to the development of zheng music through using a pianistic approach to the contemporary zheng. The campaign of “nationalization” had an immense impact on traditional music. Regardless of their initial intention to propagate tradition, old ways of teaching gradually retreated, giving way to Westernized methods. According to the China News Analysis, Wei Zhongle (1908-97), a famous pipa player and an influential figure in traditional music, believed that “government actions did harm to traditional music.” The article continues: “A great number of musicians who performed on foreign instruments were forcibly transferred to Chinese operatic troupes and there, following their own bent, they transformed traditional music into Western-styled music, to the great detriment of the purity of the tradition” (Anon. 1956:5).  3.2.2  Codifying Scores and Standardizing Performance Fingerings Instruction on the zheng in conservatories was dictated by two movements at the  time: 1) politically, the use of Communist ideology to reform Chinese traditional culture; and 2) artistically, the adoption of a Western classical conservatory model by the Chinese educational system. The purpose of learning the instrument shifted from self-cultivation to the pursuit of a professional career. The concepts of “accurate,” “rigorous,” and a “scientific approach,” common terms in conservatory pedagogy, were adapted to the new approach of zheng instruction. In the meantime, a politicized cultural policy of “rescuing the heritage and inheriting the tradition” put great pressure on the educators to bring their old teaching methods up-to-date, including setting a systematic curriculum, standardizing  121  teaching material, codifying musical content, transcribing to staff or cipher notations, and unifying performance fingering symbols. In this context the First National Forum on Selecting Zheng Teaching Material (Guzheng Jiaocai Bianxun Zuotan Hui), the first official meeting of the nation’s zheng performers in history, was held in Xi’an in August 1961. This Forum was significant for many reasons and determined the future course for zheng education and composition. Most of the traditional zheng artists who had become conservatory instructors, together with their students, attended the meeting. Under the slogan of “rescuing the heritage and inheriting the tradition” each musician attending had been asked to prepare notated scores (written either in cipher or staff notation) of his repertoire to bring to the Forum. Wang Xunzhi, with the assistance of his students, brought a two hundred and seventy six page manuscript for instruction, which included one hundred eighty two pieces for the practice of basic technique, one hundred seventy one études, and forty five compositions, all Zhejiang style written in staff notation (Wang 2007:37). Other scores attendees brought included twenty Hakka pieces categorized in “beginner,” “intermediate,” and “advanced” three levels, nine Chaozhou pieces, ten Henan pieces (Wang 2007:37-38), and Gao Zicheng’s collection of forty Shandong pieces. As a supplement to the notation, the participants recorded numerous works.110 The Forum also announced that musicians would be visiting each conservatory as guest lecturers to teach their repertoire, thereby enabling each school to learn all the styles (Zhou 2009, personal communication). Prior to the meeting zheng instructors had begun to standardize their performance fingerings as was done in the Shanghai Conservatory, where zheng students assisted their teacher Wang Xunzhi in systemizing fingerings. Cao Zheng, in his 1958 book Guzheng 110  To my knowledge, no recording made at the meeting has survived, or is available. 122  Yanzou Fa (Method of Playing Guzheng), also assembled basic fingerings and assigned symbols to each of them. According to zheng scholar Wei Jun, Cao’s compilation was utilized as the foundation for the standardization of fingering symbols at the Forum (2004:71), in which twenty-two symbols for right hand technique and nine for the left hand were designated as the standard fingerings for the zheng.111 This Forum was considered a turning point for the creation of contemporary zheng education. Wei Jun remarks: The end of the 1950s and the beginning of the 1960s saw the beginning of the education of zheng culture and art. It was the primary stage that zheng’s performance course was offered in musical institutes. The hired instructors were representatives of different regional zheng schools. These older masters had rich artistic experiences and superb performance skills. However, the common inadequacy shared by these musicians was a lack of professional knowledge of [music] theory. Some were not even able to read notation, and solely depended on the traditional method of oral transmission (kouchuan xinshou). Moreover, the scores they did have were hand copied. The older ones were even written in gongche or ersi notations. Often, one piece had different fingerings, which was very unregulated. Plus, because the pieces they played were mostly from regional opera music, tunes of qupai and folk songs…even though their styles were diverse and colourful, the fingerings were formed individually... The standardization of fingering symbols, on one hand, demonstrated the general state of zheng’s development prior to the Forum, on the other hand, it set the foundation for zheng’s further development, dissemination, exchange, and innovation. (2004:71-2, translated from the Chinese) Wei expounded that the rationale behind the Forum and his rhetoric indeed reflects a general modern Chinese conception towards traditional methods of  111  The number of performance fingering symbols for the zheng has grown exponentially since the 1961 Forum. One publication listed sixty-four types of right hand technique symbols, seventeen for left hand techniques, and fourteen for both hands (Wei 2004:72). Zheng instructor Su Qiaozheng affirmed in her paper presentation at a meeting in 1986 that there were over two hundred and thirty different fingering , , , , assigned to differentiate the symbols, including two groups of six symbols of , length and the speed of vibrato. I argue that fingering symbols, especially those used to indicate the left hand string pressing techniques, can only provide relatively accurate instructions for the actual movement of the sound. 123  transmission, such that gongche and ersi notation systems are often considered “incomplete” because they do not record precisely what is being sounded. Such systems, therefore, were considered inadequate for conservatory teaching, while fully scored traditional repertoires were in demand. Many Chinese scholars view the government campaign to transcribe traditional music from gongche or ersi notation as responsible for the survival of the music. It is debatable, however, whether “rescuing the heritage” through the transcription of traditional pieces is the best choice, or the only way, to preserve and propagate the music. Opinions on this issue vary and are divided between Chinese scholarship and Western ethnomusicology; between Chinese scholars and zheng educators; and between different generations of zheng performers. The view that traditional notation systems are inadequate and out-of-date, reflected in Wei’s article, is still largely held today among many zheng performers and educators. It is also supported in the Chinese zheng literature, especially university theses written in the last few years by young graduates. However, some Chinese scholars, especially those who have thoroughly studied the tradition and/or are aware of Western ethnomusicology, understand that traditional notations serve a different function as opposed to cipher or staff notations. As Shi Zhaoyuan (b.1932), an older generation zheng performer/scholar, stresses: “If attempting to notate each piece accurately, it would have created dozens or even over a hundred versions. This kind of notation, in fact, can only chase the ‘look,’ but cannot catch the ‘essence’” (1985:6, translated from the Chinese). Another zheng scholar Wang Yingrui believes that Chinese and Western notations represent two different mentalities:  124  As the traditional Chinese notation system only notated the bone tunes, it does not use the notation to “limit” players, but provides room for players to create, which is a very important concept in Chinese art. On the other hand, cipher or staff notation are measurable systems, and western classical music was created according to scores, every note must be played, not more, nor less. Therefore, these two notation systems reflect the character of Western music making and their way of thinking. (2007:23, translated from the Chinese) It should be pointed out that while Wang accurately summarizes the relationship between traditional Chinese notation and music performance, her interpretation of notation’s role in Western classical music represents a common Chinese understanding of Western music which was largely based on the practice of nineteenth-century classical music. Her comments also reflect the rigorous Chinese approach to notation, in that once a composition is scored it must be strictly followed, and individual interpretation is very limited. As Judith Becker points out, many Western ethnomusicologists who study nonWestern traditional music believe that “the concern for preserving old compositions is a European concern reflecting European reliance upon notation” (1980:13). In her study of Javanese gamelan, Becker views negatively the impact of fully notating oral traditions, describing this process as “the most pervasive, penetrating, and ultimately the most insidious type of Western influence” which “goes largely unnoticed” (ibid.:11). She states: [O]ral traditions [represent] a process of continual re-creation [in which] every piece is at once contemporary and the cumulative result of ageless tradition. Each performance is both unique and a summation of all previous performances of that piece as known to those particular players. Past and present coexist in the moment of performance. (ibid.:13)  125  The outcomes of codification and standardization of traditional music and techniques as a result of moving to notation has shown that only a fraction of what traditional musicians performed was transmitted from oral practice into notation. By transcribing and codifying the content of traditional music, the chance is that one performance of one version with one performer’s interpretation was then cemented and eventually became the authentic score for this piece while many other versions were eliminated. More crucially, as the Chinese harvested the “crop”—existing compositions created in the past—they abandoned the “seeds”—the process of creating new pieces upon an old compositional form; as a result the traditional forms, such as baban, are no longer in use in China, hence discontinuing some of the most valuable practice of traditional music—an act paradoxical to the intention of “rescuing the heritage.” As shown in Chapter Two, traditional zheng music exemplifies spontaneity and individual interpretation within the parameter of regional styles. Consequently, the degree and the amount of detailed information in its sound cannot be accurately captured and sufficiently displayed in any type of “descriptive” notation. Seeger views the “assumption that the full auditory parameter of music is or can be represented by a partial visual parameter” as a hazard “inherent in our process of writing music” (1958:184). Codification unavoidably omitted certain important information in the score. For example, the unfixed moving tone—which has many regional and personal variations that define individual styles—is simplified or omitted altogether in the process of notating. By subordinating oral and aural teaching to that of reading, which has unfortunately become the norm in the zheng world, the “diverse and colourful” quality described in Wei’s article has been compromised. I have listened to many performances and recordings of  126  High Mountain and Flowing Water in the Shandong style, but am unable to find a variety of moving tones as I did among the three traditional Shandong musicians, illustrated in Chapter Two (2.4).  3.2.3  Establishing Liupai and Reinventing a Traditional Style The etymological term for river tributary, pai or liupai, is commonly used in  Chinese arts to denote a branch or school of an art form, as well as an individual style of an artist with an assumption of legitimacy or authenticity. Historically liupai was often reserved for high art forms, such as qin music, poetry, or calligraphy. It was first used with the zheng in 1936 as the term beipai (“northern style”) on the cover of Lou Shuhua’s record Tianxia Datong (Universal Consonant). Since studies of the zheng were included in conservatory courses, the social and cultural status of the instrument was raised from a so-called folk (minjian) instrument to a professional level. Accordingly, different traditional styles began to be labeled as liupai, reflecting the growing prominence of the instrument and the artists themselves. Cao Zheng provided a historical perspective of the application of liupai for the zheng: It is a modern idea to form liupai for the Chinese guzheng based on regions or individual musicians. Before the ’30s, most zheng players met teachers and other players in activities for amateurs or music lovers’ to exchange music and friendship. This was called wanke (playing guest) in Zhejiang and Jiangsu regions; and wanyou (playing friends) in Shandong and Henan, which seldom accentuated the teacher-student relationship. In the ’40s and ’50s, due to the thriving development of national and folk music, educational institutes and [professional] performing groups, there was a demand for guzheng art. As a result, many older zheng performers joined the teaching force. This gradually formed the model of regional and personal characteristics. Moreover, in order to carry on the tradition and to respect the art and its teachers, this term was applied. (1993:1, translated from the Chinese)  127  Musicians at the 1961 Forum started to use pai or liupai to differentiate their styles from each other, and as such they came into standard usage to distinguish the various regional styles (e.g., Henan school or Chaozhou school) and individual performance styles (Zhou 2009, personal communication). Before 1961 a regional style of Shaanxi zheng did not exist, in spite of many early historical records that referred to the zheng as qinzheng (Qin was a State in ancient China located in modern day Shaanxi province). In 1956 Zhou Yanjia (b. 1934), a fiddle player in a mihu (a local opera genre) group in Shaanxi, began to play the zheng and went to study with Cao Zheng at the Shenyang Conservatory. After learning the history of the instrument, Zhou realized that even though it was the birthplace of the zheng, Shaanxi did not even have its own liupai. He believed that the qinzheng should be brought back to its origins. Based on the fact that the repertoires of the Northern styles came from local song traditions, he transcribed many tunes of local opera mihu and compiled a collection of Guzheng Mihu Quxuan (Selected Mihu Tunes for the Zheng), bringing them to the Forum.112 Subsequently, seventeen pieces were chosen as part of the standard traditional Shannxi repertoire, and as such the regional Shaanxi zheng style was (re)created113 (Zhou 2009, personal communication). Zhou Yanjia also pointed out that this was the time when solo zheng repertoires evolved from their original ensemble form: In the past, teachers such as Gao Zicheng and Cao Dongfu mostly played to accompany [narrative songs], there were no solo performances. When they were invited as individual musician to teach at conservatories, they did not have ensembles to play with, so the music they played became solo 112  The main opera genres of Shaanxi region, such as qin qiang, wanwan qiang, and mihu diao, all apply the identical scale as the Chaozhou zheng, which contains fa↑and ti↓. 113 Zhou Yanjia has gradually added more tunes that were derived from qinqiang and wanwanqing, two other Shaanxi operatic genres, to enrich the style. 128  pieces. What teacher Gao played was the zheng part in a peng baban ensemble. Further more, since he played it as a solo piece, the music needed to portray an image. Is it happy or sad? In addition, the piece [as solo] needed an introduction and ending, so [they] arranged the pieces. (2009, personal communication) When arranging pieces for solo zheng, musicians sometimes took the liberty of altering the traditional structure, making the music more cohesive and attractive to listeners not familiar with the music. In Gao Zicheng’s arrangement of Gaoshan Liushui (High Mountain and Flowing Water), for instance, he shortened the piece from the original four sections—standard for daban (great suite) pieces (discussed in 2.2)—to three. In so doing, the traditional symmetric principle of performing four sections in Shandong zheng structure was broken. In the same arrangement, Gao also added an introduction and an ending, each containing four chords and dramatic long glissandi to depict water. Similar alterations are also found in Su Wenxian’s arrangement of Chaozhou music. In creating the new version Su linked the touban (the first and slow section) of one piece to the kaopai (the third and fast section) of another piece, which changed the traditional common form of having three sections played in the order of “slow-moderate-fast”114 (Chen 1993:2). Programmatic descriptions of some traditional pieces were also either created or amended to be suitable for the new political and cultural environment.115  114  Yang Yinliu observed that similar occurances happened in other traditional genres as well. Once a Party cadre watched a wind and percussion band (most probably a Buddhist or Daoist band) perform a half-hour long piece. Afterward he commented that the “peasant’s music is too long,” so he instructed the musicians to cut the length of the piece to under five minutes. In another case a traditional musician complained to Yang about a proposed plan to shorten the pipa piece Shimian Maifu (Ambush All Sides) by only taking the sections that had fighting scenes (1953:31). 115 Zhao Yuzhai describes the opening of the Shandong peice Hangong Qiuyue (The Moon Hanging on the Han Palace) as portraying the lonely dispair of the Imperial court concubines, while the climax depicts strong condemnation of and opposition to the feudal society (1983:36). 129  In 1962 the zheng students at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music performed an ensemble piece for Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai. During the concert a female singer sang Honghu Shui (The Water of Hong Lake), a song from Zhou’s hometown Hubei province. After the performance Zhou said to the zheng players that they should sing as well. Zhou’s instruction motivated them to start singing tanchang (play and sing together), a narrative song genre (Fan, personal communication, 2010; see Figure 3.3).  Figure 3-3 The tanchang group at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, 1962. Left to right: Zhang Yan, Xiang Sihua, Sun Wenyan, Wang Zheng, Fan Shang’e, and Guo Xuejin (photo by permission of Liu Qichao).  130  Historically the zheng was used to accompany female singing long before it was introduced to rural China where it became a male instrument. As discussed in the Prelude, early genres of zaju (miscellaneous) opera and sanqu (scattered tunes) narrative songs from the Chinese Yuan dynasty featured female singers that utilized the zheng as accompaniment. Unfortunately the potential to revive this ancient tradition by reconnecting the zheng to narrative singing did not come to fruition. However, the skills the women gained through performing tanchang later created an opportunity for one of the zheng students, Wang Changyua, to perform her composition Battling the Typhoon for Mao Zedong’s wife Jiang Qing during the Cultural Revolution, which led the zheng’s metamorphosis onto a new stage (this will be discussed later in this chapter). The founding of the new China in 1949 brought a drastic change to the lives of traditional zheng musicians. As they transformed from “amateur” to “professional,” and played a new and much more prominent role in the new educational system, their traditional way of making music and their methods of instruction clashed with Western oriented pedagogy in conservatories. This cultural dichotomy had a substantial impact on the dissemination, instruction, and modernization of the zheng. Meanwhile, direct government involvement created a new platform for the development of the zheng. With a new generation of zheng performers fostered in conservatories, the art form of the zheng was promptly transformed from self-entertainment to the concert stage.  131  3.3 Innovation and Standardization in Zheng Construction  Concurrent with the zheng’s institutionalization, a campaign of modifying the instrument itself was commenced. The construction of the zheng has gone through several changes throughout its history of over two thousand years. The first documented modification occurred around the first century CE, transforming the instrument from its initial bamboo body with five strings to a wooden rectangular soundbox with twelve silk strings. The twelve-string zheng was first mentioned in a third-century poetic essay by Fu Xuan: “Its [zheng’s] upper part is convex like the vault of heaven; its bottom flat like the earth; its inside is hollow to accommodate the six points of the compass; and its twelve strings with their bridges symbolize the twelve months of the year” (Fu c. 265, translated from the Chinese). The instrument continued to slowly evolve over the next two millennia, gradually increasing the range of the number of strings to include up to sixteen. By the beginning of the twentieth century, both the 13- and 16-stringed zheng, tuned to an anhemitonic pentatonic scale, were in common use in the northern and southern styles respectively. Although silk strings were still being utilized, steel and copper strings emerged in the mid-nineteenth century and became common in the twentieth century. In the early 1950s, under a governmental mandate to make comprehensive and systematic improvements of traditional art forms, a reform of traditional Chinese instruments was implemented. As society was rapidly changing, a new unified national cultural identity was formed such that traditional instruments that used to be performed in regional music genres by folk musicians were targeted for transformation to better  132  represent the new national culture. “We should pay attention to the reforms of all the old art forms that are based in the masses,” stated Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai (1898-1976), “[and] first and foremost in this kind of reform is content. However, the old forms also require gradual appropriate reforms to reach harmony and unity between content and structure” (1949, translated from the Chinese). As the government was eager to create a fresh and unified national cultural identity that could showcase the “proletariat,” new compositions for orchestra and other large ensembles that reflected the “spirit of the time” (shidai jingshen) quickly grew to dominate the national music scene. The creation of a modern orchestra for Chinese traditional instruments and the demands of the compositions written for these orchestras subsequently became the incentive for the modernization of the traditional instruments.116 The first Forum on Instrument Reforms was held in October 1954 in Beijing,117 at which time Li Yuanqing, the director of the Chinese Music Research Institute, identified four main areas where traditional instruments required reform: temperament, pitch range, projection, and standardized scale (1959:494-99). In his speech, Li conveyed explicitly the rationale behind the necessity for such reform: Chinese musical instruments have prominent characteristics in their construction, performance and tone colours. Chinese people have used 116  The Chinese National Broadcasting Orchestra (CNBO), officially formed in 1953, was a model for the development of large orchestras employing traditional Chinese instruments. Following the model of a standard Western symphonic orchestra, the CNBO is comprised of over eighty musicians. Many traditional instruments were modified to perform in this orchestra in order to achieve a standardized tuning, a greater pitch range, and a balanced timbre throughout. To become fully chromatic, new frets were added to the pipa, the yangqin (hammered dulcimer) was enlarged to accommodate more strings, and the 17-pipe sheng became larger with more pipes added (currently a 36-pipe sheng is common). New instruments were also created to broaden the pitch rage of certain instrumental voicings so that the overall timbre of the orchestra approximated the Western orchestra, including: the zhonghu (medium-sized erhu), dahu (bass erhu), daruan (bass lute), and liuqin (high-pitched lute), to name a few. 117 The Forum was organized by The Chinese Music Research Institute, The Chinese National Musician’s Association, and the Music Research Institute of the Central Conservatory of Music. Over fifty instrument designers and makers attended the meeting, and over seventy newly designed or reformed instruments were introduced (Zhongyang 1956:1). 133  them to create and preserve tremendously outstanding music. However, it cannot be denied that the slow development of feudal society has affected the improvement of the instruments. Therefore, many of them unavoidably remain in their “infant” state, unlike Western musical instruments, which have undergone a capitalist revolution, and are impacted by modern science, resulting in their construction being greatly improved. Today, as vast changes in people’s life are occurring in China, we feel in certain ways that [our] instruments, as a unique part of music expression, are not completely suitable for this new life, ideas and emotions. If we consider the future of our traditional musical instruments as part of the brilliant prosperity of the socialist society, we feel even more the importance of instrument improvement. (1954:492-93, translated from the Chinese) Li’s political perspective understandably mirrored that of the government, which as a cultural official he was obliged to reiterate. Nevertheless, his rhetoric on the state of Chinese musical instruments and the comparison to Western practices was remarkably analogous to that of Xiao Youmei’s made decades before: “Europeans often apply scientific principle to reform their musical instruments, to expand pitch range, and to achieve the purpose of using sound to depict the variety of life. The ranges that Western music used a thousand year ago are identical with what is being used on Chinese instruments currently” (1920, in Feng 2007:148, translated from the Chinese). It is evident that despite substantial social and political changes, the perception that the guoyue (national music) creators held in the early twentieth century toward traditional instruments and their development had been passed on to the new society of communist China. This campaign of instrument reform was initially called gailiang, meaning “to improve,” but the term was soon replaced by gaige—“to reform” or “to change.” Although the difference between these two Chinese words seems subtle, there is a fine distinction between them. I would argue that while the term gailiang suggests that the  134  basic morphology and function of the instrument provides an adequate foundation on which further adjustments will be an asset, the term gaige implies a disparagement of the fundamental morphology and function of the instrument and calls for major reforms, which insinuates a negative attitude towards traditional instruments. Although not originally included in the new traditional instrument orchestras, the zheng was subject to reforms as well. The initial modification of the zheng was in response to the needs of the concert stage and new compositions. The traditional 16string zheng’s range of three pentatonic octaves was not large enough to perform new works which demanded the left hand alternately perform chords or a bass line to the melodies played by the right hand. The traditional silk and more contemporary steel strings of the zheng were not under high tension and as such were best suited for slower music where the idiosyncratic, delicate expressive bending and the subtleties of sustain could be heard. The new compositions, however, demanded more volume, deep bass tones, and rapid picking which traditional strings could not handle. Consequently, a strategic objective was established to increase the zheng’s size to accommodate more strings with greater projection, and to develop new strings that were stronger with greater tension. As the zheng was gradually included in orchestras, demand for its ability to change tonality grew, which led to the production of varying key-changeable zhengs by the nation’s major musical instrument factories. The overall result was a substantial expansion of the number of types of zheng within a short period of time, all with different purposes, repertoires, and attributes.  135  3.3.1  Development of the Twenty-One String Zheng and the Use of Nylon Strings In the early 1950s many new works for solo zheng emerged on the national stage,  most of which were meant to express the lives, happiness, and heroic spirit of the working class in the new communist society. The addition of chords, both hands plucking the strings on the right side of the bridges, and rapid passages in the new pieces challenged the limits of the traditional zheng. Composers sought a greater range of pitches and dynamics. As a result, in 1957 Zhao Yuzhai, who was teaching at the Shenyang Conservatory of Music, suggested to the musical instrument factory affiliated with the Conservatory to enlarge the soundbox and increase the number of the strings (Yan and Xu 1997:3), resulting in the production of the 21-string zheng.118 The addition of five strings to the 16-string zheng provided an extra octave, with a range from D to d3. In 1960 Xu Zhengao of the Shanghai Musical Instrument Factory, in consultation with Wang Xunzhi (the zheng instructor at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music), created the 21-string “S” shaped zheng.119 In contrast to the straight shankou (nut on the performer’s left side) found on previous zheng, the nut of the new zheng is closer to the fixed bridge (on the performer’s right side) under the higher strings and curves through a gentle “S” shape to end at a much greater distance from the fixed bridge under the bass register, lengthening the body by approximately one-fourth (see Figure 3.4). The concept of a curved nut was adapted from the orchestral harp to accommodate the length of the strings while maintaining an even string tension, producing a fuller tone colour 118  According to Liang Tzai-ping, a twenty-one steel string zheng was made by Zhao Yuzhai’s teacher, Wang Dianyu (1899-1964) (1971:6). Liang did not provide any further details or the date of the instrument; as Liang left China in 1949, however, Wang’s creation may have predated his departure. One can only speculate if this instrument was the genesis for Zhao Yuzhai’s later creation. 119 Although Xu Zhengao is now considered to be the founding father of the “S” shaped zheng, sources suggest that Xu was working together with Dai Chuang of the Shanghai Music Conservatory and his master Miao Jinlin from the Shanghai Musical Instrument Factory who replicated ancient court instruments for the Datong Yuehui (Great Unity Music Society) in the 1930s. 136  throughout the range. Meanwhile, the older wooden tuning pegs, usually placed on the top of the soundboard, were replaced with metal pegs on the side at one end to accommodate the increased string tension and for accurate tuning (Figure 3.5 a and b). In 1965 the “S” shaped 21-string zheng was patented under the name Dunhuang and has since become the standard size zheng played by modern conservatory-trained zheng musicians,120 whereas the 13-string and 16-string zheng are no longer in common use.  Figure 3-4 Twenty-one string “S” shaped Dunhuang zheng.  Figure 3-5 Comparison of zheng tuning pegs (A: wooden pegs; B: metal pegs).  120  Similar reforms to the Japanese koto occurred in Japan around the same time. Both the 17string and 20-string koto were created from the original 13-string prototype. Unlike the reforms to the zheng, the two types of newly developed koto did not replace the 13-string koto, but were used as complementary instruments. 137  The desire for increased volume and speed, combined with the larger size of the zheng, fostered the need for a new type of string that was stronger, had a good tone, and could be tuned at a much higher tension. Professional musicians considered silk strings121 too hard to keep in tune, too quiet, and too easily broken under tension. They felt as well that the strings had a muted tone and a short sustain when compared to metal strings. Xiang Sihua recalls: “Silk strings sounded awful, especially as I just switched from playing piano to the zheng [at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music]. I found them hard to handle, they didn’t generate any volume, they didn’t have a clear sound and when tuned too tight, they broke” (2009, personal communication). Steel strings, which were quite thin and tuned at a low tension, became popular in the mid-twentieth century for their subtle nuanced pitch manipulations and long sustained lingering tones, and for these reasons still remain the string of choice for Chaozhou zheng. However, they were quite soft, had a somewhat noisy attack when plucked, were easily broken, and would not keep a pitch when struck hard in modern fast forceful passages. Thus a need existed for a new string that could respond to the demands of modern music and techniques. In the late 1950s Wei Hongning, a zheng student from Shanghai working together with his teacher Wang Xunzhi, invented a new type of zheng string (Fan 2010, personal communication). The string consisted of three components—a metal core covered by a layer of silk and wound with nylon—and was much stronger when compared to silk or steel strings.122 It also produced a brighter sound with rich overtones. With a range of 121  The silk-string zheng was still common in the early 1950s due to many Japanese koto left abandoned in Chinese cities after World War II. The koto could be easily found discarded in back alleys or storage rooms throughout Beijing and Tianjin. Shi Zhaoyuan, an older generation zheng performer who used to live in Tianjin, related that he and many other zheng players used the koto in place of the zheng as they were readily available for free. 122 One of the five strings in each register (usually pitch A) is coloured green, as a visual reference for performers. 138  gauges, a set of twenty-one strings generated a fairly balanced tone colour inclusive of the bright high and deep low registers. These new strings were considered ideal for contemporary compositions and were greatly preferred by zheng players over silk or steel strings. Nylon strings have been the most commonly used zheng strings since the 1970s,123 while the use of silk strings has practically ceased. Metal strings are still favoured by some musicians and are common in Chaozhou and other regional styles. The 21-string zheng with nylon strings was a new, versatile modern instrument; in combination with the larger soundbox and thicker strings at a higher tension, it generated greater volume and a substantially lower bass register that better suited modern music. The high tension of the nylon strings, however, has greatly reduced the ability to manipulate the strings, as they are harder to depress, less responsive, and do not have the sustain of metal strings nor the complexities of silk. Although the subtle nuances of yun—a defining aspect of the traditional zheng—are still present, they are diminished, a factor that contributed to left hand techniques playing a lesser role in contemporary compositions.  3.3.2  Creating the Pentatonic Key-Changeable Zheng In the early 1960s many state-owned musical instrument factories independently  experimented in producing key-changeable zheng. The result was a variety of keychangeable instruments built over the subsequent two decades, exploring two main approaches: hand controlled mechanisms and foot pedals.  123  The dunhuang nylon string, recently named type “A,” was officially designated as the standard zheng string in 1975. In 1997 and 2005, type “B” and “C” were respectively created due to the demands of the continued increase of string tension (Li 2009:105-106). 139  The hand controlled, key-changeable zheng was initially designed in 1963 by the Zheng Reform Unit (zhenggai xiaozu) of the Shenyang Musical Instrument Factory, in consultation with the Shenyang Conservatory of Music. Led by Zhang Kun, the Unit constructed a 22-string pentatonic hand controlled, key-changeable zheng in 1965 named Model 65 (see Figure 3.6). Designed to be able to provide pentatonic scales in all twelve keys, as well as accidentals, the principle of changing keys on Model 65 was achieved through adjusting the length of the string. The individual movable bridges were fixed to the soundboard, with the key change mechanism installed on the right side of the main fixed bridge. This mechanism was comprised of eleven switches on the player’s side of the instrument attached to five connecting rods which ran through the interior box, on which sat forty-four rotating tuning posts which extended through the top of the instrument just to the left of the main bridge. There were also metal screws attached to each string for fine-tuning. At the top of each tuning post sat a small cap with two pegs that the string ran between. When the tuning switch was moved sideways it turned the tuning post, which rotated the cap so that the pegs stopped the string, thereby shortening its length and raising the pitch. There were two tuning posts per string with each raising the string a semitone, and each tuning post was attached to a connecting rod so that pitches in all octaves were adjusted simultaneously. I personally found that the metal strings of Model 65 went out of tune very quickly, and that the tuning mechanism was quite noisy.124 In addition, the instrument was very heavy and it was impractical to tour with.  124  I played a Model 65 key-changeable zheng when performing with the Qianjin Orchestra from  1975-1979. 140  In 1972 a newer and improved pentatonic key-changeable zheng—Model 72— was developed based on the previous model. Similar to the Model 65, a key change device was installed on the right side of the instrument, though it was simpler and lighter. A report on this project stated that besides having improved the tuning mechanism, making it more precise, the instrument makers also flattened the soundboard, which made it easier to play (Shenyang 1973:2-4).  Figure 3-6 Model 65 key-changeable zheng (artistic recreation).125  The Yingkou Musical Instrument Factory of Liaoning province made another example of a pentatonic key-changeable zheng in the mid 1970s, with a four-button control replacing the switches. This 21-string zheng was considered a successful model for its capacity to change to five keys (D-G-C-F-Bb)—which was thought adequate for most compositions—but also, more importantly, because it was lighter and more practical for a touring musician (see Figure 3.7).126 Nevertheless, the weight of the instrument  125  The numbers in the picture are: 1. tuning switches, 2. the caps of the tuning posts containing two pegs, 3. the lid, 4. tuning pegs, 5. bridges, 6. strings, and 7. fine-tuning screws. 126 I was invited by the designer Li Taigang along with Zhang Yan and Wang Li, two prominent zheng performers at the time, to try his new model at a showcase conference held by Yingkou Music Instrument Factory in 1979. I purchased one key-changeable zheng and used it for many years with the Zhanyou Ensemble on such rigorous tours through the grasslands of Inner Mongolia and along the ChineseRussian border by truck and boat. 141  eventually became a factor, especially as the lighter Dunhuang zheng became more commonplace. Although the ability to change keys quickly was an asset, professional musicians were able to change keys on the Dunhuang zheng almost as quickly by moving the bridges.  Figure 3-7 21-string Yingkou key-changeable zheng, played by the author.  In 1974 Zhang Kun of the Shenyang Musical Instrument Factory created a 24string, five pedal pentatonic key-changeable zheng modeled after the orchestral harp. The pedals were located on a column placed under the right side of a large diagonal mechanism fixed midway along the top of the instrument. This mechanism supported small movable bridges that were operated by the foot pedals, which would move the bridges forward and back to change the pitch of the string (see Figure 3.8). Although several top performers tested this foot pedaled, key-changeable zheng, the weight and size of the instrument made it cumbersome to move, and therefore it did not become common.127  127  Under the direction of the Ministry of Culture, a special instrument reform team known as the Qin, Zheng, and Se Reform Unit was active in Beijing from 1974 to 1975 to test a number of foot pedal, key-changeable zhengs. The team was led by zheng performer Kang Mianzong and also included Xiang Sihua. 142  Figure 3-8 Pentatonic 21-string pedal zheng (Liu 1992:206, photo by permission of the Chinese Music Research Institute).  3.3.3  Diatonic and Chromatic Key-changeable Zheng During the same period that pentatonic key-changeable zheng were being  invented, other musical instrument factories were devising diatonic key-changeable zhengs. Although the pentatonic key-changeable zheng was seen as an improvement, the restrictions of the pentatonic scale itself were still a hindrance to the instrument’s use in the orchestra.128 In particular, when large Chinese orchestras were being developed following the Western model, the zheng was the closest to fulfilling the role of a harplike instrument. However, most compositions written for these orchestras were combinations of Chinese melodies with Western harmony, which required instruments capable of harmonic progression and modulation. As a result, a concerted effort was made to create a diatonic and chromatic key-changeable zheng to fulfill these functions.  128  In 1962 both Xiang Sihua and Fan Shang’e performed the new zheng arrangement of Haiqing Nahe (Falcon Catches Swan). Originally written in a diatonic scale for pipa, the performers had to use a pentatonic and a diatonic tuned zheng placed side by side to accommodate the various passages of the piece. This was interpreted as evidence of the zheng’s deficiency. 143  As discussed in the previous chapter, tuning the open strings of the zheng to a pentatonic scale facilitated the use of moving tones, which were at the core of traditional practice. The impetus for the left hand technique was to create these moving tones such as fa↑and ti↓from bending the corresponding open strings of mi and la. Tuning to a diatonic scale with a fixed fa and ti is a fundamental change to the identity of the zheng. When discussing the standardization of Chinese scales, scholar Liu Yuanqing commented: We admit that fa↑and ti↓are characteristic of the Chinese scale, but it is not the sole characteristic of Chinese music, it is only a small part. It does not play a decisive role as an ethnic characteristic. Europe originally did not have a unified scale [before using the twelve-tone scale], and the widespread use of the twelve-tone scale did not obliterate their ethnic characteristics. Obviously, if we lack the courage to abandon a minor “characteristic” that binds us and inhibits us from advancement, it will be impossible for us to advance the whole of our national music characteristic in a much larger arena (e.g., changing key and applying harmony). (1959:496, translated from the Chinese) It is understandable that Chinese scholars had to follow the party line and government instructions, however, Li’s comments reveal a Western bias that was commonly held by Chinese music scholars and instrument reformers in this period. The most well known of the diatonic key-changeable zhengs were the 36-string (see Figure 3.9) and 44-string instruments (see Figure 3.10), both created by Zhang Ziyue of the Suzhou Musical Instrument Factory of Jiangsu province in 1972. Both featured a pedestal with numerous pedals that depressed small padded hooks arranged in two rows between three main fixed bridges. As a pedal was depressed, the hooks would pull the appropriate strings down into contact with the second bridge to raise the pitch a semitone or the third bridge to raise a tone. Both instruments maintained the movable bridges of  144  the traditional zheng to allow for fine-tuning, something that was second nature to an accomplished player.  Figure 3-9 Thirty-six string diatonic key-changeable zheng (Liu 1992:204, photo by permission of the Chinese Music Research Institute).  Figure 3-10 Diatonic 44-string pedal zheng (Suzhou 1972, photo by permission of the Chinese Music Research Institute).  In 1978 He Baoquan, a zheng instructor at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, designed a 49-string chromatic key-changeable zheng named the Butterfly (dieshi) zheng, due to its shape (He 1981:14) (see Figure 3.11). The Butterfly zheng was constructed with 145  the main fixed bridge at the centre of the instrument with soundboards on either side. The majority of the strings were stretched in both directions from the fixed bridge over a series of movable bridges to pass over a nut on each side of the soundboard. The main strings were tuned to a pentatonic scale on each side of the instrument, a semi-tone apart, with D sharp and D as the lowest pitches respectively. In addition, there was one extra string per octave on both sides that rose from their own individual bridges on top of the sound board, then crossed a movable bridge to end at their own individual nut. These additional strings then provided a hexatonic scale: D sharp-F-G-G sharp-A sharp-c on the right side, D-E-F sharp-A-B-c sharp on the left side, together furnishing a full chromatic selection of pitches.  Figure 3-11 Butterfly Zheng (Liu 1992:208, photo by permission of the Chinese Music Research Institute).  Although the idea of making a key-changeable zheng was very popular from the 1960s to the 1970s, these experiments were not considered successful overall. Most of  146  the players who tried these new instruments did not favour them. According to Xiang Sihua who tested the Butterfly zheng, only one pentatonic key (D) could be played comfortably on this instrument. To play in other pentatonic keys the player had to skip over strings, which was not intuitive with traditional hand positions (2000, personal communication). As a result, the zheng has played only a minor role in the orchestra providing occasional “colour” (mainly with glissandi), a position it still holds today in many cases. The tuning mechanisms of key-changeable zheng were seldom accurate and often quickly put the instruments out of tune. In order to accommodate key changes, strings were tuned to twelve-tone equal temperament. However, most zheng performers were trained to tune the zheng by ear in just intonation using sanfen sunyi fa129 (adding and subtracting one-third), an equivalent method to the Pythagorean circle of fifths. Tuning by ear to just intonation was integral to the training of most zheng performers, even though most were probably not consciously aware of the theory behind it. Playing a keychangeable zheng in equal temperament challenged the ear of many performers, who then constantly tried to readjust the tuning to match the just intonation in their ear. The consequences were frustrating and disastrous. Since the 1980s attempts to build new types of zheng declined, though experimentation in zheng morphology continues. Recent experiments include a “W” shaped chromatic version of the Butterfly zheng, manufactured by Pan Haixin and Pan Haiwei of Hebei province since 2000, which features strings arranged in a diatonic scale 129  Sanfen sunyi fa, documented in Guanzi (Book of Master Guan, c 645 BC), is a method of calculating temperament by string length. If the total length of a string is divided into three parts evenly, and the whole length of the string carries a basic tone, by adding and subtracting one-third of the string a pure fifth and a pure fourth lower are produced, creating the five tones gong, shang, jue, zhi, and yu. In the same book the calculation obtains twelve complete pitches, known as six lü ( )and six lü ( ). 147  on one half of the instrument while on the other there is a pentatonic scale, together creating a full chromatic instrument (see Figure 3.12).  Figure 3-12 “W” shaped Zheng.  The two decades of the 1960s and 1970s were the most active period for the modification and modernization of the zheng in the instrument’s two thousand year history. These changes were ultimately in response to the intense political activity of the period and the need for the music and instruments of the time to reflect these changes. They were also the result of corresponding shifts in musical content, performance styles, and social context. Although the initial motivation was to design a new zheng that was bigger,130 louder, more versatile, and able to modulate, the end result was the creation of new instruments designed for specific purposes. The Dunhaung zheng has become the most popular of the new instruments and is certainly louder, larger, and more versatile than previous instruments, yet it still maintains the essential design of the traditional zheng with moveable bridges under each string and the ability to manipulate the sound plucked with the right hand by depressing the same string on the left of the bridges, allowing for  130  While 21-string zheng are standard, 23, 26, and up to 50 stringed zheng are also found. 148  moving tones. Unfortunately the complex, highly nuanced voice of the silk string zheng has been virtually silenced after two thousand years,131 though hopefully it will be revived in some form in recognition of the essential voice of Chinese culture it embodies. The 16-steel string zheng, although not a mainstream instrument, is still valued for its long sustain and subtle nuances. Musical instruments as artifacts are arguably one of the most identifiable markers of cultural identity. Some zheng scholars, especially those of the older generations, believe that the morphology of the zheng should be left unchanged. In my conversation with Zhou Yanjia, he addressed this issue with a heavy heart: “Our zheng is twenty-seven hundred years old and it still cannot settle into a stable form. We should utilize its merit instead of imposing musical ideas that the instrument was not created for” (2009, personal communication). Whereas the traditional zheng was designed to create highly sophisticated and nuanced horizontal music (a single melodic line), there was a drive to reform the instrument to also be capable of the vertical (Western harmonic) musical expression of modern compositions and orchestras. This led to a number of instruments whose shape and function transformed them into new instruments, including the button, pedal, and butterfly zheng. These then fulfilled all the original goals but made the instruments impractical for performing traditional works. In two short decades many new instruments have been developed under the name of zheng, each with their own abilities, forms, functions, and virtues. Hopefully with time they will be valued for their idiosyncrasies, and will remain to give voice to a wide range of musical possibilities for the zheng.  131  Silk strings are still used for the Korean kayagŭm today. Compared to modern zheng strings, kayagŭm silk strings are not as bright and resonant, but have a more complex timbre. 149  3.4 The Development of Composition, New Techniques, and the Transformation of Musical Style  Composition constitutes the most significant component of the zheng’s modernization, exemplifying the impact of the social and political atmosphere and its interconnection with the instrument’s institutionalization, professionalization, and morphological reform. Issues regarding composition discussed in this section include compositional method, programmatic content, and technical developments that played an important role in the zheng’s musical style. The professionalization of traditional zheng musicians dramatically increased the instrument’s exposure on a national level, which in turn spawned a flurry of solo zheng compositions. While each work brought new compositional ideas, techniques, and sounds to the instrument moving it forward with each fresh vision, they all shared a common theme—depicting the lives of working class. “Our literature and art are for the masses,” Mao Zedong asserted, “first and foremost for the workers, peasants, and soldiers” (1942:804, translated from the Chinese). Mao’s dogma was later iterated by Zhou Yang, the deputy minister of the Cultural Ministry in 1953 with further instructions: “[Artistic works] ought to educate the people with lofty patriotism and socialist ideology” (1953:3, translated from the Chinese). I should point out that although Mao’s entire tenet directly emanated from Marx and Lenin through the Russian revolution in the early twentieth century, music as a means to serve social and moral principles is a concept of Confucianism, as already discussed in the previous chapter. Whereas Confucian ideology was strongly attacked and banned by the Communist party since 1949, it seems beyond  150  doubt that China’s Confucian cultural roots spawned a fertile soil for Marxist and Leninist ideology to flourish in China. In compliance with this political imperative, new compositions for the zheng from the 1950s to the 1970s unavoidably bore a strong political imprint.  3.4.1  Celebrating the Harvest: A Departure from Traditional Composition In the early 1950s the Communist Party set forth its new cultural policy of  “revolutionizing, nationalizing, and massifying” (geming hua, minzu hua, qunzhong hua) in an effort to create new works that reflected a new life, and to replace traditional music. Yang Yinliu pointed out that traditional music “reflects the old life of ancient feudal and capitalist societies,” and therefore was no longer suitable. In making the new, “we are actually conducting socialist transformation of the traditional music” (1964:91, translated from the Chinese). Following this policy, the first wave of new compositions emerged throughout the country. Compositions written in this period were mostly composed by the zheng performers themselves, many of whom were traditional musicians who had become conservatory teachers or performers recruited by state owned musical ensembles. Most of these musicians felt indebted to the government for giving a new life to their art and themselves. In exchange, they wanted to transform their old music and the folk image of their instrument into something that belonged to the modernized society and art community. As Zhao Yuzhai expresses: “Born in the old society, I followed my teacher to busk everywhere. I would have never dreamed of being escalated to become an instructor at an advanced educational institute. The music conservatory opened my eyes,  151  like a bee that finally finds nectar. I was studying literature, piano and music theory voraciously. Gradually, as my knowledge was enriched and my vision was widened, I realized that problems existed in zheng’s artistic expression” (1984:62, translated from the Chinese). In 1955 Zhao Yuzhai composed Qing Feng Nian (Celebrating the Harvest), fully scored with over two hundred measures and multiple sections. To portray “a thriving agricultural scene in the countryside” (Zhao 1984:63, translated from the Chinese), the main melodic materials are derived and developed from six measures of a baban melody as well as from a qinshu narrative song from rural Shandong. With the application of many distinctive traditional Shandong techniques such as hua (flower) or glissando, tremolo picking with the thumb, wide vibrato, and idiosyncratic bends, the piece possesses an unambiguous “earthy” flavour distinct to Shandong. This work contained a significant development for the instrument that affected the traditional function of the left hand: the introduction of harmony. Before composing the piece, Zhao posed these questions to himself: Why can’t the zheng play chords like the piano to reinforce and support the harmony? The zheng has a wide pitch range, why can’t it play long glissandi like the harp to enrich the colour of the music and to add atmosphere?... I believe by borrowing performance techniques from other instruments, the zheng will increase its ability to express; it will increase the range of its dynamics, therefore, gaining the flavour of the current time…[In composing Celebrating the Harvest], I wanted to pay attention to absorb and invent new techniques, in order to meet the demands of new content and to make the music more visual. (1984:63-4, translated from the Chinese)  152  The composer’s intent of adapting new techniques from Western instruments can be seen in his inclusion of chords and harmonic intervals in the piece.132 The piece opens with two hands plucking alternately (see Figure 3.13); in addition, passages of glissandi are played by the left hand as a separate voice in response to the main melody (see Figure 3.14). “Adding hua on the left hand,” as Zhao explained, “helps to add dynamic changes, as if scenes of celebration arise from all directions, portraying an excellent harvest” (Zhao 1984:67, translated from the Chinese).  Figure 3-13 The opening section of Celebrating the Harvest, exhibiting the early development of two hands plucking the zheng.  132  The left hand plucking technique had already been applied in traditional Zhejiang style. However, Zhao might not have been aware of this at the time he was composing this piece. Most of the chords played by the left hand are accompaniment to the melody carried on the right hand. 153  In 1956 Zhao Yuzhai performed Celebrating the Harvest at the First National Music Week in Beijing, the biggest music festival showcasing new compositions. The piece received very positive reviews from music critics, praising Zhao Yuzhai as “an innovative performer” who “liberated his left hand to play melody and harmony simultaneously and enriched the life of this ancient instrument” (Li 1956:8, translated from the Chinese).  Figure 3-14 Excerpt from Celebrating the Harvest, exhibiting the transformation of glissando from the right hand to the left hand.  154  Zhao Yuzhai’s innovative compositional method and performance techniques are representative of many zheng compositions written at the time, which demonstrate a similar desire by other composers for creating a new voice for the zheng. Influenced by this approach, some musicians even began to apply harmony to traditional pieces as well.133 It should be pointed out that the “liberation” of the left hand challenged its traditional role while marking a divergence in zheng music, pursuing a stronger, faster, and more dynamic expression. As the left hand was increasingly used to pluck strings, new compositions began favouring fewer moving tones, and some of the notes that traditionally and stylistically should have been treated as moving tones became unadorned. This shift of function of the left hand transformed zheng music from horizontal music stressing melodic subtly and nuance to vertical music stressing harmony and counterpoint. As new methods of composition were introduced, the use of baban as a fundamental skeletal form disappeared in new zheng music. In my survey of writings during the 1950s and 1960s, I found very little discussion or mention of support for the use of baban, or any exploration of its adaptability to new compositions. Only one article came to light on this issue, in which renowned Chinese music scholar Yang Yinliu answered questions on qupai by government cultural officials: Is a single qupai able to express different emotions? Some comrades have doubts, believing using a few fixed qupai to express various emotions was unreasonable and unscientific. In fact the term “fixed” here is not totally accurate. The truly fixed part of qupai is only the melodic frame, [while] the details in melodic development are not fixed and what is most relevant 133  As discussed in the previous chapter, my teacher Gao Zicheng arranged and added a four-chord short introduction and ending to Gaoshan Liushui (High Mountain and Flowing Water), a Shandong baban suite, and composed Fengxiang Ge Bianzou Qu (Variations on Melody of Fengxiang). 155  to express emotions is exactly this development…One comrade asked me: “Was the reason for the unlimited variations of folk qupai tunes because of its imprecise notation?”…[The variations] were a conscious choice responding to the requirements for different content. Although [new] pieces should be composed to demonstrate new life, [we] should still borrow existing compositional forms of folk music. (1953:29-30, translated from the Chinese) Clearly there was a lack of understanding of the nature of traditional composition and the function of qupai forms such as baban in musical development among government cultural officials and the public. As such, it is not surprising that qupai such as baban ceased to serve as a compositional structure in the modernized music environment. Ironically, in Maoist China Western compositional methods were adopted to create new works as part of “rescuing the heritage,” while composers abandoned the traditional Chinese compositional forms. As discussed in Chapter Two, musicians were composers in traditional zheng practice, as music was created through extemporization over qupai forms and folk melodies and the repertoire was developed over time. Although almost all zheng compositions from this time were still written by zheng performers, the introduction and practice of a Western concept of composition eliminated these spontaneous elements from zheng composition and performance. Rather than allowing for improvisational moments, pieces became fully composed and scored. This was the first step in the separation of musician from composer in the performance practice of the zheng.  3.4.2  Battling the Typhoon: A New Model for Zheng Composition Zhan Taifeng (Battling the Typhoon, 1965) is another landmark composition for  the zheng, written a decade after Celebrating the Harvest by Wang Changyuan (b.1945,  156  see Figure 3.15). This piece depicts a scene of a group of longshoremen rushing to unload cargo as a typhoon approaches the dock. Battling the Typhoon represents the typical compositional style and standard of zheng technical performance developed in the 1960s. In analyzing the compositional and performance aspects of the piece, a parallel examination of the composer’s life surrounding the composition will also be given through which an ethnographic perspective will reveal the inextricable interconnections between national politics and Wang’s individual artistic journey as both a composer and musician.  Figure 3-15 Wang Changyuan in 1984 at Kent State University, Ohio (photo by permission of Gerry Simon).  157  Battling the Typhoon was composed when Wang was a freshman at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music studying the zheng with her father Wang Xunzhi.134 Wang recalls that as part of the school curriculum the students at the Conservatory were required to complete a certain amount of labour at either factories or on farms:135 I went to work at a dock every Thursday. At the time, I was planning to write a piece for the coming Spring of Shanghai.136 When the workers knew that I was looking for compositional materials, they told me stories about their work and experiences of overcoming the destructive forces of a typhoon, which occurred often in Shanghai. These stories touched me. I also personally experienced a typhoon there… I first named the piece Qiangxian (To Rescue), but the deputy director of our school said the title was not heroic enough, and asked me to change it to Zhan Taifeng (Battling the Typhoon). (2011, personal communication) Wang successfully premiered Battling the Typhoon at the Spring of Shanghai Festival and performed it again at the Guangzhou Trade Fair, the largest expo in China at the time. However, when the Chairman of the Communist Party Mao Zedong (1893-1976) instigated the Cultural Revolution (1966-76),137 except for a few pieces all previous music was immediately prohibited from being performed, giving way to new 134  Wang Changyuan began learning the zheng with her father at the age of nine, and enrolled in the Affiliated Middle School of the Shanghai Conservatory in 1960 to continue her studies with her father. During that time she assisted him to produce fingering indications for traditional Zhejiang pieces and to create new compositions in the traditional Zhejiang idiom, such as Haiqing Nahe (Falcon Catching Swan) and Lin Chong Yeben (Lin Chong Elopes in the Night, 1962). After graduation she became the zheng soloist for the Shanghai Opera House, Shanghai Orchestra, and other art groups in China. Wang Changyuan went to the Kent State University in 1984 and has since moved to New York City to teach and perform the zheng. 135 The initiative to send university students to work part-time in factories or on farms was put forward by Zhou Enlai, the Chinese Prime Minister, in his State Government Work Report of 1964. In the report Zhou stressed that the goal was “labourizing the intellectuals while intellectualizing the working class” (1964, translated from the Chinese). 136 Spring of Shanghai is an annual music festival held in Shanghai. Created in 1960, the festival is the oldest and one of the most prestigious in the PRC. 137 The Cultural Revolution, also known as the Proletarian Cultural Revolution, was a political campaign on the cultural front. It was initially designed by Mao Zedong as a political cleansing within the Party, as Mao believed that in all the years since the PRC was founded there existed many kinds of antirevolutionists in the Party, including “right opportunists,” “bourgeoisie,” “anti-Party”, “anti-socialists,” “modern revisionists,” and people “who follow Capitalism.” The Cultural Revolution soon turned the nation into turmoil, affecting the lives of every family. The ten years of the Cultural Revolution has proven to be the darkest time in recent Chinese history. 158  revolutionary songs and the eight revolutionary model theatrical works (yangban xi).138 Music conservatories suspended their teaching activities as the educational system was paralyzed nationwide. Wang Changyuan’s father was arrested for his past work experience as a banker under the Republic reign. Wang eventually went to work at the Shanghai Opera House as a singer, forming a small narrative singing group with several female singer/musicians, including Min Huifen (b.1945), one of the most prominent erhu performers of the time. Late in 1972 the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra put on a special performance139 in Beijing for Jiang Qing, Mao Zedong’s wife, who was then the chief commander taking charge of the country’s cultural and art affairs. Wang’s group was chosen to perform as a vocal ensemble in order to extend the length of the concert, and in addition each musician was asked to perform a solo piece on her instrument as they were also formally trained instrumentalists (Wang 2011, personal communication). Wang Changyuan thus had an opportunity to perform Battling the Typhoon again after its premiere seven years before. Jiang Qing was very excited about the piece and declared that “Battling the Typhoon is worth promoting”140 (Jiang 1973), as it was as a perfect example to guide and animate the development of Chinese instrumental music, as well as to fight against so-  138  The eight revolutionary model theatrical works (six Beijing opera and two ballet works) were produced under the direct supervision of Jiang Qing during the early stages of the Cultural Revolution. Most of these works were initially created before the Cultural Revolution, but were heavily revised to portray and idealize communist revolutionary history. Ironically, Beijing opera employed a mix of Western orchestra with traditional Chinese instruments. 139 The orchestra was requested to perform a symphonic choir arrangement of Zhiqu Weihushan (Taking the Tiger Mountain by Strategy), one of the eight model operas. 140 According to Wang Changyuan, Jiang Qing mentioned Battling the Typhoon on many occasions. This statement was made on August 5th, 1973 in Jiang’s meeting with the top Chinese pianist Liu Shikun (b. 1939), who was just released from five years in prison. Jiang instructed Liu to arrange Batting the Typhoon as a piano concerto. 159  called “non-titled” music.141 Jiang’s approval brought unprecedented attention to Battling the Typhoon, greatly elevating its status to become the model for modern composition on traditional Chinese musical instruments.142 A substantial editorial was published in The People’s Daily (Renmin Ribao), the official newspaper and voice of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, praising the composition as having “a practical significance in further promoting the reform of traditional music, and proves that instrumental music, with or without a title, is bound to, and must reflect a certain degree of social content” (Yin 1974:4, translated from the Chinese). Despite the acclaim her composition received, Wang Changyuan was initially excluded from joining the National Art Troupe (Zhongguo Yishu Tuan), the most prestigious Chinese art group at the time, for her “tainted” family background.143 However, this changed after Jiang Qing heard another zheng player perform Battling with Typhoon at a National Art Troup performance, expressing that it was “not as strong” (Wang 2011, personal communication). Following Jiang Qing’s enquiry, the Party cadres revealed that Wang Changyuan’s father had died in prison, so she was cleared for joining the National Art Troup. Wang’s performance of Battling with Typhoon as part of the 141  In 1973 two European musicians were invited to perform in China. A report on the concert sent to Jiang Qing written by the Central Conservatory of Music stated: “Most of the compositions have no titles nor clear content. They only express certain colour and emotion” (Ju 2002:118, translated from the Chinese). This report sparked a nationwide “mass criticism” (da pipan) against non-titled music. 142 The overwhelming success of Battling the Typhoon made the piece the most frequently heard instrumental work on nationwide radio between 1973 and 1975, and a “must have” piece for Chinese Art Troupes visiting overseas. Its score was included in volume 7 of the Wenyi Jiemu (Art Program), a special score collection of nine instrumental compositions edited by the Chief Cultural Group of the State Council in July, 1974. Battling the Typhoon paved the way for other traditional Chinese instrumental compositions to be accepted by the government, and to be performed in public. These compositions included the suona solo Shancun Laile Shouhuo Yun (A Shop Assistant Coming to the Village) by Zhang Xiaofeng (1972), the pipa concerto Caoyuan Xiao Jiemei (The Little Sisters from the Grassland) by Liu Dehai and Wu Zuqiang (1973), and the dizi solo Yangbian Cuima Yunliang Mang (Riding the Horses to Delivering Crops) by Wei Zhongxian (1973). 143 The group toured the United States in 1974, in exchange with an earlier visit to China by the Philadelphia Philharmonic Orchestra. Both visits were highlights in contemporary Chinese history, were highly politicized, and used as diplomatic means to repair the relationship between the two countries. 160  concert program of the National Art Troup was filmed by Beijing Film Studios (Beijing Dianying Chipian Chang) and released in an art documentary entitled Baihua Zhengyan (Hundred Flowers Blooming, 1976).144 Apart from the modern revolutionary dramas, this film is the first, if not the only, music project that was filmed and distributed nationally. Part of the success of Battling the Typhoon was the music’s literal interpretation of the external events in the storyline clearly laid out in the program notes, scene-to-scene and gesture-to-gesture. Section A is enthusiastic, painting a busy working scene before the typhoon arrives; section B depicts the battle between the longshoremen and the forces of nature; section C’s lyrical melody suggests the triumph in a bright clear sky and sunshine; and finally the recapitulation praises the workers’ heroic spirit and joy of victory. Through the program notes directly decoding the sound materials, listeners are expected to be able to understand and follow the messages unambiguously. This was a tool that the Chinese Government found very useful to deliver political messages, as Mittler points out: Music itself cannot possibly stand for an ideology for it does not speak the simple and straightforward language of the ideologues. It cannot by itself speak for or against any kind of regime. Its message is ambiguous if not arbitrary. Since this makes up its potential subversive strength, it is manipulated by those who govern by infusing words and texts, hence constructing safe and correct meaning. In order to tackle the implied threat music poses to them, Chinese governments simply supply their own explanation: interpreting and categorizing, by semanticizing the nonsemantic in music, by speaking the unspeakable. (1997: 61-62) Programmatic content, as discussed in Chapter Two, was an integral part of traditional Chinese music, with each poetic title or theme suggesting an idealized artistic mood (yijing). This content was used as a guideline for performers to apply appropriate 144  Available online at http://v.youku.com/v_playlist/f3594195o1p11.html, Battling with Typhoon is found at the eighty-one minute mark. 161  aesthetics and for the audience to follow the music. Recalling Shi Zhaoyuan’s quote from Chapter Two, “Musicians often recreated based on their own understanding of the music…therefore, the new pieces were different from person to person. They reflected the musician’s mastery of technique and music, as well as their artistic achievement” (1985:6, translated from the Chinese). The direct relationship of musical gesture to storyline laid out in the program notes in Battling the Typhoon marked a distinct departure from the past: in this case the political message—the heroic spirit of the working class—is delivered directly. “What could be more straightforward? Every worker would understand the piece in a safe and proper way and would not be led astray by his own emotions and thoughts” (Mittler 1997:63).  3.4.3  Artistic Expression while Negotiating Politics In his article “Music as Propaganda” Arnold Perris poses the question: “Can an  artistic mind function fully if bound to the strictures of a political ideology?” According to Perris, an outsider might judge that “extramusical controls must ultimately diminish quality and inhibit imagination” (1983:1). He further suggests: The artist of China must be brought to such a uniformity in the face of artistic individuality. But cultural and political awareness continue to stimulate the artists’ desires for control of their craft. In a doctrinaire government the artist, like all citizens, are explicitly and systematically politicized. The more dogmatic and autocratic the state censorship, the more that artists—or some artists—will struggle, dissemble and compromise their artistic judgments and preferences. Is it possible that an authoritarian regime can long mold all artists into “one mode of expression…one color”… and to prohibit all alternatives? Mao observed that a people cannot be satisfied by the phenomena of their daily routine; they crave art to lift them outside themselves. Artists are among these same people. Their aesthetic needs by the nature of their uncommon talent are more vivid, more imaginative, than those of the masses. (ibid.:18)  162  As Perris suggests, outside of China compositions such as Celebrating the Harvest and Battling the Typhoon can be easily regarded as propaganda, since they share a common political undertone reflected in their titles, programmatic themes, and program notes.145 It is true that within the Chinese cultural environment conformity with the state politics was not negotiable, and that demonstrating an individual artistic voice through the creation of music content became unfeasible. Yet, one common statement from my conversations with several prominent zheng composers/performers who contributed greatly to zheng composition in this period is that they all wanted to create something idiosyncratic from traditional works and each other’s pieces. One method employed by zheng artists to maintain their artistic integrity while not running afoul of the cultural mandate was to borrow, or even directly quote, melodic materials from “approved” folk songs or previously composed vocal pieces.146 Creating new compositions upon an existing popular melody was a common practice in Chinese music, and the making of instrumental zheng versions of popular songs increased the attractiveness of the instrument amongst common people. Another effective method for zheng artists to “lift” themselves from the “daily routine” of political control over their creations was to find new methods of expression through the innovative use of techniques, be it the transformation of traditional  145  Although Perris’s work cited here is about China during Mao’s time, the philosophical underpinning is broader, which begs the question whether an artist is ever really free of the political, cultural, or intellectual milieu in which he or she is active, or whether an artist can ever really be fully aware of the social, cultural, political pressures put upon them. These are broader musicological issues that are beyond the scope of this discussion. 146 The main melodies of the zheng solo Dongting Xinge (The New Tune of Dongting Lake) and Liuyang He (Liuyang River) are from the previously composed vocal version by Bai Chengren and Tang Biguang respectively. Xueshan Chunxiao (Snow Capped Mountain in the Spring Morning) borrowed Tibetan melodies, and the main melodic theme of Caoyuan Yingxiong Xiao Jiemei (The Heroic Sisters From the Grassland) comes from the theme song composed by Wu Yingju for the same titled cartoon movie made in 1965. 163  techniques, adapting techniques from other instruments, or the development of new ones. When discussing the creation of Battling the Typhoon, Wang Changyuan said: “Most traditional zheng pieces emphasize feelings and nature. I wanted to write a modern piece and about people” (2011, personal communication). Thus to represent the powerful heroics of the longshoremen, and based on Zhejiang zheng techniques, Wang innovated several new techniques in the composition: 1) diantan, the first finger of both hands rapidly alternating plucking each string, which create speed and intensity to the melody; 2) combining the diantan with the right middle finger inward strumming (sao), which increased the dynamics from forte to fortissimo (see Figure 3.16);147 3) glissandi on the left side of the bridges—the untuned side—to suggest “the spirit of evil” inherent in the furious waves pounding against the dock (Wang 2011, personal communication);148 and 4) right hand tremolo (yao) with the left hand pulling along the string to imitate the sound of the howling wind. It is not surprising that within the zheng world the importance of Battling with Typhoon was largely due to its innovative use of flamboyant new techniques.  147  Sao is a pipa technique where the player strums four strings simultaneously to create a loud sound with excitement. The technique of sao was often used in the traditional wuqu (martial) repertoire of the pipa, such as the famous Shimian Maifu (Ambush All Sides). 148 In my interview with Wang Changyuan, she said that the traditional glissando (on the right side of the bridges) “sounds too nice,” which cannot represent “bad things.” This notion that a glissando on the tuned side (pentatonic) is “too nice” and that glissandi on the unturned side represent “evil” suggests a symbolic relationship of the order-disorder polarity between scales and randomness, and shows that the power of mode/tonality is used to convey ideas and aesthetics of group norming. “Unorderedness” as evil is an important theme in Chinese culture, which has also been shown in the resistance to the development of Western style new music in China in more recent decades. 164  Figure 3-16 An excerpt from Battling the Typhoon, showing the combined techniques of two fingers rapid plucking and inward strum.  What followed was a large number of compositions stressing new or adapted techniques, mostly written in the 1970s by other disciples of Wang Xunzhi of the Zhejiang style. Like Wang Changyuan, they extended traditional Zhejiang techniques, such as sidian (fast right hand plucking in group of four notes) and tremolo (yao), to create greater power, precision, and speed. The most significant innovative zheng technique was adapted from the piano and harp. Before studying the zheng most of the composer/performers were trained pianists, 165  and it was therefore natural and intuitive for them to adapt piano techniques, especially using the left hand for arpeggios and chords while the right hand held the melody. A pianist and harpist, Zhang Yan’s compositions Honghu Shui, Lang da Lang (The Waves of Lake Hong, 1974) and Caoyuan Yingxiong Xiao Jiemei (The Heroic Sisters From the Grassland, 1974) heightened the use of arpeggios and chords to a degree reminiscent of the Russian romantic style (see Figure 3.17 and 3.18). Zhang’s compositions were the most challenging zheng works of the 1970s, elevating technique to a new level; as a result, her influence was widespread and these techniques have subsequently become standard, utilized in many other zheng compositions.149  Figure 3-17 An excerpt from Waves of Lake Hong.  149  As a young zheng player who had only studied with traditional musicians, I was struck by Wang Changyuan’s use of modern techniques in Battling the Typhoon and realized I had to study with a teacher who had these techniques. Therefore, from 1977 to 1978 I studied with Zhang Yan while she was the zheng soloist and harpist with the Shandong Provincial Song and Dance Troupe orchestra. My intense study with Zhang has laid the technical foundation for my performances of contemporary zheng and koto works. 166  Figure 3-18 An excerpt from The Heroic Sisters From the Grassland.  Modernization and Westernization greatly influenced the development of the zheng’s performance techniques in contemporary Chinese history. Yet undermining the artistic movement was the drastic change to China’s social and political structure that yoked this traditional art form to political objectives. The new political function of music stimulated and propelled the evolution of zheng music. However, in order to represent the working classes in their compositions, composers abandoned the zheng’s traditional character of “nuance” and “subtlety” in pursuit of a direct, powerful sound. As a result, performance techniques were developed to accommodate more notes, increased speed, and forceful dynamics. These developments stimulated artistic achievements designed to propound government political ideology—what was created was “correct music” for the people. 167  3.5  “Serving the People”—New Performance Contexts The concept of using “correct music” to guide people’s behaviour is deeply rooted  in Chinese culture. The idea of using music “to unify the people’s hearts and put forth the way of Governance” was an integral part of Confucian ideology.150 Throughout imperial history Chinese rulers adopted and adapted this principle for their governance, establishing a new and correct tonal centre—huangzhong (yellow bell)—for each new dynasty. As an aesthetic the notion that correct music can elevate people’s moral standards and create a harmonious society permeated all levels of society, and it became the guidance for individual’s music practice. As discussed in Chapter Two, traditionally amateur musicians in various occupations—including merchants, intellectuals, and itinerant musicians—played the zheng. They believed that the music they performed was refined music (yayue), which embraced the essence of Confucian ideology: equilibrium (zhong) and harmony (he). By participating in music activities directly, they believed self-cultivation could be achieved. By creating and sharing music with each other within a community, individuals bonded and social harmony could be generated, as the music brought a sense of collective  150  Confucius states: “Music (yue) is that which arises from music (yin). Its root lied in the touching off of men’s hearts by [external] things. For this reason, for he whose heart is touched off to sorrow, his sound (sheng) is exhausted and decaying; for he whose heart is touched off to happiness, his sound is spacious and leisurely; for he whose heart is touched off to joy, his sound is expansive and far reaching; for he whose heart is touched off to anger, his sound is coarse and unyielding; for he whose heart is touched off to reverence, his sound is straightforward and upright; for he whose heart is touched off to love, his sound is harmonious and gentle. These six are not [inner] nature— they are set in motion only after being touched off by things. For this reason, the former kings were cautious in what was used to touch them off (the people). Thus Ritual (li) was used to direct their wills, Music (yue) was used to harmonized their voices (sheng), Administration (zheng) was used to unify their actions, and Punishment (xing) was used to prevent their violations. Ritual, Music, Punishment, and Administration—their ends are one: they are that which is used to unify the people’s hearts and put forth the Way of Governance” (Gongsun c. first century BC, translated by Cook 1995:27-28). Cook commented: “The last part of this section anticipates…the use of Music as a motivator of the populace…the emotions of the people could be channeled down the proper path” (ibid.: 29). 168  identity which reaffirmed a communal connection of place, language, and customs rooted in the centuries-old culture. In the course of building a new society, the Communist Party implemented policies for the development of new art to replace the old. Instead of allowing common people to continue the communal approach of practicing music as generations of Chinese rulers had allowed, Mao worried that “A deep affection for specific musical works, such as folk and popular music and the social setting in which such music is typically performed, may be inimical to the new society” (Perris 1983:5). However, while taking a forceful position against tradition, the Confucian model of using music as a way to govern was paradoxically adopted to set the ideological foundation for the formulation of the new policies, taking control of making the right music and bringing it to the masses through the use of professionals. Within this new cultural and sociopolitical context, zheng performance was promptly “elevated” from the previous community based practice to a concert art form. Following Mao’s instruction of “serving the working class,” musicians in China were brought to the frontlines to perform music for workers, peasants, and soldiers. I was one of these performers. Having joined a professional orchestra in the army towards the end of the Cultural Revolution (1975), I was sent to wherever soldiers were to perform for them and their civilian neighbours, which were most often common villagers. Although most of these performances occurred in rural or remote settings, I was usually elevated on a stage or a space was created separating me from the audience, who usually either stood or sat on the ground. Off stage the performers were treated as stars. Often soldiers would line up along the road to welcome us. Although we were supposedly  169  “comrades” and essentially equal under the Communist ideal, a social hierarchy existed. As performers our duty was to serve the audience, yet the performance staging, separation of audience and performer, and treatment by the audiences gave me and my performer colleagues a sense that we had privileges over our audience. Ironically, this was the time when the old generation of traditional zheng players was condemned as “elitist.” Their music and the old performance practices were considered part of sijiu (“the four olds”: old ideas, old culture, old customs, and old habits) of the exploiting classes, and were therefore thrown away.151 Yet the Party placed me in what seemed to be the very position that the Party disdained. As the old generation of zheng musicians was pushed aside, the new performance practices “lifted” zheng performance from the traditional communal context to a form of high art. As the performer was elevated for being a special individual with a special skill, a new social and professional hierarchy was consequently created. The shift from the previous community based music practice to that of the concert performance was a major paradigm shift for the zheng’s performance practice. In the selfentertainment based practice, the performer and audience were often one in the same, which allowed the participants to pick up an instrument and play or to sit and listen, a relationship lying between performer-participant and listener-participant. Usually everyone sat together so that there was no stage and clear separation between the performers and non-performers.  151  Beside Wang Xunzhi (mentioned earlier this chapter), many traditional zheng musicians, such as Cao Dongfu from Henan and Zhao Yuzhai from Shandong, were persecuted. Guo Ying from Chaozhou was sent to do manual labour. Zhao Yuzhai told me his only collection of gongche scores of the Shandong repertoire was burned by Red Guards (1978, personal communication). 170  The introduction of the concert performance model, on the other hand, changed the traditional role of participants, creating a hierarchical separation between performer and audience. In this new paradigm the two parties are distinct, fulfilling different roles. As the audience is no longer able to actively join in the performances, its role became more passive, that of listening and observing. The performer now is the only person to command the music, and is separated from the audience by a stage, a barrier, or a visible distance (see Figure 3.19).  Figure 3-19 The author performing the zheng in Hebei province, 1981 (photo by permission of Han).  Zheng performer Liu Weishan (b. 1951)152 expressed similar experiences to mine. She showed me a picture of her performance for a group of construction workers at Qingtong Xia (Bronze Gorge) hydro reservoir in the remote mountains of northwest 152  Graduating from the affiliated secondary school of Shenyang Conservatory of Music, Liu Weishan was the zheng soloist at the Central Song and Dance Ensemble (Zhongyang Gewu Tuan) in Beijing from 1975 to 1982. She immigrated to the United States in 1982 and formed the San Francisco GuZheng Music Society. 171  China in 1978 (see Figure 3.20): “It was so windy and the water sounded so loud [when I was performing]. The workers were arranged to surround me and somebody led them to applaud after each piece. In fact, I don’t know if they understood the music at all, although the atmosphere was very touching” (2011, personal communication).  Figure 3-20 Liu Weishan performing at Qingtong Xia Reservoir (photo by permission of Liu).  It is my observation and experience that when participants play both the roles of performer and audience, as was the practice with traditional zheng, it sends out a cultural  172  message that reaffirms and maintains a sense of community, forging relationships between themselves, their villages or diasporas, and the present to their past.153 This strong social environment brings harmony to the society and helps to provide a deep sense of place, belonging, and identity. When the audience became passive listeners, and music was played by a person who was an “outsider” to their community, identity, and social environment, a primary social interaction that reaffirmed the community was removed.154 What is the true sense of “people’s music?” Is it the traditional model constructed on Confucian ideology, where a collective of individuals would choose music that spoke to their hearts and perform it in a community that had a unique cultural identity? Or does it lie in Mao’s idea of individuals adopting one single super cultural identity chosen for them and presented in a form—concert setting—that was new to millions of Chinese, especially those in the countryside? In retrospect, as a performer I did not feel much connection with the “correct” music I was sent to perform, because the music did not speak to or for me. Neither did I feel that it connected with the audience. I never pondered whether the masses understood the music I performed at that time. Perhaps like many musicians, I assumed the audience would embrace this music as it was about them and praised them. As Mittler points out, this was music that they should understand: “In 153  In 1999 when I was touring in Sarawak, Malaysia, I visited a social gathering held by a local Chinese Hakka community. This was an indoor event organized around a music performance by a group of male members from the community, all from different generations and occupations. As a female and a professional Han musician from China, I was an obvious outsider, reinforced by many avoiding eye contact with me. However, in the midst of their playing a Hakka piece, I picked up a pipa and joined them. I immediately felt the barriers disappear. The melodies we played reached back hundreds of years, passing through generations to bring us a sense of commonality—a shared cultural identity as musicians and as diasporic Chinese. The connection transcended time and boundaries; at that moment I felt like coming home—as an insider and as one of them. This perhaps is the joy and attraction that a folk musician feels. 154 Although it is widely understood that there is a division between “art” music and “folk” music, to my knowledge the social impact on the change of zheng performance practice in the Chinese rural regions has not been examined by Chinese scholars. A parallel study is, however, found in Dr. Nathan Hesselink’s recent book SamulNori, a study of contemporary Korean drumming (see Hesslink 2012:66-9). 173  Maoist China, ‘correct’ music, named ‘music for the masses,’ did not demand that ‘ignorant masses’ would undergo a learning process. The idea was not to heavy up the audience to the high standard of elite arts but to ‘massify’ the arts and artists, and to make them appreciate the artistic value of the masses’ lives” (1997:48). Regrettably, in spite of recent comprehensive Chinese literature on the zheng that discusses cultural issues of contemporary zheng development, little attention has been paid to the abandonment of traditional practice and the sociopolitical impact it has had on the zheng’s performance practice. Often such literature views the transformation from old to new as musical and cultural evolution,155 without analyzing or evaluating the context, merits, and cultural ramifications of the change. From a traditional perspective one may argue that the traditional communal practice of music making is in essence people’s music—the music was of the people (the music content was deeply rooted in long standing tradition), by the people (created in communal music practice), and for the people (the audience/ participants were common people). Mao’s perspective, on the other hand, was to create a music that uses people’s daily life as content to enforce a singular political message, and to deliver it to the populace to create societal harmony. Ironically, when traditional music was strictly prohibited and the populace was only allowed to listen to firmly controlled politicized music, privately Mao Zedong enjoyed listening to traditional music. As Terrill points out, Mao Zedong “liked to wallow at times in traditional waters, yet he ordered Chinese youth to the high dry land of modernity” (1980:430-1). In 1975, the year before his passing, Mao’s health began to  155  This evolutionary perspective is also found in English sources, as in Chen Yan-Zhi’s Ph.D. dissertation at Brown University (1991). Chen states that gongche notation “still has limitations” (1991:201), and “these [traditional] notations are all simple…” (ibid.:203). She also defines the period between 1950s-