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Music and Radio in the People's Republic of China Author(s): Charles Hamm Source: Asian Music, Vol.

22, No. 2, Views of Music in China Today (Spring - Summer, 1991), pp. 1-42 Published by: University of Texas Press Stable URL: . Accessed: 21/10/2013 09:10
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2 Volume XXII,number




While lecturing in the People's Republic of China (PRC)in the fall of 1988, I undertook an analysis of the organizational structure, music programming and political function of the Central People's Broadcasting Company (CPBS).Earlier studies of the use of music by state-controlled radio services in Southern Africa and elsewhere (Hamm 1991A Hamm 1991B) had led to the formulation of several working hypotheses: 1. An analysis of the organizational structure of a state radio service can by itself yield information about political issues and strategies within that state. 2. The musical content of state radio programming is not designed to reflect the musical tastes and preferences of the listening audience, but rather to enforce or reinforce political ideologies and to shape or mold certain images of the state. 3. Most music played on state radio stations attempts to achieve its goals not through the content of song lyrics, but in other ways. 4. The effectiveness of a given state-controlled radio service depends largely on the extent to which its programming dominates other components of the musical life of the country -- live performances, listening to pre-recorded music, other radio services. But during that trip to China, and in the course of subsequent analysis of materials collected then and afterwards, I began to understand that the situation in the PRC was much more complex than any I had dealt with before. "Schizophrenic" is the word that comes immediately to mind. One part of the state radio service did indeed function as described above, but another part seemed to operate in dramatic contrast, even opposition. This dichotomy will shape the following analysis.

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2 AsianMusic,Spring/Summer1991 The Structure of the CPBS

All radio services in the People's Republic, collectively called the Central People's Broadcasting Station, are under governmental supervision. Six services originating from the central office of the CPBS in Beijing, under the direct control of the Ministry of Radio, Film and Television, are transmitted by satellite, this number limited by the current state of Chinese technology. Three are designated as National Programs, the official internal radio voice of the central government, broadcasting in Putonghua ("standard"Chinese, Beijing dialect) and disseminated throughout the country by a number of regional transmitters. Two programs are beamed only to Taiwan, the other is an Ethnic Nationalities Program designed for the populations of China's "autonomousregions" and for non-Han minorities elsewhere in the country, transmitted selectively to appropriate areas. At a second level, each of China's 21 provinces and four Autonomous Regions has a radio service, sometimes with multiple channels, still under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Radio, Film and Television but with administrative staff, studios, transmitters, and relay stations located in that province or region. Three of the country's largest cities -- Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai -- are classified administratively as municipalities, falling outside the provincial structure. Each has its own radio service, under sub-government rather than Ministry supervision and thus enjoying a certain degree of autonomy. Some 200 local stations also function with varying degrees of autonomy. The complete organizational structure of the CPBS is given in Appendix I.

State Ideology and Music

Though to an outside observer the internal political situation of the PRC may appear to have shifted dramatically from time to time during the 40 years since Liberation, in reality there has been no deviation from theories and policies outlined by Mao Zedong in the 1940s and reiterated, refined and carried out by him and his successors ever since.

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Hamm:MusicandRadioin the PRC 3 According to Mao, "the universally applicable truth" of was first revealedto "thevanguardof the Chinese Marxism-Leninism proletariat" by the events of Russia's October Revolution. The "correct thesis that the Chinese revolution is part of the world based on the writingsof Stalin,was put forwardas early revolution," as 1924-27by membersof the ChineseCommunistParty,founded in 1921.In Mao'swords: There are two kinds of world revolutions, the first belonging to the bourgeois or capitalist category. The era of this kind of world revolutionis long past, having come to an end as far back as 1914 when the first in 1917 imperialistwar broke out, and more particularly when the October Revolution took place. The second world revolution, kind, namely, the proletarian-socialist therefore began. This revolution has the proletariatof the capitalist countries as its main force and the oppressedpeoples of the colonies and semi-coloniesas its allies (Mao 1940:179-180). The Chinese Revolutionfirst took the form of a struggle for national liberation from foreign forces and then from the foreignbacked Guomindang led by ChangKaishek.With Liberationin 1949 and the establishment of the People'sRepublic,the revolutionfocused on internalclass struggle. Mao saw China'spopulationas falling into four classes: the proletariat, the peasantry, the urban petty bourgeoisie, and the national bourgeoisie(China's own capitalists).Though the revolution had of necessity dependedon "the alliance of the workers and the peasants, because these two classes comprise 80 to 90 per cent of China'spopulation," leadershipcould come only from the proletariat: "theentire history of revolutionproves that without the leadership of the workingclass revolutionfails and that with the leadership of the (Mao 1949:264). workingclass revolutiontriumphs" Continuingclass struggle within the country was taken to be inevitable. According to Mao, "the contradictionbetween exploiter and exploited,which exists between the bourgoisieand the working class, is an antagonisticone. But, in the concrete conditionsexisting in China,such an antagonisticcontradiction, if properlyhandled,can

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4 AsianMusic,Spring/Summer1991 be transformed into a non-antagonistic one and resolvedin a peaceful way"(Mao 1957:330). So long as (the bourgeoisie)do not rebel, sabotage or create trouble,land and work will be given to them as well, to allow them to live and remould themselves and educationalwork will be done among them, (which cannot however)be mentionedin the same breath with the work of self-education which we carryon within the ranks of the revolutionary people (Mao 1949:262).
through labour into new people. . .. Propaganda

The peasantrywould also have to be broughtinto the socialist system. "Without socialization of agriculture, there can be no complete, consolidated socialism," Mao said, and judging by the experience of the Soviet Union, this education "will require a long time and painstaking work"(Mao 1949:263). The Communist Partyof Chinawas to be the mediumthrough which the proletariatwould theorize and execute its leadership,by continuing education of the other classes. Since steps other than education might be necessary to bring the bourgeoisie and the peasantry into line with the "correct"policies of the proletariat, anotherurgent task was - mainly the to strengthenthe people'sstate apparatus the and the people's people's army, people's police courts - in order to protect the people'sinterests.Our policy of benevolenceis appliedonly within the ranksof the people, not beyond them to the reactionariesor to the reactionaryactivities of reactionaryclasses. Democracyis practisedwithin the ranks of the people, who enjoy the rights of freedom of speech, assembly, associationand so on. The right to vote belongsonly to the people,not to the reactionaries. The combinationof these two aspects, democracy for the people and dictatorship over the reactionaries, is the people's democraticdictatorship (Mao 1949:261, passim).
some and dictatorship over others, was later reiterated even more clearly:

This concept of a democratic dictatorship,involving democracy for

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Hamm:MusicandRadioin the PRC 5 In a society where there is class struggle, when the exploiting classes are free to exploit the working people, the working people will have no freedom from being exploited; when there is democracy for the bourgeoise there can be no democracy for the and other workingpeople. Ours is a people's proletariat democratic dictatorship,led by the working class and based on the worker-peasant alliance. What is the dictatorshipfor? Its first function is to suppress the reactionary classes and elements and those exploiters in the country who range themselves against the socialist revolution, to suppress all those who try to wreck our socialist construction.Who is to exercise this dictatorship? Naturally it must be the working class and the entire people led by it (Mao 1957:330-332). Mao insistedfrom the beginningthat "we want to build a new China,"and to transform "a China that is politically oppressedand economically exploited into a China that is politically free and (Mao 1940: 173). It was essential for the economically prosperous" creation of this new Chinathat the country'scenturies-oldisolation from the rest of the world be ended,and with it the abandonment of the cherishedimage of Chinaas the "Middle the center of Kingdom," the world. To nourishher own culture Chinaneeds to assimilatea good deal of foreign progressiveculture, not enough of which was done in the past. We should assimilate whatever is useful to us today not only from the present-daysocialist and new-democraticcultures but also from the earlier cultures of other nations, for example, from the culture of the various capitalist countries in the Age of Enlightenment.However, we should not gulp down any of this foreign material uncritically,but must treat it as we do our food - first chewing it, then submitting it to the working of the stomach and intestines with their juices and secretions, and separating it into nutriment to be absorbed and us (Mao 1940:190).
waste matter to be discarded -- before it can nourish

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6 AsianMusic,Spring/Summer1991 China'snew "national, scientific and mass culture"envisioned by Mao could not come about without a critical mass of highly educated people capable of dealing with the science and intellectual thought of the contemporary world, and herein lies the stillunresolveddilemma of the PRC:on the one hand, its leadershiphas never deviated from the early party line on class struggle, dictating that the Party (in the name of the proletariat) is responsiblefor the of the entire populationin "correct" Marxistpolitical indoctrination Leninist theory and practice; on the other hand, its best-educated people either come from or tend to gravitatetowardsthe reactionary, bourgeois classes, necessitatingtheir periodic political education and sometimes punishmentby the "democratic of the PRC. dictatorship" education the Communist cannot substitute However, political by Party for academic,scientific trainingin institutionsof higher educationat home and especiallyabroad; and punishment or by exile, imprisonment death leaves skilled positionsunmanned.Chinahas not yet recovered the groundit lost duringthe CulturalRevolutionof 1966-76,a critical decade during which Japan and other Asian countries made unprecedentedadvances in industrial production and international marketingstrategies. As it seemed to one visitor, "the inscrutablepolitics of the Chinesegovernmentcontinue to vacillate between anti-bourgeois left liberalistreforms"(Rogan1987: 100). wing morality and pro-Western Periods of "letting a hundred flowers bloom" have alternatedwith and destructionof these flowers.The pendulum periodsof suppression has swung first one way and then the other, and sometimes it is between these two poles. The problemnow is to understand how state policies towards music, and more specifically the selection of music for broadcastby state radio, have been designedto help educate the populationalong Marxist-Stalinist lines. Music programming on the National Services In the centraloffices of the CPBSat 2 Fuxingmenwai Street in Beijing, Huang Bingqi, Chief of the Foreign Affairs Section, impeccablydressedin a tailoredsuit, sat on a couch beneatha largecharacterbanner emblazonedwith a quotationfrom ChairmanMao.
Flanked by the Senior Editor of the Foreign Music Section and the Head of the Chinese Music Section, Huang spoke with deep

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Hamm:MusicandRadioin the PRC 7 conviction,in excellent,idiomaticEnglish,of the role of the National the most official and widely disseminated radioprogramsin Programs, the PRC. The CPBS itself bears the responsibilityof selecting what is best for its audience,in Huang'sview, and thereforethere is no need for systematic market researchof radio listeningpatternsor musical preferences. Approximately 40%of the air time of the three National Programs, totalling some 9,600 minutes each week, is devoted to music. The largest share is given over to "light" music, a genre without a precise parallel in the West. Somewhat lesser but still significant program time is allotted to Chinese opera and classical music, and to Europeanclassical music. Even less time is devoted to Chineseand foreign pop music, and to music commercially-produced of China's "national minorities." In order to understandstate policies towards each of these and styles genres, they much be examinedin turn, then situated in socialist-communist theoryand practice. Light Music This genre encompassesinstrumental of Chinese arrangements traditional melodies, new pieces by Chinese composers based on similar melodic material, folk songs arranged for voice(s) with instrumentalaccompaniment, and recent vocal compositionsdrawing on elementsof traditional Chinesestyle. Whetherinstrumental or vocal, light music is characterized by melodic formulae based on pentatonic scales, triadic and tonal harmonies, homophonictextures,moderatetempi and dynamicranges, ensemblesoften includingboth Chineseand Western string-dominated instruments,and simple sectional structures.To Westernears, much of it sounds for all the world like Muzak or Easy Listening FM As Bruno Nettl describesa typical piece of this genre, programming. the "Butterfly Concerto:"
The accompanying orchestra has seventeen performers of Western instruments and nine of traditional Chinese.

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8 AsianMusic,Spring/Summer1991 The overall sound, however, is that of a Western


harmonies.The pentatonic themes are reminiscent of more traditional Chinese melodies, but they are also compatiblewith Westernworks that imitate (or pretend to imitate) Chinese melody. Within the context of Western composition of the mid-twentieth century, it would be extremely conservative and very likely labelledas light or semiclassical(Nettl 1985: 142). Though the origins of this light style predate Liberation, only in the last decade or so has it has become the repertorymost widely disseminated and promoted by such state agencies as the CPBS, Chinese CentralTelevision,state-organized concerts within the PRC, and foreign tours by state-sponsored musical groups. To understand this choice of music, which sometimessoundsonly marginally Chinese, one must first grasp the dilemma facing the formulationof musical strategieswithin the PRC.Mao, convincedthat "a given culture is the ideologicalreflection of the politics and economicsof a given society" (Mao 1940: 192),called for the creation of a new "national, scientific and mass culture," which could "be lead only by the culture and and not by ideologyof the proletariat, by the ideologyof communism, the culture and ideology of any other class" (Mao 1940: 187). No distinctive, nationally-acceptedproletarianstyle or genre of music had emergedamong the urbanworkingclasses before Liberation, thus there was no ready-madeproletariangenre to serve as a model. But even if such a style had existed, the "mass line" of the Chinese CommunistParty would have dictated against its being taken over withoutmediation. As early as 1934, Lu Xun had theorized a cultural policy designedto draw on both old and new styles and forms, shapedso as to be accessible to the entire population: "To work on behalf of the masses and strive to make things easy for them to understand-precisely this is the correct area of effort for the progressiveartist" (quotedin Holm 1984:9). Teng Xiaobingelaborated: The mass line maintainsthat the Party'sabilityto go on exercising correct leadershiphinges upon its ability to adopt the method of "comingfrom the masses (i.e., the
working classes) and going back to the masses." This means -- to quote from the Central Committee's


It is dominated by functional

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Hamm:MusicandRadioin the PRC 9 "Resolution on Methods of Leadership,"drafted by Mao Zedong- "summing Comrade up (i.e. coordinating and systematizingafter careful study) the views of the masses (i.e. views scattered and unsystematic), then taking the resultingideas back to the masses,explaining and popularizing them until the the masses embracethe ideas as their own."(Teng 1956:319) Thus the issue is not to identify a ready-madeproletariatmusic, but ratherto create a new body of music for the people,drawnfrom the "scatteredand unsystematic"music of the masses, "coordinated and systematizedafter careful study"by personsqualifiedby political and professional training, and then given back to the masses and and popularized" until they are willing to accept this new "explained "as their own." product Several styles and genres have been subjectedto this process. In the 1920s and 30s the Communist Party of Chinaset out to create a new body of "masssong."Some of these geming gequ ("revolutionary drew on traditional Chineseor Russianmelodiesand were thus songs") "from the people,"some were newly composed in the same style by Nie Er, Xian Xinghai,and other musiciansnumberedamong the early membershipof the Party (Wong 1984). In style, these geming gequ belongedto the generic mass songs createdat this time in Russiaand other parts of the world,2with broad,diatonic,march-like,major-key melodies cast in simple strophic forms and designed to be sung in unison, accompanied with Western-style harmonies by whatever instruments mightbe available. Nourished by the Communist Party during its struggle for control of the mainlandand duringthe first post-Liberation decades, these mass songs fell into disfavor among much of the Chinese population after 1978, partly because of their association with attitudes prevalent during the CulturalRevolution,and also because the growing openness to foreign culture after 1978 gave the Chinese populationa chance to choose from among an ever-wider range of musical styles. Geming gequ and its creators remain sacred to the leadershipof the Chinese CommunistParty and the country's older population,but by the early 1980s they were no longer capable of mass enthusiasmfor the socialist-communist rousingand maintaining state.

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10 AsianMusic,Spring/Summer1991 Other attempts to create a new mass repertory focused on reshapingChina'sstore of folk and art music. It must always be kept in mind that the Chinese Communist set out to establish a revolutionarysociety, not merely a nationalisticone. Westernmusic was taken to be more modern and scientific than Chinese,and since the adaption of "modern"could be equated with "revolutionary," Westernmodels of harmony,intonationand instrumentation seemed correct. The revolutionarycomposerXian Xinghaiwas among those convinced that "traditional music should be improvedby addingthe and that he had studiedin Europe" (Kraus1989: harmony counterpoint


(Xian) combined a popular style with a revolutionary content. He studied traditionalChinesemusic seriously, although he was not a traditionalistwho clung to the past; and at the same time he also absorbed and adapted the useful elements of Western music to develop Chinese music (Ma Ke, quoted in Kraus 1989: 67). As Zhao Feng summedit up in 1958, "Chinese folk melodies+ western professionaltechniques= national music culture"(quotedin Kraus 1989: 108). "Modern" also impliedthe use of large ensembles,in emulation of Western orchestras.Many Chinese instrumentstraditionallyused for intimate solo or small ensembleperformanceweren'tsuitable for inclusionin such groups. Even thoughour nationalmusicalinstruments are varied and colorful,from the contemporary point of view they are inadequate and archaic. Their tone quality is limited, their range is narrow, modulation is difficult (because of their system of intonation).Furthermore, many types of local ensembles are small in size, and thus not suitableto the musical needs of today'smasses. The country is in the process of building a socialist society. Glorious life calls for grandiose performing ensembles(Yang1957:73).
Accordingly, China's instrument makers were encouraged to devise "improved" versions of traditional instruments, and by the 1960s a

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Hamm:MusicandRadioin the PRC 11 more or less standardizedmodern Chinese orchestra had emerged, combiningtraditionalinstrumentswith the Westerncello and double bass. Han has proposed an historical evolution of the Chinese orchestra: from ancient court groups,to the traditional JiangnanSizhu ensemble originatingin the lower valley of the YangtzeRiver, to the CentralBroadcastingStation Chinese Orchestrafounded in 1935, to the 35-memberensembleformed at the CentralPeople'sBroadcasting Stationin Beijingin 1953 (Han1979:1-18). The modernChineseorchestraalso drew on the Soviet model of large "folk"ensemblesplaying arrangements made by professional of traditional tunes, particularly when Chinese composers of music were reshapedin the 1950s accordingto the conservatories Russiansystem. Though some students were allowed to study China's ancient solo classical repertories, chief emphasis was put on the establishment of standardizedensembles of traditional instruments playing a newly-created repertoryby Chinese composers trained in Westernmusic. In accordance with the above-describedpolicy of "coming from the masses and going back to the masses,"the melodic material of this new repertorywas taken from the people,who had created it as folk song or classical composition,then given back to them in a new form "coordinatedand systematized after careful study," i.e. musicians. This arrangedand harmonizedby professionally-trained new music was then "explained and popularized," through performancesby state ensembles and through being publicized and praised by the state press, to "encouragethe masses (to) embrace (this music) as their own." Not incidentally, in the process it was purged of ideologically incorrect associations -- folk music's connection with the "superstitions" of religious or pagan ritual, and Chinese classical music's historical association with the privileged
classes -- and was offered

environment:performed by state-supportedpeople's ensembles, for stadium"or a state people's audiences,in the setting of a "workers' radio broadcast. When an ensemble from the Central Conservatoryof Music performeda programof this music in Durham(England) as part of an OrientalMusic Festival in August of 1979, foreign scholarlyreaction was critical on groundsthat it was not "traditional" music, as claimed, since it used Western-influenced forms and harmony, tempered

in a new, ideologically


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12 AsianMusic,Spring/Summer1991 tuning, virtuosic effects, fixed rhythmic interpretations and ornaments,and modern Europeaninstruments.(Fang 1981: 16). The leader of the Chinese delegation, Fang Kun, responded to this "incredible criticismand doubt" by echoingMao: We really felt that they did not entirely understand the circumstances surrounding Chinese music and its

were traditional .... pieces of either classical or folk origin. the other Among compositionsand adaptions,all were a composed by process of utilizing various minority people's songs or of drawing on the style of Peking opera or Kunqufrom the stage of old. Some of them containmany newly composedelements,some a few, but all of them are linked to the same flesh and blood as Chinesetraditionalmusic. When we selected a program like this it was because we recognizedthat in order to understand traditionalmusic, it is not only necessaryto understand its classical and folk origins, but also to
understand its modern evolution. .. .

(Some of) the pieces that we played

that we suggest for traditional music (is based on) making the past serve the present,weeding out the old to bring forth the new, selectingthe fine and discarding the rubbish,and eliminatingthe false and retainingthe
.... understood as having a definite foundationamong the masses.(Fang1981:4-9, passim) genuine. Of course, so-called excellence must be

(The) approach

Foreign pieces which fall within the general stylistic parametersoutlinedabove are also includedon light music programs of the CPBS. Mantovaniis often heard, for instance, and is widely imitatedby Chinesearrangers. The acceptableforeign light repertory ranges from songs by Stephen Foster and other 19th-century American and Europeansongwriters,to popularairs from operettas and operas,to a careful selection of contemporarysoft rock or pop songs. One day's listening to a light music programon the Yangtze River yielded "DannyBoy,"the "Toreador Song" from Carmen, the theme music from "Dr. Zhivago,""Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain," Foster's "I Dream of Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair,""The Way We Were," "A Man and a Woman," and "Feelings." "Yesterdays,"

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Hamm:MusicandRadioin the PRC 13 The category of light music, then, is defined by general musical style and may draw from the folk, traditional,classical and both Chineseand foreign. The music of choice of popularrepertories, the CPBS in its role as the official radio voice of the socialistcommuniststate,lightmusic conformsto the mass line and is "modern" in its use of tonal and triadic harmonies,sectional forms, Western instruments. intonation,and "improved" Thoughother genres,such as certain types of pop music, were tolerated in the 1980s, official preferencefor light rriusicis always evident,and new productswhich conformto its stylistic parameters were welcome: The (recent)craze for pop songs has been diverted to light music, which includes small pieces of orchestral and dance music. Among the light music, Richard Clayderman's piano pieces have been faring well. The cassette has sold over 3 million copies (Han 1988:5). I've argued elsewhere (Hamm 1979) that in a society with a market economy, the term "popularmusic" is best reserved for commodity products such as sheet music, phonographdiscs and cassettes. But in a socialist-communiststate describing itself as a democraticdictatorship and reservingto itself the right to assume the voice of the people and to maintaincontrol over the productionand disseminationof music, "popularmusic" in either of its two broad meanings,as music emanatingfrom the people or as music preferred by the majority of the people, is simply what the state determines shouldbe heardby the people.It follows, then, that light music is the music of the PRC. contemporary popular Chinese opera and classical music Chineseopera,a genre enjoying"prestige, popularity,and wide influence among the masses"(Yung1984:146) since it took definitive shape in the 17th century, could be considereda legitimate form of its stylistic origins lie people'smusic. Unlike its European counterpart, in oral tradition,not the classical music of the ruling classes, and its audiences are historically drawn from a wide range of China's most definitely includingworkingpeople.Since Liberation, population, its history has closely reflected the schizophrenic nature of the struggleover culture in the PRC.

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14 AsianMusic,Spring/Summer1991 The plots and charactersof many traditionalChinese operas, involving as they did the adventuresof wealthy landowners, princes, generals, shopkeepers, high-born lovers, and other privileged characters from China's decadent past, seemed inappropriateto a modernrevolutionary society, and many of them were revised shortly after Liberation. In addition, new operas with revolutionary plots were created. The opera-goingpublic continued to favor traditional, historical pieces, however, and by the early 1960s the government resorted to a more vigorouscampaignto "denounce many traditional as and feudalistic, superstitious, operas vulgar, and urge the revolutionalizationof the stage so that it would reflect and serve socialism" (Yung 1984: 146-147). The older repertory began to disappearfrom the stage under such pressure,and with the onset of the CulturalRevolutionin 1966 the entire repertorywas reduced to five newly-createdoperas with contemporary, revolutionary plots and characters(Shajiabang,Hong deng ji, Zhiqu Weihushan, Haigang,and These "model" were "from the in that Qixi Baihutuan). operas people," contained music from traditional and their they adapted operas, characters and plots had been shaped to reflect China's new, revolutionarysociety. They were soon adapted to various regional dialects and also began to serve as models for other new "revolutionary" operas. "Between 1966 and 1977, the model operas and their adaptions dominated the musicalscene in China" (Yung1984: passim). Traditionaloperas were graduallyrestored to the stage after the overthrowof the Gang of Four, and audiencescould once again witness the exploits of the heroic, villainous and comic characters who traditionally inhabit the Chinese operatic stage. With this repertory now sanctioned by cultural theorists of the Communist Party, the National Programs of the CPBS and Chinese Central Televisionbeganallowingtime for it. Chinese and European Classical Music Traditional Chinese classical music came under attack after Liberationon two grounds: it was not modern, and therefore not revolutionary;and it was historically associated with the decadent musiciansand party bourgeoise.In the early stages of the Revolution, theoristsalike regarded"China's traditional music as old-fashioned, or even as a reactionary impediment to national progress; foreign culture was modern culture, a weapon against the oppressivefeudal

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Hamm:MusicandRadioin the PRC 15 weight of China'sown arts" (Kraus 1989: 43, 100-101). During the Cultural Revolution China's traditional classical music virtually disappeared,kept alive only privately among older musicians. As mentionedabove, some componentsof it survivedby being reworked into "light" style, and in fact much of what is taught and performed and retoday as traditionalclassical music consists of arrangements compositionsof the older repertory.But in the past decade there has been some resurgenceof activity in both research and performance of the unmediated classical repertory. Scholars at the Research Institute of Music and elsewhere have tested new theories of historiographyon the classical genres, and younger musicians have been able to study the traditional solo repertory of various of music. instruments, privatelyand even at conservatories classicalmusic has often had more official Ironically, European support than Chinese. Even though Mao denounced foreign culture in his early writings, "imperialist" There is in China an imperialist culture which is a reflection of imperialist rule or partial rule, in the political and economic fields. This culture is fostered not only by the cultural organizations run directly by the imperialistsin Chinabut by a number of Chinese who have lost all sense of shame(Mao 1940:185). of all music played by 1989 Westernclassicalmusic comprised15-20% on the three NationalPrograms. Most is from the 19thand early 20th centuries, with emphasis on the canonical works of the Viennese school, the nationalistcomposersof the middleand late 19th century, the late Romantics,and the Impressionists.For instance, programs and individualpieces broadcaston the NationalServices in the fall of 1988 included the finale of Wagner's Die Walkiire, Beethoven's Leonora Overtures 1, 2 and 3, Chopin Variationson a Theme of Rossini, a harp concerto by Handel, the 43rd "Spring of Prague" International Music Festival,a piano recital by an unidentifiedPolish pianist,music by the CzechcomposerKarelKomzak, and a programof Russiancompositions Vladimir performed by pianist Ashkenazy. There are several explanations for this acceptanceof Western classical music, the product of a bourgeois society, by a MarxistLeninistgovernmentcommittedto the creationof a classless workers'


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16 Asian Music, Spring/Summer 1991

The Confucianethic that music influencesmoralityand social behaviorcontinues to run deep in the Chinesecharacter.Goodmusic is thought to stimulate good behavior, bad music provokes bad behavior. As Kraus puts it, "one of the ironies of modern Chinese politics is that the Confucian marriage of music to statecraft has endured, with the revolutionary Communist Party as its vehicle. Communistsand Confuciansboth believe that art can Revolutionary induce politicalchange,a view at odds with the traditionof bourgeois music in the West"(Kraus1989:29). The strong musical and political ties with the Soviet Union just after Liberation also contributed to the acceptance of this music, since the Soviets themselves had theorized the way in which bourgeoisclassical music could become a "correct" componentof a socialist society. More abstractly,the very nature of Western classical music, conceived and fixed in musical notation, analyzable according to "correct" rules of harmony and form, 1987:68),performed symbolizing"Harmony, Unity and Order" (Leppert by obedient performers determined to carry out the composer's intentions as mediatedby a conductor-- these things are all very much in harmonywith a society inclined towardsorder, compliance and controlled structures by both its Confucian past and the of its Marxist-Leninist imperatives present. Despite its transparent ethnocentricity, the argument that Western classical music is superior to all other, a theme running through the work of many Western musicologists and cultural historians, has been deeply imprinted on the consciousness of Asia. HuangBingqiof the CPBSis convincedthat young contemporary Chinese who listen to Western classical music are trying to better themselves, they will rise above their peers, and therefore the NationalPrograms must give them substantial amountsof this music at times when they can listen to it, late in the eveningfor instance. The CPBSobtainssome of its Westernclassical music directly from overseas record companies, some from exchange agreements with NationalPublic Radio,the BBC,and the state radio services of other socialist countries,some from the Voice of America,and some as gifts from foreignembassiesand commercialcompanies.Symphony orchestraswithin the People'sRepublicperformand record European classical music, but their efforts are judgedto be inferior to those of foreign performers. Han Yidan reported in the China Daily for 19
October 1988 that while "tens of Beethoven's nine grand symphonies thousands conducted of the tapes of by Herbert von

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Hamm:MusicandRadioin the PRC 17 had been sold in China,"only 1,000 sets of similar music Karajan" performed by the Central PhilharmonicOrchetra (of Beijing) have been sold in the past five years."Chineseperformancesof Western classical music are infrequently heard on the National Programs, dedicatedas they are to giving listenersthe "best" music. Pop and Pop/Rock Music In the first decadesof communistrule in China,and even more so duringthe decadeof the CulturalRevolution, contemporary foreign popular music was unavailable and unknown in the PRC, and no Chinesemusicianscomposedor performed music in this style. But this situation changed in the late 1970s, with the gradual institution of and opennessto the outside world. policies of relative liberalization
China .

recorders.Popularsongs from Hong Kong,Taiwan and foreign countries poured into the mainland, arousing enthusiasmamongthe listeners,especiallythe young. In recent years, pop singers on the mainland have also started to grip the hearts of millions of young people. As a result, pop songs, with soft or strong rhythmical beats and often with romanticverses,have become part of the popularcultureof the country (Han1988:5). Cassettesby Taiwaneseand HongKongsingers,beginningwith Deng Lijunand Xi Xiulanand continuingthroughShu Rui and Qi Qin, were importedand sold openly in the PRC.This music was in a style that might be labelled"PacificPop,"enjoyedtoday by tens of millions of people in Japan, South Korea, the Phillipines, Singapore, and Indonesia, as well as Taiwan and Hong Kong. Though there are national dialects of this genre, the chief stylistic features are constant:moderatetempi, texts concernedwith romanticlove, stringdominatedbackings (now often generatedby synthesizer),a singing style reminiscentof Olivia Newton-Johnand BarryManilow,and the frequent use of rhythmic patterns derived from disco music of the 1970s. Except for the languageof the texts and an occasionalhint of pentatonicscales, there is little Asianaboutthis music. Chineseauthoritiesencouraged the importof "PacificPop,"and when private record companies,allowed to begin operationin 1978, began turning out pieces imitative of the Taiwaneseand Hong Kong

began to produce and import cassette

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18 AsianMusic,Spring/Summer1991 repertories, their efforts were supported selectively by the CPBS. Even though Huang Bingqi believes that most pop performershave little or no talent and that none of this music will stand the test of time, many pieces in this style conform so closely to the stylistic parametersof light music as to fit nicely into programsdevoted to this genre. And when popular musicians began drawing on more indigenousChineseelements in 1987, creating a style labelledXi Bei Chineseradio and televisionembracedsome Wind"), Feng ("Northwest of this as well, againbecauseit conformedto the mass line of drawing materialfrom the massesandgivingit back to them in mediatedform. The only contemporary Americanor Europeanpopularmusic heardon the NationalServicesis in "pop" style, in the context of light music programming, as notedabove. In the secondhalf of the 1980s,a few Chinesemusiciansbegan performing pieces influenced by Western rock, written by the musicians themselves rather than the classically-trainedcomposers who turn out the Chinese versions of Pacific Pop, characterizedby fast tempi, prominentdrummingand electric guitar solos. The group Qihebanperformedsongs in a style somewhatreminiscentof the late Beatles, and when they disbandedin 1986, one member, Cui Jian, and Rollingon the New composed,performedand recorded"Rocking Long March,""I Have Nothing,""Never Cover Myself Again,"and other songs which establishedhim as China'sfirst importantrock Othersincludethe group"NewAir"from Guangzhou, which performer. incorporatedelements of rap style into their pieces, and Ceng Lin, with such songs as "Xintianyou." Accordingto HuangBingqi,neitherthis music nor any Western "hardrock"is played on the NationalProgramsof the CPBS,and an article in the ChinaDaily summarizing the impactof the "openpolicy" on popular music made no mention whatsoeverof this style or its practitioners (Han 1988). This music, Huang said, is strongly associated with one age group, and the CPBS as an agent of the socialist-communist state must serve the entire population.Also, the Chinesepop music acceptableto the CPBSare types of contemporary corporatelyproduced,usually written and arrangedby conservatorytrained composers, and conducted, played and sung by other musicians. Pieces in rock style, on the other institutionally-trained hand, tend to be composedand sung by a single musician who also writes the texts, often has no formal musical training,and may be

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Hamm: MusicandRadioin the PRC 19 backed by instrumentsplaying in styles not taught in the country's conservatories. Rock music is associated, correctly or not, with not collectivism,and is thus inappropriate in a socialist individualism, state. Also, many listeners interpret the texts of such songs as Cui Jian's "I Have Nothing"as political statements against state policies, whetheror not they were intendedthis way by the composer. A programentitled "The AmericanMusic Hour"began to be broadcast twice weekly on ProgramTwo in the late 1980s. As a result of being carriedon one of the NationalServices,it was relayed to all parts of the country,and I was told repeatedlythat it was the single most popularradioprogramin the PRC.Its Americanproducers had been given instructions as to what types of music could be included,the lyrics of each piece had to be approvedby the CPBS, and in returnfive minutes of each hour-longprogramwas allottedto commercial spots. The programof 23 October 1988 was typical; an Americanvoice greetedlistenerswith: unmistakeably Nie hau. I am Dr. Don, the president of the ChinaAmerica Corporation.Our company was organized to promote scientific, educational, musical, and cultural exchange between the People's Republic of China and the United States of America.We can also assist with trade between our two countries. Thank you for listening to this program,and thanks to our friends at CPBSfor makingthis show possible. The programbegan with a selection of hits by the Four Tops, moved on to a group of country-western standards, and ended with a sampling of more recent black pop. Commercials for Northwest Airlinesand the JianguoHotel in Beijingwere spotted throughoutthe hour.

This extraordinary deviation from CPBS policy must be understood in the contextof the eagerness of the Chinese government at this moment to enterintonegotiations withAmerican on a business, limitedbasis and on its own terms. Chineseradio audienceswere allowed to hear music not otherwise carried on the National but only in a contextmakingit clear that the program Programs, in the USA,andthus did not represent originated the musicalpolicies of theCPBS itself.

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20 AsianMusic,Spring/Summer1991 In summary,the decade of the 1980s broughtan explosionof popular music styles to the PRC.3 Those which seemed to fit the theoreticalguidelinesof being modernand collective while drawingin some way on the music of the "masses" were embraced, selectively,by state cultural agencies. Other styles less appropriate for a socialistcommuniststate were largelyignored. The Music of China's "National Minorities" Approximately937. of the more than a billion people living within the present political borders of the People's Republic are consideredby Chinese ethnologists to belong a single ethnic group, the Han,even thoughthey speak a variety of dialects,not all of them mutually intelligible, and their physical features may vary considerably.The other 7%,numberingperhaps 80,000,000 persons, have been classifiedinto 55 "national minorities." Some of these minority peoples live within the political boundariesof one or anotherof the country's21 regions,usually on the geographicaland social fringes of the Han population,but the majority inhabits the four desolate, sparsely peopled Autonomous Regionson the geographical peripheryof the PRC,comprisingalmost 60%of the country's land area:GuangxiZhuang,Nei Menggu(Inner Mongolia), XinjiangUighur,Xizang(Tibet). Article 3 of Chapter1 (GeneralPrinciples)of the constitution of the PRC,drawnup in September of 1954,states that: All the nationalitiesare equal.Discrimination against or of and acts which undermine oppression any nationality, the unity of the nationalities, are prohibited.All the nationalitieshave the freedom to use and develop their own spoken and written languages,and to preserve or reformtheir own customsand ways (Chai1969:273). Mao Zedonginsisted that "wordsand actions can be judgedright if they help to unite the people of our various nationalities,and do not divide them"(Mao 1957:338).ProfessorChenYongling, Directorof the Central Institute of Nationalities, has defined the government's "correct policy" towards these people even more precisely, as all minority nationalitiesto achieve all-rounddevelopment "assist(ing)
in the political, economic and cultural fields, to advance continuously

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Hamm: MusicandRadioin the PRC 21 along the road of socialism, and (thus)to graduallyachieve de facto (Chen1988:1). equality" We must conscientiouslysum up the profound impact exerted by the various old social and cultural patterns, and find out the negative factors in holding back their advancetowardsocialismso as to facilitate workingout the countermeasures.These out-dated social patterns have in no way vanished completely; they are still, overtly or covertly, giving expressionto their "vitality," impeding the progress of socialist construction. Old ideology as manifested in religious life is exerting adverse effects on social activities. Large amounts of manpower,materials,money and energy, for instance, are concentrated on renovating or building temples, mosques and monasteriesas well as religious activities, ratherthan on modernization the projects.Furthermore, old funeral customs and feudal superstitions are prevailing. Our main mission at the present stage is: under the principle of state assistance combined with the underdevelopednationalities' self-reliant efforts, energetically develop their economy and culture so as to graduallynarrow down the gap between them and the advanced nationalitieswith regard to the level of economic and cultural development (Chen 1988, 3-8 passim). Simply put, then, the national minorities are taken to be underdeveloped peoples who need more education, political and otherwise,to bringthem into the socialistmainstream. They live mostly within specific geographicalareas and can obtainpermission to live in otherpartsof the PRConly with difficulty. Those chosen for advanced education are enrolled in college-level institutionssuch as the CentralInstituteof Nationalities in Beijing,the Southwest Institute for Nationalities in Chengduand the National MinoritiesInstitute in Lanzhou, which train nationalminoritypeoples who can work as technicians, as secondary school teachers, and as administratorsin the minority areas of China.They do not usually move into Han society after their college education,but are rather
sent back to educate and serve their own ethnic groups. Even educated Han people regard them as outsiders: my excellent

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22 AsianMusic,Spring/Summer1991 translator in Chengdu, recent recipient of a master's degree in American literature, made deprecating remarks about groups of Tibetans on the city streets, and an equally intelligent and welleducated friend in Shanghai could see a group of minority people visiting a recently-opened Buddhist shrine only as "ignorant"and "superstitious." Since the close of the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese governmenthas developedthe potentialof minorityculturesas tourist attractions and as public displays of tolerance towards its non-Han peoples. The Nationalities Cultural Palace in Beijing is the official state monument to these people. Chinese and foreign tourists come here to see exhibits and live entertainment, abstracted from any religious or other ritual context, and to visit the gift shop offering clothing and crafts. Gift shops selling minority items are located in other parts of the country as well, and in recent years the governmenthas sponsoredregional festivals of deritualizedminority music and dance, as tourist attractions. The China Daily for 14 October 1988 carried a full-page photo story on the first Yunnan National Art Festival in Kunming,Dalt and XLshuangbanna, which and dancers 24 from brought together singers minority nationalities, performing in regional costumes; there was also a trade fair and variousexhibitions, used including"sevenhundredmusical instruments by ethnicminoritygroups." The music of the non-Hanpeopleshas been describedas "one of the glorious contributionsmade by the various nationalitiesto the Chinesenation'shouse of cultural treasures" (Chen1988: 11).Scholars from the Research Institute of Music in Beijing and the Research Division of the CentralInstitute of Nationalities collect this music on tape and video,in the field. The intent is not that it will be listenedto in this form, however. As a promotionalbrochurefor the Southwest Institute for Nationalities puts it, the school is "devoted to the development of the uniqueculturaltraditionsof the variousminority peoples,"Therefore the musical education of minority students is

European theory, repertory and performance and the modern "traditional" music of the Han people as taught in China's conservatories,itself drawing on Western elements, then use these skills to "develop" the music of their regions when they return home after completingtheir education.

the quality of their music. Studentsstudy designedto "improve"

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Hamm:MusicandRadioin the PRC 23 The most important functionof the music of minoritypeoplesis to serve as melodic material for China's conservatory-trained instrumental of these tunes composers,who make "light" arrangements or weave them into more complexcompositions. Fang Kun,leadingan ensemble from the Central Conservatory in performances of music abroad,defended this sort of composition,and in "traditional" the process also unwittingly reflected the prevailing condescending attitudetowardsminoritypeoples: this was a pipa piece composedsince People ... Liberationwhich has the color of the (Yi) people and has become widely liked by the Chinesepeople. The compositionof the piece follows preciselythe ABA pattern frequently used in Western pieces, but this in no way impairsthe nationalflavor of the piece. On the contrary, it manages to depict with even greater precision the carefree enthusiasm of the Yi people. Chineseaudienceslike the piece, and foreign audiences also like it, so this was a successful example of the of our policy of "making implementation foreign things serve China" (Fang 1981:9). So-called minority music is broadcast on the Ethnic Nationalities Program originating in Beijing, on regional services directed at minority peoples, and occasionally on the National Services, never in original versions as recorded on location by but in arrangementor as part of more extended ethnomusicologists trained pieces by composers.This is music drawn from the masses, then givenback to them in "improved" form. In dealingwith its ethnic population, as in its relationswith the otherclasses withinthe Hanmajority, the leadership of the Communist as the voice of the intends to educate. Party, speaking proletariat, Whenand if satisfactoryprogressis made, the nationalminoritieswill become part of the country'sdemocracy.Until then, they are subject to the dictatorship of the proletariat, musicallyas well as politically. Summary The NationalPrograms of the CPBS,in their role as the official
radio voice of the state, broadcast music judged to be correct Concerning ... the pipa piece Dance Tune of the Yi

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24 AsianMusic,Spring/Summer1991 listening fare for the population of a socialist-communiststate in which class strugglecontinuesto be a centralissue. The vast majority of this music draws in some way or other on music of the Chinese people, whether folk, classical or ethnic, which is then mediated by trainedmusiciansinto a more "correct" form, stylisticallyneutraland divorcedfrom its originalsocial or ritualcontext. The Shanghai People's Broadcasting Station (Radio Shanghai): History and Structure Radio Shanghaiwas founded on 27 May 1949, the day of the city's liberation from the Japanese. It relayed central state broadcastingfrom Beijing, augmentedby some local programming, until the onset of the CulturalRevolutionin 1966, when most of its personnelwas dismissedand its programsbegan to be controlledeven more by Beijing.In 1978,with the adventof the new open policy, the stationbeganto functionas a semi-autonomous unit undermembersof the local ChineseCommunist of whom had been banished Party,many the Cultural Revolution. The during following excerptsfrom an essay one of these Zou of the Shanghai men, by Fanyang, formerlyChairman Radio and Television Bureau and subsequently Chairman of the Shanghai Radio and Television Research Institute, will serve as a summaryof the station'shistoryand ideology. After Liberation, I became a journalist,and listened to radio (which) required special stations, foreign I an permission. experienced incomparablyrich world from the music programs of these foreignradiostations. with I found the music programs from (them), Compared the Chinese radio stations unsatisfactory.Why was it that so little time was spent on music? Why were the programsso limited, rigid and dull? Why were they so filled with indoctrination and pure politicalpropaganda? In 1960 I came to work at the radio station (in Shanghai).At that time, music was a "dangerzone." Music was called "the sacred sensor of class struggle," and was considereda sensitive area. Every time there was political turbulence, music was always the first area to be affected. The time allotted for music programswas cut time and again,many programswere banned, folk music was on the verge of being

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Hamm:MusicandRadioin the PRC 25 sources of foreign music were completely exterminated, cut off. After the policy that "class struggle has to be talked about every day" was re-empahasized, any mentionof "peace" and "love" was prohibited. The world of music should be a vast ocean, but now there was only dead water left in a pond. The beginning of the CulturalRevolutionmarked the were beginningof the real disaster.All of us "oldhands" expelledfrom the radiostation,each of us bearingsome ridiculous political accusation.A music editor told me with tears in his eyes that this time would be his farewell to music, that he would never again come to the station, never listen to the radio again. His heart was broken,drippingwith blood. I was deeply touched by what he said, but I was not as pessimistic.I believed that radio could not be extinguished; music, above all, could not be extinguished, (even though) in exile, on my home-made radio, all I could hear were the hoarse cries of political slogans. Was this music? Was this culture? Music had disappeared.What was left was noise. The dead water was finally drainedand the pond turned into a desert, a culturaldesert. I returned to the radio station in 1979, when all the people who had been falsely accused had been and was named Chairman. But the station rehabilitated, was in ruins. Studios were destroyed, converted into offices. The past ten years had left only nothingness. Live broadcasting had been prohibited, so that announcers could not hold conversations with the audience.Only pre-recorded programscould be aired. A technicianfrom the CentralCommittee suggestedthat the station set aside one frequencyto play music night and day, to become a music station.We decidedthat in orderto revive interest in radio we shouldput emphasis on the developmentof FM. The problem was to find materials for stereo radio programming. At that time stereos and cassettes were rare. Some young imported people walked around the city carrying their stereo sets, to show off. One could hear recordingsof popular

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26 AsianMusic,Spring/Summer1991 singers from Hong Kongand Taiwan.This phenomenon was the result of the long-time policy of cultural isolationand the dullnessof music radioprogramming. A hungerfor music and culture made such peopleswallow anything that came along. In order to enrich our programs, we had to break the boundaries of city, province and nation, to communicate nationally and Radiois a means of communication, and internationally. music is the most suitable world language of international communication (Zou1988:2). Li Deming,Chairman of the Entertainment of the Department Recreational Broadcast Shanghai ImprovementCommittee,reiterated the theme that RadioShanghaiis committedto seeking international music: friendship through Ancient Chinahad a proverb:"All within the four seas are brothers." Radio Shanghai has made a constant effort to seek friendship.It is a window throughwhich the Chineseaudienceunderstands the world (Li 1988:1). In the 1980s, RadioShanghaigrew into a complexnetwork of eight separateservices (three in stereophonicFM, five in monophonic medium-wave), organizedinto three units: News and Education(four Arts and Literature (three);and Economic Information programs); (one). Taken together, these eight services are on the air for 120 hours each day, reaching an audience of some 35,000,000 people throughout the Yangtze Delta. Program languages are "standard" Chinese,the Shanghaidialect,and English.4 To enrich its programming, Radio Shanghai established exchangeprogramswith its twin cities: Hamhyn(NorthKorea), Zagreb Yokohama(Japan),and Hamburg(FederalRepublic of (Yugoslavia), It also has programexchangeswith the Voice of America, Germany). the BBC, the Voice of Germany(FRG),the CanadianBroadcasting and RadioLuxenburg. Company, Music Programming on Radio Shanghai
Literature channel (103.7 FM, stereo) is devoted exclusively to music. General guidelines call for three hours of Western and Japanese pop

More than 60 hours of music is aired each day. One Art and

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Hamm: MusicandRadioin the PRC 27 music each day, four of Westernclassical music, four hours of light music (whichRadioShanghaiappropriately calls "background" music), and seven hours of Chinese music, including classical, operatic, popular,and traditionalgenres. The program best epitomizing Radio Shanghai's cultural First broadcastin June of 1982, it soon autonomyis "StereoFriends." "established a network connecting the hearts of thousands and millions of people.Not only does it spreadmusic, it also disseminates beauty and love"(Zou 1988:2). friendship, Feng Bingyou, the founder and director of "Stereo Friends," came with a translator to my room in the guest house of the Shanghai of Conservatory Music for an interview, dressed in casual Western clothing. Relaxed and informal, he brought program schedules and informationalbrochures as gifts, and began by reminding me that Shanghaihas had longer and closer contact with the outside world than have other cities in the PRC.The variousservices and programs of RadioShanghaiare designedfor this cosmopolitanlistenership. His Friends,"is designed to bring internationalpopular program,"Stereo music not otherwise availablein the PRCto the audiences of Radio Shanghai,for their immediatelisteningpleasureand also to augment their personalcassette collectionsby taping the programs. Each hour-longprogramis made up of a selectionof pieces by one singer or group, put together by Feng himself from cassettes, discs and now CDs bought from foreign countries, given by sympatheticindividualsand institutionsabroad,or sometimes loaned by his listeners themselves.Some Europeanpopularperformershave been included, but most programsare devoted to American music. "Michael Jackson, Dolly Parton, Paul Simon, Randy Travis, and Madonna are household names in Shanghai as a result of our programs," Feng said with obviouspride.Duringone week of my stay in Shanghai, "Stereo Friends" aired programs #243 (ABBA),#244 (MichaelJackson)and #245 (Whitney Houston). Feng has expressedhis own views on the relationship between radioprogramming and radio audiences: The attitude of "It's my business to broadcast, no matter what you prefer" should come to an end. I pursue the theory of equality between producer and

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28 AsianMusic,Spring/Summer1991 audience, of loyally serving our audience and getting rid of bureaucratic interference. My spiritual support comes from those tens of thousands of unknown listeners who care for and support this program. I believe that the motto for "StereoFriends"should be: popular but not vulgar;benevolent but not subversive (Feng 1988:3). Even more recently, relationshipswith American enterprises have broughtadditional of Americanpopularmusic to Radio programs Shanghai.While I was there, for instance, "Music World Express," produced by TeleProgramsin Los Angeles and hosted by DJ Jim Hanson, treated Chinese listeners to the top five songs in America that week, interviewswith several pop musicians,and an "American life style report"dealing with problemsfaced by unmarriedcouples living together- a situationquite foreignto the People'sRepublic. Unlike the CentralPrograms, RadioShanghaiairs a full range of Chinese popular styles, including rock pieces by Cui Jian and others. It also broadcasts educational programs dealing with the history of Chinesefolk, classical and even popularmusic, not unlike those sometimes heard in the USA on National Public Radio. One program,for example,began with samples of a solo folk genre from the Northwestknown as Xintianyou,ambulatorysongs meditatingon the sorrowsof human life and the beautiesof nature.The genre was then traced, in recorded examples,as it appearedin Chinese opera, as a Red Army song in the 1930s, as an arrangedfolk song in light style, and as contemporary popularsong: "Xintianyou" by Ceng Lin and "I Have Nothing" by Cui Jian. The programendedwith a song by Stevie Wonder, with the suggestionthat it was, purely by coincidence, similar in expression and content. Radio Shanghai has served as a window admitting Western popular music into the PRC, with consequences for Shanghai and sometimes the entire country. In August of 1988, the station conducted a mail vote of its audience to select the most popular singer, foreign or Chinese;more than 30,000 letters were received, with MichaelJacksonthe overwhelming winner."WeAre the World" was first heard in the PRCon "StereoFriends"immediatelyafter its release in 1985. It was soon recordedin Chineseby ten singers from and published in the magazineLightMusic,then withina few Shanghai weeks pieces of this genre were being written in China for internal

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Hamm:MusicandRadioin the PRC 29 performedby 100 mega-events,such as "Fillingthe Worldwith Love," Chinesepop musicians in 1986 on the occasion of the International Year of Peace. Though Radio Shanghaiobviouslyhas not felt constrainedby the ideology underlyingprogramming for the NationalPrograms,all music is screened by a panel of editors before being broadcast to content or guard against air play of songs with "pornographic" expressing sentiments "against state policy," according to Feng Bingyou. Summary Attitudes and programmingpolicies at Radio Shanghai are dramaticallydifferent from those of the National Programsof the CPBS. While Radio Shanghaidoes broadcast its share of the music favored by the National Programs,including light music and both Chinese and Europeanclassical repertories,it also gives considerable air time to music not programmed in Beijing,most importantly a wide themes both in range of foreign and Chinesepopularstyles. Recurring and in publishedinformational materialare international programming and the station'sreceptivityto the wants and needs of understanding its audience. Musical Preference in the People's Republic Until recently, no information on musical preference and listeninghabits in the People'sRepublicwas available.But duringthe winter of 1988-89 Yang Xiaoxun,a graduatestudent at the Tianjin of Music, undertookas his master'sthesis a computerConservatory aided survey of musical taste and patterns of consumption in the Beijing area. Yang is particularlyconcernedwith popularmusic, which he defines as "the kind of music that emerges from the cities, spreads from there to other segments of the population,and has a certain commodity value" (Yang 1989: 7). Appropriately enough for a study undertakenin a socialist-communist state, the chief focus is on the and how this mightbe controlled: impactof music on social behavior, Listening to music is a type of social behavior. The (recent) spread of popular music is the result of the

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30 AsianMusic,Spring/Summer1991 influence of a quite specific social environment and


psychological demand.

Under the influence of

specific historical backgroundsand social conditions, demandswill manifest differences variouspsychological in human behavior. By studying and predicting these behavioral tendencies, we will be able to control of music and artificiallythe impactof the dissemination make it possible to accurately intensify or suppress such impact(Yang1989:3).

Yangposits a four-partcontrol system, designedto enable "the controlled object to act according to the predetermined goal of the 1989: The 3). controllingobject"(Yang controllingobject (1) is music the controlled is the audience for this music. itself, object (2) about the (3) information Controlling controllingobject (i.e.,the music) comes from newspapers, television and film. The effectiveness radio, of the controlling object on the controlled object can then be measured (4),which can take two forms:nonby feedbackinformation such as statistics of the size of the audience for predictivefeedback, radio and television programs or letters and phone calls from this audience, giving information only about the controlled object; and predictive feedback, audience surveys of the sort undertaken in Yang'sthesis or analysesof non-predictive feedback,which can "find inner patterns and thus predict future behavior of the controlled object"as a result of dealingwith the controlledobject (the audience). Yang suggests that predictive feedback is becoming increasingly important in the contemporary world, because it can "directly influence and propel forwardthe development of the audio and video industry, control of music and art, music education, and musical propoganda" (Yang1989:3-4). Of the 1,150 questionnairesdistributed by Yang, 952 were Institutionschosen for participation included completed,anonymously. two middle schools, four universities, two large departmentstores, five factories, seven sub-departments of the Central Organizational one medical institution,one social science institution,two Department, hospitals, two departments of the National Physical Training Committee,four professionalmusic and dance companies,and two conservatoriesof music. 52.9% of the respondents were female, 47.1% male;ages rangedfrom 14 to over 50, with an averageage of 26.

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Hamm: MusicandRadioin the PRC 31 This survey makes it possible to test the correspondence between the music offered on the NationalPrograms of the CPBSand actual musical taste in the PRC.Two factors must be kept in mind, however. First, Yang chose his sample from people with a relatively of his respondentshad only a high level of education.A mere 3.1% had attendedhigh school, 37.4% had primaryschool education,52.1% some college education,7.5%had done postgraduatework. Thus the results reflect the cultural tastes of a segment of the Chinesepeople historically inclined towards "reactionary, bourgeois" attitudes. Secondly, the survey was taken in Beijing, where musical activity (including radio programming)most directly reflects the cultural strategiesof the state. The results might well have been different had the survey been taken in Shanghai,with its much wider range of music availableon RadioShanghai and elsewhere. Informantswere askedto indicatetheir first, second and third choices from a list of eight types of music, with the followingresults: type of music 1. pop 2. dance music (disco,etc.) 3. classical (Westernstyle) 4. foreign instrumental (jazz,etc.) 5. traditional or folk 6. traditionalopera 7. Chineseinstrumental 8. chorus (masssongs) 1 370 65 146 108 137 59 28 2 2 218 169 141 146 130 45 38 24 3 150 258 131 117 80 45 67 42 total 738 492 418 371 347 149 133 68

Interpretingthese findings in relation to what I've written in the first part of this study is problematic, since the categorieschosen by Yang don't coincide precisely with mine. However, one sees that popularvocal and instrumental immediately genres(including jazz) given little air time on the CPBSare far and away the favoredmusic, occupyingthree of the top four spots. There is agreementon Western classical music, favored with a great deal of air time on the National Services and third on the list of preferences. Light music, most favored by the CPBS,is not one of the categorieslisted by Yang,but his categories of "traditionaland folk" and "Chineseinstrumental music,"5th and 7th choices of his informants, encompasslight music as I've defined it. A complicatingfactor, as pointedout above, is that certain types of Chinese and foreign pop songs are stylistically

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32 AsianMusic,Spring/Summer1991 from light music and are in fact often included on indistinguishable music light programs. the survey seems to Despite these problemsof interpretation, indicate substantialdisagreementbetween the types of music given most air time on the National Services and the actual musical to this poll. preferencesof the respondents Dissemination of Music in the PRC Yang's survey also makes it possible to measure, albeit on a limited scale, the extent to which the Chinesepeople dependon radio, as opposedto other means of dissemination, for their music. A brief of the several in which music is disseminated in summary ways China first. is contemporary necessary, According to Huang Bingqi of the CPBS, there are approximately400,000,000 radio receivers in the People's Republic, and "most people have access to a radio."The number of different radio services available varies widely, dependingon location within the country. In the largest cities one can receive two or three of the NationalPrograms,several different regionalservices, and in Beijing, Tianjin or Shanghaia numberof municipalservices as well. When I was in Shanghai,for instance, 24 different radio programscould be heardat certaintimes of the day. In more ruralareasthe choice may be limited to one or two NationalProgramsand perhapsa regionalor local broadcast. Radios are not a part of the urban or rural landscape and soundscapein the People'sRepublicas elsewhere,in SouthernAfrica and the urban USA for instance. Radio sets are listened to in the home, almost never on public streets and certainly not in the workplace.On the other hand, involuntarypublic listening to radio broadcasts or tapes takes place in certain environments: in the lobbies and restaurantsof hotels and other public places, and, when one is travelling,throughthe loudspeakers with which most passenger trains and boats are equipped. According to statistics released by the Audio and Visual Film and Television, Departmentof the Ministry of Broadcasting,
102,000,000 cassette tapes were produced for sale in the PRC in 1987. These are sold in small, privately-operated stalls or "record bars"

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Hamm:MusicandRadioin the PRC 33 throughoutthe PRC,whose stock is legally limited to tapes produced by the some 200 recordcompaniesoperatingwithin the countryand a small number of officially-approved importeditems. However,many shops also offer piratedforeign and domestic tapes, and one can find entire enterprises(often mobile) offering a wide selection of nothing but pirateditems. Incidentally, the only music heard in the streets of the cities I visited came not from radios,but from these recordbars, loudly advertisingtheir productsto passers-by. Home taping, of commercial tapes or from the radio, is of the respondentsindicated that epidemic. In Yang'ssurvey, 78.7% said that they owned cassette tapes of music. Of this number,45.4% their collections were made up chiefly of copied tapes, 23.5% reported indicated owning a mixtureof originaland duplicatedtapes,and 31.1% that their collection consisted chiefly of commercially-purchased tapes (Yang 1989:31). A very rough estimate of the total number of cassette tapes made in a year, including commercial, pirated, and items,might be 350,000,000. home-taped are so expensiveas to be owned only by the most Phonographs individuals and by institutions, and compactdiscs are as yet privileged unknown in the PRC. virtually Until the advent of cassette tapes, "film enjoy(ed) perhapsthe largest popular audience of all the cultural media of contemporary China.More people,and a wider range of people,watch movies than read novels, see television, or attend stage performances" (Clark 1984: 177). Music has two functions in Chinese films: to serve as dramatic accompaniment to the images on the screen; and as interpolated songs in light or pop style. By the late 1980s,composers of the ChineseMusiciansAssociationhad succeededin combiningthe potential of the country's two most popularmass media by writing in films and then marketedon cassette tapes. songs to be introduced Chinese Central Television (CCTV) reported that some 10,000,000television sets were owned in the country at the beginning of 1988. ProgramI, on the air thirteenhours each day, is relayed to all parts of the country. In addition, there are some 46 provincialand municipal services, many of them largely devoted to educational The NationalProgramof CCTVcarriesthe same range programming.
of music as the CPBS: light vocal and instrumental music, Chinese opera, and European and Chinese classical music. Additionally,

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34 AsianMusic,Spring/Summer1991 dramaticshows and series written and producedfor television often contain interpolated songs in pop style, which are then broughtout on cassette. In fact, many of the most successful pop songs of the late 1980swere introduced either in film or on television. For a visitor from the West, live musical performanceseems remarkably limited in the PRC. Pop or light music concerts are sometimes scheduled in large public arenas. Folk music ensembles, offering mostly light arrangementsof traditionaltunes, perform at conservatories of music and in public halls large enough to accomodategroups of tourists. Small clubs, clustered usually around universities, are the usual venues for rock music, though there are sometimes arena performancesby Cui Lian and other stars of this genre. Chineseopera is performedin theatres,or on open-airstages. Street musicians are rare, and inappropriate in a socialist-communist Disco with to recorded music, have clubs, society.5 dancing in recent There are also bars and restaurants proliferated years. where patrons, for a fee, can sing to the backing of taped instrumental accompaniment.According to The China News for 1 February 1990, the repertory at one of these establishments, the Yanhai Restaurantin Beijing, consists of popular songs from Hong Kong and Taiwan as well as 364 American titles, including "Rock Aroundthe Clock," "Tennessee "MoonRiver," and more recent Waltz," hits by Madonna and Janet Jackson. In a survey related to his thesis, Yang Xiaoxun asked respondentsto indicate what means of disseminationthey depended on most for theirmusic, with the followingresults(Yang1988: 6). 59.8% tape or phonograph televisionor film 15.7% radio 11.5% live performance 10.0% or listeningto friends 3.0% participation, At least within the limited sample of this survey, the CPBS appears to play a minor role in shaping the musical taste of the Chinese people through "explainingand popularizing" the kinds of music deemedbest for them, simply because such a small percentage of them dependon the radioas a majorsourcefor their music.

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Hamm:MusicandRadioin the PRC 35 Final Summary The Communist Party of the People's Republic of China, exercising the leadershipdemanded in a "democraticdictatorship," has formulateda policy governingthe choice of music to be broadcast by the state-controlled radio network and performed by state ensembles.Faithful to the writingsof Mao Zedongand his successors, this policy is based on the "mass line" theory; on the notion that culture in contemporary China should be "modern;" and on the convictionthat music can affect social behaviorand morality.It is not so much concerned with disseminatingpolitical texts through vocal music as with offering music intendedto speakto the largestpossible audience, and to encourage socially correct behavior among the Chinesepopulation. The three NationalPrograms, disseminated the PRC throughout from Beijing and understoodto be the official radio voice of the central government, base their music programming on these "correct" as also do the services. However,municipaland principles, provincial local radio services are now under decentralized,sub- government have control,and since 1979 many of them, includingRadioShanghai, of music pursuedincreasingly independent policies programming. In the three decades after Liberation,and particularlyduring the CulturalRevolution,the central governmentwas able to impose the music of its choice on virtuallythe entire populationof the PRC, through monopoly control of cultural production and radio programming. In the 1980s, however, the situation changed dramatically.The decision to decentralizemajor componentsof the state radio network had the effect of decentralizing music in large areas of the country.Even more importanthas programming been the impact of cassette technology. With tape playback and recording equipment now affordable for a major part of the population,the state has simply lost control over the listening habits of its people. In an era in which as much as two thirds of the populationdependson cassettes for the major share of its music, and at least two thirds of the tapes owned are piratedor copied at home, the music over which the state can exercise direct control (through radio programs under its direct supervision, or live public performance,or officially-approvedimported cassette tapes) makes of the music listenedto withinthe country. up a small percentage

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36 AsianMusic,Spring/Summer1991 Postscript The situation describedabove existed in the PRCin late 1988, when I visited the country. Foreign television coverage of the from Tian An democracymovementin the springof 1989,particularly Men Square,often focused on music: Beethoven'sNinth Symphony blaring from cassette players and loudspeakers, young people clustered around pop musicians, the pop star Hou Dejien leading a hunger strike and then negotiatingwith the army to allow protestors to leave the squarepeacefully. Only scatteredinformationhas been availableto me to suggest the extent to which the Chinesegovernmentlinked music in general, and popular music in particular,to the democracy movement, and what steps have been taken in reprisal. Minister of Culture Wang Meng, who expressed enthusiasm for both American and Chinese popularmusic when he met with me, was the highestrankingofficial deposed in the aftermath of the demonstrations, though his musical taste may not have been an importantfactor in his fall from grace. Public rock/pop concerts were discontinuedafter May. Hou Dejien took refuge in the Australianembassyfor several months,reappeared in public only when the governmentpromisednot to arrest him, but has not been able to resumehis career.Chinesescholarsscheduledto read papers at the Fifth InternationalPopularMusic Conferenceof IASPM,held in Paris in July of 1989,had their visas withdrawn. One informantrecently reportedthat even less pop/rock music is played on the state radio services now, and that the style of Chinesepop has been appropriated for new songs praisingthe army and the members of the proletariatwho resisted the democracymovement.There have been changesin music programming at RadioShanghai. On the other hand, Cui Jian was allowed to perform in As the ChinaPost February1990,in the BeijingWorkers' Gymnasium. for 5 February1990 reportedthe event: A roar went up as mainlandChina's No. I and only rock 'n' roll singer,Cui Jian, boundedon stage Sunday night. The band surged into heavy-metalhigh gear. Coloredstrobes blinked zanily. Fans waved their arms for Cui's first concert in nearly a year, and the
first rock event since last June. It was about as crazy as a crowd in socialist China can get, and hundreds of

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Hamm:MusicandRadioin the PRC 37 police were there to make sure it didn'tget any crazier. Uniformedpolice occupied the entire front row, sitting stolidly while the audience behind them erupted with cheers. But that didn'tstop the nearly 10,000fans, most in their teens and 20s, from jumpingup and down in place and waving posters. A plainclothes members of the People's Armed Police stood by scowling. "I don't like his music,"he said. "I don'tlike the way he sings it. I like someonelike Fei Xiang" - a Taiwanese-American who toured mainland China. recently pop singer It isn't clear, at least from this side of the Pacific, the extent to which the Communist Partyof Chinahas taken steps to enforce its policies on music more forcefully since June of 1989,and the situation has been too sensitive to find out much from musicians within the country.Two things are clear, however:music is an importantsite of and the Chinesegovernment will find politicalstrugglewithin the PRC; it more difficult now than in the past to control musical taste, if it attemptsto do so. Dartmouth College Notes 1 This analysisof the organizational structure,programcontent and function of the Central Station (CPBS) political People'sBroadcasting is based on research conducted in Septemberand October of 1988, when I participated in the Visiting Scholar Exchange Program administered with the by the Committeefor ScholarlyCommunication People'sRepublicof China.My sourcesare interviewswith officials of the NationalServices of CPBS(in Beijing)and Radio Shanghai; hours of listening to and taping radio programsin Beijing, Tianjin, Xian, Chengdu,Chongqin,and Shanghai,and subsequentanalysis of these tapes; discussions with faculty membersand students at the various conservatories of music at which I lectured,and with membersof the Chinese Musicians' Association during a meeting in Beijing; and informationand materialssent to me by Chinesecolleaguesafter my visit. 2 Includingthe USA.See Oja 1989. 3 The best accountsof this historyare Ju 1991 and Zeng 1991.

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38 AsianMusic,Spring/Summer1991

4 This information is taken from a promotionalbrochure, "Radio YourIntimateFriend," by the stationin 1988. Shanghai: published 5 My translatorin Xian was amusedat my interest in a blind singer from the countryside crouched on a street corner, accompanying himself with an er-hu."You've come all the way from Americato hear that?"

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Hamm:MusicandRadioin the PRC 39


shortwave Radio Beijing [external service,43 languages]

CentralPeople'sBroadcasting Station[Beijing] NationalProgram1 [Putonghual NationalProgram 2 [Putonghua] NationalProgram3 [Putonghua, stereo,FM] Taiwan,Program1 [Putonghual 2 [Amoy,Hakkal Taiwan,Program EthnicNationalities and various [in Putonghua Program nationallanguages]
Provincial Services [inPutonghua andvarious dialects] regional

Anhui Fujian Gansu Guangdong Guizhou Hebei

Heilingjiang Henan Hubei Hunan Jilin

Jiangsu Jiangxi Liaoning Qinghai Sichuan

Shaanxi Shandong Shanxi Yunnan Zhejiang

Fujian Front Station [toTaiwan]

Program1 [Putonghual 2 [Putong, Program Amoy] Voiceof Jinling[to Taiwan] UNDER SUB-GOVERNMENTSUPERVISION
andlocaldialects] Municipal Services [in Putonghua



[Radio Shanghai Shanghai]

Services for Autonomous Regions [inPutonghua andvarious national languages]

GuangxiZhuang NiangxiaHui Xizang[Tibet] [Inner Menggu Mongolia] Xinjiang Nei Uighur 179 [171 FM, 8 shortwave]

Local Services [inPutonghua, and variousdialectsandnationallanguages]

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40 AsianMusic,Spring/Summer1991 References Cited

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Hamm,Charles 1979 Popular Song in America. New York & Yesterdays: London: W.W.Norton. 1991A "TheConstant of Mankind: SouthAfrican Companion Radio, Music, and Separate Development." Popular Music 102 (May): 147-173. "Privilegingthe Moment of Reception:Music and Radio in South Africa."In Music and Text: Critical Inquiries.Cambridge: Cambridge UniversityPress.


HanKuo-Huang 1979 "The Modern Chinese Orchestra."Asian Music XI/1: 1-43. HanYidan 1988 "Open policy opens ears."ChinaDaily, 19 October.

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"Musique populaire de la Chine du 20e siecle." I (Berlin:IASPM). Worldbeat

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BonnieS. (ed.) McDougall, 1984 Popular ChineseLiteratureand PerformingArts in the People'sRepublicof China,1949-1979.Berkeley: Press. Universityof California Nettl, Bruno 1985 The Western Impact on World Music: Change, Adaption, and Survival. New York & London: SchirmerBooks. "MarcBlitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock and MassSong Style of the 1930s,"American Music 62: 158180.

Oja, Carol 1989

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Teng Xiaobing 1956 "Reporton the Revision of the Constitutionof the Communist In Chai1969: 318-327. Partyof China." Wong,IsabelK. F. 1984 "Geming Gequ: Songs for the Education of the Masses"In McDougall1984:112-141. YangJingming 1957 "TheOrganization and Improvement of the National Orchestra." Lectures on National Instruments. Beijing: YinyueChubanshe. YangXiaoxun 1988 Popularity Won the World: A Report of Investigations on Social Music in Beijing. Tianjin: of Music. Conservatory The Theory and Practice of Predicting the Propogation of Chinese Popular Music. Tianjin: of Music, MA thesis. Conservatory "Model Opera as Model: from Shajiabang to In McDougall1984:144-164. Saagabong." "Rdsum6 de la recherche sociologique sur le chanson populaire de la Chine contemporaine." Worldbeat IASPM) 1 (Berlin: "From'RadioFriends'to 'StereoFriends'." Shanghai: RadioShanghai.


Yung,Bell 1984 ZengSuijin 1991

Zou Fanyang 1988

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