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Lecture by Prof. Dr. Frederick Lau (University of Hawai at Manoa): Listening to Chinese Music
June 27, 2016, 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Ethnomusicologist Frederick Lau explores ways of listening to Chinese music as a window to understand Chinese society. At the core of his presentation is the focus on the linkage between music and culture and how music exemplifies larger social sentiments, practice, and ethos across time and space. The definition of Chinese music thus depends on and is affected by its environment and history. Lau takes as assumption that Chinese music is ever changing through the ages and its meanings fluctuate according to the socio-cultural climate and pressure from politics. In this talk, Lau shares with audience multiple ways to approach Chinese music genres with an emphasis on the context in which music was produced and consumed, as opposed to listening as music in a vacuum. The traditional Confucianist social order had dictated how music was performed, perceived, and talked about. By way of exploring examples of Confucian ritual music, guqin music, regional music, contemporary traditional genres, Lau takes audiences through a wonderful journey of appreciating Chinese music with a focus on the cultural specificity of the period.