Dan Qin

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




William, Renwick




Compared to the Western world, music critique in China is virgin soil that has been untouched by the rest of world for a long time. People in North America don't know how the Chinese think about or define "music"; what a Chinese musician's critical judgment is and moreover how the Chinese critique music. As in Europe, China does have its own music-critical culture and just needs time to review the past, examine it and then report to the world. This thesis introduces essential aspects of Chinese musical culture and philosophy and provides observations by Chinese contemporary music critics on western classical music. The thesis begins with a brief retrospective of the history of music critique in China, and then discusses the Chinese philosophical ideas as exposed by some prominent music critics throughout a special cultural development period-the Chinese Cultural Revolution, 1966-1976. The final part of this thesis analyzes the articles by contemporary music critics in two major Chinese cities, Beijing and Shanghai during the period 2003 to 2005. In summary, this thesis will present critical and in-depth research revealing the mysteries of music critique in China. If, as a Chinese proverb says: "a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step", then I hope this thesis represents the first single step towards a better understanding of Chinese music in the west.

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