Western Music in China and Chinese New National Music

From the beginning of 20th century, western music was greatly introduced into China and deeply influenced the Chinese music. The first musicians of modern music in China were overseas students and musicians in 1920s that had systematically learned the western music; they brought in the western music to Chinese people in theories and skills, and had created the early Chinese modern music; classical compositions and musicians such as Beethoven, Chopin, and their masterpieces were known to people in cities. After the founding of People’s Republic of China, western music increasingly permeate to people’s life, more and more people gradually understand and enjoy the western music and western instruments are becoming popular such as piano and violin. Today, western music enjoys an important status in China that most Chinese appreciate; and in conservatories of music, most of the courses are the western, like harmony, polyphony, orchestrate, musical form, and so on.

Chinese new national music is a new concept that popular from the end of the last century. It is a new music that ingeniously combines the traditional Chinese music with western and modern music. Added in pop skills and elements, the national music is now performed in rich art forms. The famous player of flutes and Xiao, Zeng Gege and her husband Fen Xiaoquan (a singer as well as a player), are the pioneers of the Chinese new national music. They started the innovation of the traditional music in 1997; with modern music, they added in kinds of traditional instruments, such as Xiao, flutes in different types, and ethic instruments of Hulusi (cucurbit flute), Bawu and so on. Later, this new music and performance are popular among people in the country, and numerous musicians start creations of this kind; among them, the Twelve Girls Band (Chinese:女子十二乐坊) and the singer Gong Linna are the most famous. Twelve Girls Band is a group plays the traditional Chinese compositions by Chinese instruments adding in some modern pop elements; their performing instruments include Guzheng, Yangqin, Pipa, Erhu, Xiao, cucurbit flute, etc. Gong Linna is a Chinese national singer with high skills in singing; her song Tan Te (Chinese:忐忑, or Perturbed), awarded in Europe in 2009, is a national wide popular song created based on the Chinese national music.

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