Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

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(4,033 words)

1. Traditional Music

The historical sources on music in ancient China largely emphasize the following two topics: 1. the question of the musical ethos, i.e. the role of music (yue ) in association with the rites (li ) for education and the satisfaction of the people, 2. the fundamentals of musical theory, i.e. the definition and systematization of musically applicable notes and scales. A third area of living musical practice was reserved for direct oral tradition.…

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Gimm, Martin and Mittler, Barbara, “Music”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of China, Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese. Consulted online on 01 February 2023 <>
First published online: 2008
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004168633, 20121018

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