Home Issues Current Issue The Politics of the Modern Chinese Orchestra: Making Music in Mao’s China, 1949-1976
The Politics of the Modern Chinese Orchestra:
Making Music in Mao’s China, 1949-1976
Abstract: This article examines the production of musical works for the Chinese orchestra during the Mao Zedong period between 1949 and 1976. It considers how certain seminal works were produced to propagate Mao’s political thought, as well as the changes made to these works against the backdrop of broader political changes. I argue that Chinese music is not a monolithic entity, but a shifting set of diverse cultural productions and practices. This study suggests that the production and propagation of musical works under Mao’s rule can be categorized into three periods, namely, the first period from the founding of the People’s Republic of China to the dawn of the Cultural Revolution (1949-1966); the second period during the early part of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1971); and the third period during the latter half of the Cultural Revolution (1971-1976). By analyzing seminal musical works composed during the Mao period, my research will reveal how modern Chinese orchestral music was used as a political tool in the nation-building of the People’s Republic of China.
 
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MCS cover 2018-issue1
ISSN 2160-0295 (Print)
ISSN 2160-0317 (Online)