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2011年2月8日 星期二

中國音樂的現代化綜論 (1) -- 中國文化面對現代化的衝激

前言: 早前曾跟讀者談過陶傑所喜愛的一個中國歷史時代,也就是我所喜歡的同一年代 -- 民國初年。我也曾說過,民國初年 (五四之後至1937 年中日戰爭開始時),就像一位風華絕代的中年美女,充滿使人感到醇醉的千嬌百媚和風情萬種。只因這個時代是中華民族在藝術文化音樂的各個領域裡經歷真正現代化的時期,或者,更應該說是對峙著西方式的現代化 (western modernization) 沖激。在音樂發展上,是中國傳統音樂接受西方音樂的洗禮的里程埤。我所談及的風韻醇醉,就是從這個音樂現代化開始。我這一系列文章,就是討論中國音樂的現代化的發展。其中各篇文章有的是以 Academic 英文寫成,也有用中文以隨筆方式寫成的。敬請各同學留意,不要 copy-and-paste。但 idea 就不妨拿來參巧一下。



China’s Cultural Modernization

China experienced its modernization at the time when the western culture was massively imported through the hegemony of imperialism in the beginning of the twentieth-century. From the present perspective, this modernization movement has proven to be an important phase in the entire progression of Chinese music culture. However, the cultural collision was so fierce that the seemingly unshakable traditional structure was seriously distorted. China had never experienced this before throughout its long history. In the Tang Dynasty, for instance, China was in a strong political and social position. Its indigenous culture was able to absorb, transform and assimilate the incoming foreign cultural elements, thus constructing a new, unique hybridized culture of its own without surrendering its original value system. The Indian Buddhism which was imported to Chinese community at this time was an exemplar of just such a successful cultural assimilation. However, the cultural transmission at the time of China’s modernization was totally different. Unlike the situation in the Tang Dynasty, modern China was in a seriously weak socio-political position. The transcultural process was carried out on the basis of neither a China-leading, nor a two-way equal exchange model.[1] On the contrary, it took the form of a strong, brutal conquest which aimed to fulfill a colonizer’s ambitious desire for exploiting greater economic and political advantages from the weaker colonized by destroying its ancient, historically valued socio-cultural structure.

The May Fourth Movement (1919), first appearing as a request for reform at political level and later spreading out to cover different socio-cultural dimensions, together with the New Cultural Movement (1915-1922) were regarded as the reactions to this great imbalance of east-west acculturation.[2] In July 1933, the Sheng Bao Monthly (申報月) in Shanghai published a special issue on “The Modernization of China”.[3] This publication showed that Chinese people used the term “modernization” to describe the cultural confrontation. As Chinese intellectuals and even the masses were forced to recognize the military power and political strength of western imperialism, there was a concomitant awakening of national consciousness. The western educated backgrounds of social elite also compelled them to acknowledge the serious backwardness of the country in areas such as democracy, science, and the military. With the aim of reconstituting a new Chinese culture through, paradoxically, wholesale westernization in order to save the country, Chinese intellectuals, thinkers, and educators, brought about a series of cultural reforms. Xiao Youmei’s notable contributions to institute a new music education system and promote the New Music Movement for modern China were some of the fruits of these cultural reforms.


[1] He Xiaoping, “The Background Behind the Formation of Chinese Music Backwardness Theory (中國音樂落後論的形成背景),” Journal of Music Research, 2 (1993): 8.
[2] On May 4, 1919, nearly three thousand university students protested in the street of Beijing against the decision that despite China being a victor in World War I, Japan – rather than Germany – could take control of the province of Shandong. For a comprehensive study of the May Fourth Movement, see Chow Tse-tsung, The May Fourth Movement: Intellectual Revolution in Modern China (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1964), “Introduction.”
[3] The headline of the Sheng Bao Monthly is cited from a secondary source. See Jiang Binghai, “The Cultural Tradition of China and Modernization,” in Chinese Cultural Traditions and Modernization: Chinese Philosphical Studies, X, Wang Miaoyang, George F. Mclean et al ed. (Washington D.C.: The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, 1997), 43.


To be continued............  待續........

David Leung (theorydavid)

2011-02-08 (published)
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