The development of the modern zheng in Taiwan and Singapore
Modern zheng music is distinguished by the large-scale movement of people and rapid dissemination of music through electronic media within and across national boundaries. The impact of such globalising factors on the local music culture forms the theme of the thesis. The development of zheng music in Mainland China, Taiwan and Singapore is discussed. Rapid changes in instrument making, repertory, performance, teaching and transmission have taken place over the past fifty years. These changes are shown to be closely linked to the interaction between ethnicity and nationalism. Zheng music originated from the Chinese Mainland, and developed into many schools of repertory and styles. From 1949 to 1987, the ban on communication with the Mainland led to the development of a unique musical style in Taiwan. This ban cut Taiwan off from the rapid modernisation of zheng music on the Mainland under the direction of the Communist government. As a result, the new Mainland tradition was transmitted to Singapore and Malaysia first, and musicians from these countries were able to bring the new repertory to Taiwan. In Singapore, the development ofzheng music in the 1950s and 1960s was closely correlated with the popularity of Chinese schools and communism. After independence in 1965, communism was eradicated and schools converted to the medium of English. Zheng music declined for a number of years, but started to grow again soon after the Cultural Revolution on the Mainland ended. The need for ethnic identity in both Taiwan and Singapore provides motivation to maintain links with the Chinese Mainland and to continue the development of zheng music.