Ritual and Music of North China: Shawm Bands in Shanxi by Stephen Jones, Keith Howard, 9780754661634
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'... the fascinating DVD accompanying Stephen Jones's book makes the strongest possible case for taking this chosen corner of Chinese folk music seriously... Jones vividly shows [how] shawm-band ceremonies represent a priceless strand of continuity from imperial times.' Michael Church, BBC Music Magazine (4 star rating) '... an entertaining and interesting read... the real star of the book is the accompanying DVD, which is very nicely produced, and speaks volumes for the people and events narrated in the book.' Thomas David DuBois, The China Journal 'Although there's a lot of technical information about repertoire and scales, the text is readable and not weighed down by references, unlike so many academic books. It comes with a DVD that really brings the music and events to life - following the rituals at a funeral, a temple fair and talking us through one of the eight suites as performed by the Hua band. It led me back to the wild energy of their excellent CD Walking Shrill (Pan).' Simon Broughton, Songlines '... an exemplary [...] step along the road to integration of text and audio-visual documentation... Jones has once again made a major contribution to the Western-language literature on Chinese folk music and its embeddedness in the ritual life of villages and small towns.' Helen Rees, China Quarterly '... an important contribution to Chinese music studies. I recommend this book to those who are interested in music of the Northern Chinese Han people, to graduate and undergraduate students in anthropology and ethnomusicology, and to scholars in related fields... the packaged DVD that provides visual and audio assistance is a great asset of the publication.' Journal of Folklore Research '... in a style accessible to all readers of English...[Jones'] writings provide an intimate view into the lives of these musicians and into the social, economic and religious structures of the villages in which they work... [also] fascinating descriptions of traditional Chinese rituals, such as funerals, temple meetings and weddings.' Helium.com (Recommended books on Chinese traditions) '... extremely interesting and useful to cultural anthropologists and ethnomusicologists... The accompanying DVD is invaluable for conveying the feeling of the countryside, the people, their lives, and the ambiance of the rituals and music.' China Review International
About the author
Dr Stephen Jones has carried out fieldwork on local traditions of Chinese music since 1986. He is author of Folk Music of China: Living Instrumental Traditions (1995/1998) and Plucking the Winds: Lives of Village Musicians in Old and New China (2004). A Research Associate in the Department of Music at SOAS, University of London, Stephen Jones is also a violinist in London early music ensembles.
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