Yellow Music: Media Culture and Colonial Modernity in the Chinese Jazz Age

TitleYellow Music: Media Culture and Colonial Modernity in the Chinese Jazz Age
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsJones, Andrew F.
Number of Pages213
PublisherDuke University Press
CityDurham, NC

This volume is a history of the emergence of Chinese popular music and urban media culture in early-twentieth-century China. The author focuses on the affinities between "yellow” or “pornographic" music—as critics derisively referred to the "decadent" fusion of American jazz, Hollywood film music, and Chinese folk forms—and the anticolonial mass music that challenged its commercial and ideological dominance. The author revises previous understandings of race, politics, popular culture, and technology in the making of modern Chinese culture. The personal and professional histories of three musicians are central to the author's discussions of shifting gender roles, class inequality, the politics of national salvation, and emerging media technologies: the American jazz musician Buck Clayton; Li Jinhui, the creator of "yellow music"; and leftist Nie Er, a former student of Li’s whose musical idiom grew out of virulent opposition to this Sinified jazz.

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