Recent technology and the hybridisation of Western and Chinese musics

Christopher J KEYES*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Although the hybridisation of Western and Chinese musics has been progressing for over a century, many early attempts tended to treat Chinese material in a rather superficial manner. This resulted in mere ‘Orientalist’ Western pieces and rather bland pentatonic/romantic ‘Chinese’ music that simply harmonised the basic outline of popular Chinese melodies with Western chord progressions. The use of recent technologies has greatly accelerated the pace and depth of this hybridisation and solved many of its artistic problems. Technological advances now make it possible and practical to incorporate the subtle but essential elements of traditional Chinese music, and of course other world musics, in works that seem satisfying for Western and non-Western audiences. This paper presents a brief historical overview of the hybridisation of Western and Chinese musical traditions, examines common pitfalls of many early attempts, and reviews how these issues are addressed compositionally and technically in the author’s recent electroacoustic pieces, Li Jiang Etudes No. 1,2 & 3.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-56
Number of pages6
JournalOrganised Sound
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2005

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Music
  • Computer Science Applications


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