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Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 131, 2004 Lectures$
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P. J. Marshall

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780197263518

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197263518.001.0001

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The Prehistory of Chinese Music Theory

The Prehistory of Chinese Music Theory

Elsley Zeitlyn Lecture On Chinese Archaeology and Culture

(p.40) (p.41) The Prehistory of Chinese Music Theory
Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 131, 2004 Lectures

Robert Bagley

British Academy

This lecture discusses the prehistory of Chinese music theory. The earliest texts about the music theory in China are the inscriptions of the musical instruments found inside the tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng. The lecture describes these inscriptions and tries to identify what sort of musical development lies behind them. It determines that bells were the main influence on Chinese music theory. Bells introduced Chinese theorists to the chromatic scale and made absolute pitch important.

Keywords:   prehistory, Chinese music theory, earliest texts, inscriptions, Marquis Yi of Zeng, musical development, bells, chromatic scale, absolute pitch

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