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Listening to ChinaSound and the Sino-Western Encounter, 1770-1839$
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Thomas Irvine

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226667126

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226667263.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 11 May 2021

Listening to China with Forkel and Marx

Listening to China with Forkel and Marx

Chapter:
(p.159) Six Listening to China with Forkel and Marx
Source:
Listening to China
Author(s):

Thomas Irvine

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226667263.003.0007

The first part of this chapter examines Forkel’s writings on China. The Göttingen academic figures today as a founding father of a specifically German construction of music history. The second part of this chapter engages with Marx’s survey of Chinese musical culture in Gustav Schilling’s Encyclopädie, which appeared more than sixty years later. Marx’s intervention represents a shift in Western attitudes toward Chinese music. He agreed with Forkel that Chinese music was inherently inferior, but he went further, denying the Chinese agency as protagonists of music history. In Hegelian tones he claimed that the World Spirit of music history, after finding its first legitimate home there, had abandoned China. This chapter asks: what are the specific conditions that informed the production of knowledge about Chinese music in Germany between 1770 and 1840? How do constructions of Chinese music history inflect German writers’ construction of their own national musical community? For whose benefit are such imaginary communities established? Finally, this chapter seeks to understand how “Germanness”—which both Forkel and Marx imagined in opposition to “Chineseness”—might be articulated as a particular practice of listening.

Keywords:   Forkel, Marx, Schilling, Chinese musical culture, World Spirit, national musical community, imagined communities, practices of listening

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