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Chinese Music


Admission requirements

This course is intended for students of sinology (third year), and students of musicology, anthropology, faculty of arts and the music conservatories (advanced year) from Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam, Leiden and The Hague.


What role does music play in contemporary Chinese society? What do Chinese musicians view as important in Chinese music? Why is Chinese music performed, and for whom?
While the focus is on the present, the past is a powerful element in today’s Chinese music, and topics will range from early Chinese music (antiquity and Tang period) to modern art music (including Chinese avant-garde and rock), and from rural folk music to some specific instrumental traditions and instruments (pipa, zheng, qin, mouth organ).

This serie of lectures on Chinese music is jointly organized by the Leiden Sinological Institute and the CHIME Foundation. The emphasis is on practice: a broad range of film and sound materials will be offered, and there will be interviews and live demonstrations with/by a number of Chinese musicians.

Course objectives

  • Provide practical knowledge about musical instruments and current performance traditions and contexts.


Second semester, two hours per week.
Location: CHIME Sound Archive, Gerecht 1, Leiden (close to the Museum for Antiquities on the Rapenburg). For time please check the time table of Chinese Studies.

Mode of instruction


If any foreign students will participate, the course will be taught in English, otherwise in Dutch.

Assessment method

  • Attendance and active participation (discussion and oral presentation) (33%)

  • Short exam (listening apprehension and terminology) (33%)

  • Paper (15-pages), subject is decided after consultation with the teacher (33%)

The grades for ‘Short exam’ and ‘Paper’ will only be included in the final grade if the student passes ‘Attendance and active participation’.



Reading list


Enroll on time for this course via uSis. Niet ingeschreven, betekent geen toestemming tot het volgen van dit college. Zie ook Aanmeldprocedures voor colleges en tentamens voor inschrijvingsdeadlines en meer informatie over in- en uitschrijven voor colleges.

Contact information

For further information about the content of this course, please contact the lecturers Frank Kouwenhoven or Antoinette Schimmelpenninck: phonenumber: 071-5133.974, e-mail, website .