Intercultural Communication

Course Website for Tunghai FLLD Seminar

Wikipedia project: Music of Taiwan

Posted by lucyhuang on November 28, 2006

Since music is an important living necessity for me and background of local music is common sense that we need to have. Consequently, I decide to choose the article “Music of Taiwan” as my topic.

There are four parts in this article, including Hoklo (or Holo), Hakka, aboriginal music, and pop& rock. “Taiwan is densely-populated and culturally diverse, including a majority of Han Chinese.” As a result, most features of music in Taiwan are transcended by Han Chinese. At the beginning, we know that main groups in Taiwan are Holo, Hakka and aboriginals. Instrumental music (like beiguan and nanguan), Taiwanese puppetry, Taiwanese opera and Holo folk music are music genres that the Holo brought to Taiwan. And “mountain songs” is the most distinctive form of Hakka. It might relate to their living style. In the aboriginal part, although aboriginals are just minority compared to Holo and Hakka, it has more significant place because of its special and delicate creativity in music. As to the pop & rock part, it mentions, “Until the 1987 lifting of martial law, Taiwanese pop fell into two distinct categories.” That is, Taiwanese pop and Mandarin pop. I think the time stands for when music industry has been set free. As time goes by, more and more different kinds of pop music emerge. And present music culture in Taiwan is various and changeable.

For those who use Wikipedia to realize music of Taiwan, my suggestion is that they could pay more attention to Aboriginal music. Recently, aboriginal culture has been promoted and emphasized more and more. This article does mention several successful examples. However, plenty of aboriginal singers have brought much more influences on pop music than those mentioned in the article. Some of those singers insist to sing and compose only aboriginal songs instead of following the pop music trend, like Hon-yen Wang (王宏恩); some sing pop music with aboriginal elements or styles, like A-mei (張惠妹); some go into the pop music field even without being known as aboriginals, like Vivian Hsu (徐若瑄). Each kind of these aboriginal singers influences Taiwan pop music. Since pop music is the mainstream now in Taiwan, I think it’s important to observe the phenomena how aboriginal has to do with pop music.

On the other hand, there is a confusing part for me– the Roman phonetic transcription, especially those music instruments and genres. It might also confuse people who use Wikipedia to know more about music of Taiwan. My suggestion is that the transcribed words of specific music terms should be all added with clear interpretation altogether but not just some of them.

Overall, I did gain general impression of early development from the article, especially Holo and Hakka parts which I was not very familiar with. That helps me realize where those traditional music forms appear. Besides, the article doesn’t change a lot through history. Most of the changes are mainly about the unspecific terms used.

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