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Meredith Oyen

Cantopop, Cantonese-language popular music, and Mandopop, Mandarin-language popular music, are the products of encounters and exchanges between Chinese, Japanese, and American music traditions. Both can be heard in Chinese communities and businesses in the United States today.

Mandopop dates back to the 1920s in the dance halls of jazz-age Shanghai. After the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the industry moved to Hong Kong, but by the 1960s, the growth of the Mandarin language movement in Taiwan helped Taipei become the new capital of Mandopop. The American military presence in Taiwan in the 1950s and 60s introduced new genres of American popular music to local artists, including rock and R&B.

While Mandopop moved to Taipei, Cantopop emerged in Hong Kong in the 1970s as a localized response to popular American, Japanese, and Mandarin-language music. As the date for the British handover of the colony to China neared, increasing numbers of Hong Kong residents immigrated to Canada and the United States, bringing along their musical practices and tastes. The growth of the Hong Kong film industry and the internationalization of its audience also contributed to the spread of both Mandopop and Cantopop to North America and around the world....


Nancy Yunwha Rao

[Cathay Music Society]

Sponsored by the Chinese Six Companies Association, it was formed in 1911 by 13 Chinese teenagers in San Francisco and was the first Chinese Western-style marching band in America. Later its members created the Cathay Club, or Cathay Music Society, which fostered multiple bands and social activities, including a small Chinese instrument ensemble. Bookings ranged from the Orpheum Circuit, which involved tours to the Midwest and South under such names as the Chinese Military Band and the Chinese Jazz Band, to various world fairs, including the Panama Pacific International Exposition (1915). The Cathay Club also provided music at holiday parades and funeral processions for generations of San Franciscans, a tradition absent in other American Chinatowns. It grew to 30 members in the 1930s and around 100 at its peak, when it included a senior band, a junior band, a glee club, and two dance bands. The Cathayans Orchestra and Chinatown Knights, formed by Cathay Club members in the 1920s and 30s, were the first all-Chinese dance bands in the United States, performing big band music through the 1950s. In ...


[colotomy](from Gk. kōlon: ‘section’, ‘limb’)

A term adopted by the ethnomusicologist Jaap Kunst in his work on the gamelan music of Java and Bali, to describe the phrase structure of the gendhing (‘piece’). Each major section of a gendhing begins and ends on a gong beat and is further subdivided into subsections and phrases by several other single-note instruments of the gong type; their function is to mark the skeletal melody (adapted and played by the metallophones in unison) at regular metric periods. Over a dozen different colotomic structures are in regular use, each with its own name such as ...



Noriko Manabe

A form of popular music that has been dominant in Japan and features catchy melodies with Japanese lyrics sung over Western-pop accompaniments. The term was coined by foreign-owned record chains such as Tower Records in the 1980s and was picked up in 1988 by the radio station J-Wave; it came into general parlance in the 1990s. The genre was partly the product of the mainstreaming of rock and the blending of that style with kayōkyoku (Japanese-language pop music in Western style). Musical tracks may draw from a number of styles, including pop, rock, R&B, hip-hop, and Okinawan music, and “world music” catchy melodies that can be used as hooks for jingles or sung in a karaoke bar are highly prized. Notable artists include the female pop idols Ayumi Hamasaki, Utada Hikaru, and Koda Kumi; boy bands, such as SMAP and Arashi, from the artist management company Johnny’s; and rock bands such as the B’z....


Michael Pirker

[Turkish music] (from Turkish yeni çeri: ‘new troop’; Ger. Janitscharen Musik, türkische Musik; It. banda turca)

The Turkish ensemble of wind and percussion instruments known in the Ottoman Empire as mehter, introduced into Europe in the 17th century and later imitated there using Western instruments.

The janissaries, the élite troops of the Ottoman Empire, were initially Christian captives recruited to form a new army after their conversion to Islam. The bands of the janissaries were called mehter, a term used also for some Ottoman state officials and thus taken to mean not just the bands but the individual musicians as well. The music of the mehter (mehter musikisi) was not written down, and consequently most information about it concerns the instruments on which it was played. However, the information given in the secondary literature about the instrumental make-up of the mehter has been contradictory and unsupported by adequate proof.

There is no definite evidence that what became known as janissary music began with the founding of the janissaries in ...


William Tallotte

An instrumental genre specific to the periya mēḷam repertoire, performed in south Indian (Tamil) Brahmanical temples. In performance practice, a mallāri consists of three parts: the alārippu (‘opening’), a short rhythmic improvisation played on the drum (tavil) and based on a quintuple subdivision of the beat (khaṇḍa gati); the rāgam (or ālāpana, ‘discourse’), a modal improvisation in free rhythm, performed by the leading shawm (nāgasvaram) player; and the mallāri itself, a pre-composed melodic-rhythmic theme developed by the whole orchestra according to a principle of rhythmic augmentation and diminution called trikāla (‘three speeds’). While a mallāri, by convention, must be played in Gambhīra-nāṭa, a melodic mode (rāga) based on the pentatonic scale C–E–F–G–B, it can be rendered in any metric cycle (tāla), thus allowing musicians to explore unusual combinations and demonstrate their skill in the rhythmic domain.

Most mallāris are performed at the beginning of deities’ processions and named after the ...


Jack Sage

revised by Susana Friedmann

[Muwassah] (Arab.: ‘ornamented’)

A strophic song with refrain ( see Syria, §2, (ii), (a); Lebanon; Arab music §II 4., (ii) , with music example). The word goes back to the 12th century at least, being found in the treatise of Ibn Bassām (d 1147). The form originated at Cabra, near Córdoba, in the 9th century; it enjoyed a vogue in Muslim Spain in the 11th century, and spread subsequently throughout the Arab world, where it survives in oral tradition. The mūwashshaḥ may be accompanied by the samah dance.

See Zajal .

L.I. al-Faruqi: ‘Muwashshah: a Vocal Form in Islamic Culture’, EthM , 19 (1975), 1–29 E. Gerson-Kiwi: ‘Musical Settings of the Andalusian Muwashshaḥ Poetry in Oral Tradition’, Festschrift Kurt Blaukopf, ed. I. Bontinck and O. Brusatti (Vienna, 1975), 33–47 T. Rosen-Moked: The Hebrew Girdle Poem (Muwassah) in the Middle Ages (Haifa, 1985) A. Jones and R. Hitchcock, eds.: Studies on the Muwassah and the Kharja...



Michael Tilmouth

[pantum] (Fr., from Malayan pantun)

A Malayan verse form consisting of four-line stanzas from each of which the second and fourth lines are repeated to form the first and third of the next; the last line of the final stanza repeats the opening line of the poem. The scheme was made known in France by Ernest Fouinet and adopted by Victor Hugo in his ...



William Tallotte

[rakti](Skt.: ‘pleasingness, charm’)

An instrumental and improvisatory South Indian genre. It developed in the Brahmanical temples of the Kaveri Delta among famous lineages of nāgasvaram players. According to musicians and local specialists, the rakti gained its letters of nobility in the first half of the 20th century under the auspices of two traditions, that of Sembannarkoyil, with Sembannarkoyil Ramasvami Pillai (1880–1923) and his two sons Govindasvami (1897–1955) and Dakshinamurti (1904–76), and that of Chidambaram, with Chidambaram Vaidyanatha Pillai (1884–1937) and his first disciple Chidambaram Radhakrishna Pillai (1906–93). Due to its potential for rhythmic challenge and modal improvisation, the rakti was at the heart of lively and sustained instrumental jousting during temple festival processions. However, due to a lack of patronage and the tendency of most renowned artists to neglect the temple in favour of other contexts, it gradually fell into disuse in the 1980s.

Like the pallavi, the rakti is based on a theme and variation structure. The theme consists of a melodic-rhythmic sequence built around a six-syllable formula (...