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date: 21 October 2019

Pereira, Tomás [Sancho]locked

  • Joyce Lindorff



(b São Martinho do Vale, Barcelos, Nov 1, 1645; d Beijing, Dec 24, 1708). Portuguese organist, theorist and organ builder. He was a Jesuit missionary; his 36-year stay in China produced far-reaching cultural exchange. His accomplishment in music, mathematics and diplomacy led to his being invited to Beijing by Emperor Kangxi. He astounded the emperor with a demonstration of musical notation, repeating Chinese melodies flawlessly after one hearing. Kangxi's subsequent creation of an academy to study ancient Chinese music culminated in the four-volume Lulu Zhengyi (‘A True Doctrine of Music’). A fifth volume, on Western music theory, was begun by Pereira and completed by Teodorico Pedrini, his successor as court musician; the whole was published in Beijing in 1713.

Pereira built several organs in Beijing for the Catholic church and for the emperor, including one which played Chinese songs mechanically. He also wrote Chinese hymns, his only known compositions. At Kangxi's behest Pereira was instrumental in negotiating the ...

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