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Ye Dong locked

  • Su Zheng

(b Shanghai, July 21, 1930; d Shanghai, July 12, 1989). Chinese musicologist . He studied composition and music theory at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music under Ding Shande, Deng Erjing and Sang Tong; after graduating he joined the faculty there in 1956. He became vice-chair of the Department of Chinese Composition, and director of the Chinese Music Research programme in the conservatory’s Music Research Institute. His 1983 book on Chinese instrumental music was one of the earliest and most comprehensive textbooks on the subject.

In 1964 Ye had become interested in the 10th-century ce musical notation from Dunhuang. But his work was soon interrupted by the Cultural Revolution, which took a grave toll on his health. He was only able to resume work early in the 1980s on this and other material relating to Tang dynasty music. This research, along with that of scholars such as He Changlin, Chen Yingshi and Xi Zhenguan, as well as that of Laurence Picken, gave a high profile to the study and recreation of early Chinese music. The publication of Ye’s transnotations was a major event in the Chinese musical life of the 1980s. Discussing important issues such as metre, musical syntax, performing practice, and lyric settings, his work sparked off an unprecedented interest in early notation and music, leading to lively debates. Apart from its scholarly value, his work has also inspired composition, dance and film music.


  • ‘Dunhuang qupu yanjiu’ [Study of the Dunhuang musical notation], Yinyue yishu (1982), no.1, pp.1–13
  • ‘Dunhuang Tangren qupu yipu’ [Transnotation of the Tang musical notation from Dunhuang], Yinyue yishu (1982), no.2, pp.1–5
  • Minzu qiyue de ticai yu xingshi [The form and structure of Chinese instrumental music] (Shanghai, 1983)
  • ‘Dunhuang bihua zhongde wuxian pipa jiqi Tangyue’ [The five-string pipa and Tang music in the Dunhuang frescoes], Yinyue yishu (1984), no.1, pp.24–41
  • ‘Tangchuan wuxian pipapu yipu’ [Transnotation of the five-string pipa notation transmitted from the Tang], Yinyue yishu (1984), no.2, pp.1–11
  • Dunhuang pipa qupu [The Dunhuang pipa notation] (Shanghai, 1986)
  • ‘Tangchuan zhengqu yu Tang shengshiqu jieyi: jianlun Tangyue zhongde de jiezou jiepai’ [Interpretation of zheng and vocal music transmitted from the Tang: rhythm and metre in Tang music], Yinyue yishu (1986), no.3, pp.1–17
  • ‘Dunhuang quzici de yinyue chutan’ [Study of the music of quzici from Dunhuang], Zhonghua wenshi luncong (1987), no.2, pp.177–202
  • ‘Tangchuan shisanxian zhengqu ershiba shou’ [28 pieces for 13-string zheng transmitted from the Tang], Jiaoxiang (1987), no.2, pp.20–30; no.3, pp.18–30
  • ‘Tang daqu qushi jiegou’ [Form and structure of the Tang daqu], Zhongguo yinyuexue (1989), no.3, pp.43–64


  • Tansuo zhi ge: Jinian yinyuexuejia Ye Dong jiaoshou [Song of an explorer: in memory of the musicologist Professor Ye Dong] (Shanghai, 1991)