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Lipsey, Eleanor Laura (2018) Music motifs in Six Dynasties texts. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This is a study of the music culture of the Six Dynasties era (220–589 CE), as represented in certain texts of the period, to uncover clues to the music culture that can be found in textual references to music. This study diverges from most scholarship on Six Dynasties music culture in four major ways. The first concerns the type of text examined: since the standard histories have been extensively researched, I work with other types of literature. The second is the casual and indirect nature of the references to music that I analyze: particularly when the focus of research is on ideas, most scholarship is directed at formal essays that explicitly address questions about the nature of music. My approach, in contrast, is to look at stories about behavior or casual remarks made in passing that are more indirect indications of ideas about music. The third difference is the nature of the theory applied: while much of the scholarship focuses on how to put our knowledge of Six Dynasties music practices and ideas into historical and cultural perspective, I apply theory from a number of disciplines to try to add some perspective from other regions and eras. The final point of methodological divergence builds on this theory to suggest perspectives that expand beyond an existing emphasis by scholars on the development of aesthetics; this study shows that the texts indicate a richer view of music than is implied by a narrow focus on aesthetics. Most of the material underlying the analysis in this study comes from Shishuo xinyu, Yanshi jiaxun, and Jinlouzi. These texts were produced roughly within the two-hundred-year period from the late fourth century to the late sixth century CE, subsequent to the fall of the Western Jin dynasty, and within the latter half of the Six Dynasties period.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Bernhard Fuehrer
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2020 09:21

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