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Sound from Antiquity: A Music Archaeological Study of Chime Stones in Ancient China (Ca. 2400 BCE - 8 CE)

Fang, Xueyang (2019) Sound from Antiquity: A Music Archaeological Study of Chime Stones in Ancient China (Ca. 2400 BCE - 8 CE). Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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This thesis focuses on researching the chime stone, a form of ancient stone-made percussion instrument that originated in ancient China. According to the taxonomy of the Ba Yin (eight tones) system, chime stones belong to the category of “stone”, and are a kind of percussive lithophone that can be categorised as an idiophone using the Hornbostel-Sachs system. Archaeologists and musicologists have begun in recent years to study the chime stone in past societies, but research has generally been limited to individual case studies or restricted to a particular historical period and geographical area, while systematic research remains scarce.

This thesis examines chime stone finds and distribution, their classification and typology, evolution of shape, manufacture, combinations, pitch measurement, tuning systems, acoustic properties, as well as their use and function, including performance, ensemble, and their social and political meaning in the ancient Chinese Li Yue (ritual and music) cultural context. The research covers chime stones ranging from the late Neolithic Age (ca. 2400 BCE), through the Qin dynasty (221-207 BCE), up to the Western Han dynasty (202 BCE-8 CE).

The methodologies in this thesis combine different approaches. Music archaeology is an interdisciplinary subject which involves various aspects of knowledge and technology. This thesis employs archaeo-organology, pitch measurement, acoustic experimentation, statistical and computational analysis. It comprises 11 Chapters and includes discussion of chime stones found in archaeological sites, as well as analysis of data from new field work carried out by the author in 2016. It establishes statistical relationships between the tuning systems of the stones, their dimensions and cultural context, and concludes that chime stones were a marker of cultural authority for the ruling classes.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS Asia
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Schools: School of Music, Humanities and Media
Depositing User: Andrew Strike
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2020 15:35
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2021 01:38


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