Music heritage is a malleable and broad term. In my opinion, it can refer to an aspect of the culture and art, which is also our legacy from the past through the years. It also presents what the previous generation have left, what we have today, and what we pass on to future generations. It is just like another intangible asset of the world, which is part of the history among varieties of tribes in different countries. Everywhere has a history and everywhere has a music heritage.
Taiwan(officially name R.O.C), where my hometown is, has a diversity of ethnic groups populated here. Therefore, the music heritage of Taiwan reflects the diverse culture of Taiwanese which includes the music of Hakkas, Hokkien, aboriginal Taiwanese, mainland Chinese. As the country rich in Chinese folk culture and many indigenous tribes with our own distinct artistic identity, various styles of folk music are appreciated in Taiwan. Many of the cultural traditions in music which Taiwan has preserved are related to ancient Chinese music. For example, it includes the performances of “yayue”(雅樂) or ancient Chinese court music, some were even 3,000 years old. It died out in China, but was painstakingly researched and revived by Taiwanese. In addition, Taiwanese puppetry (hand-puppet theatre) and Taiwanese opera, two genres of spectacle that are strongly related to music, are very popular, while the latter is often considered the only truly indigenous Han form of music still extant today. The government also invest multiple genres of instrumental music includes Beiguan(北管)and Nanguan(南管). Nanguan originally hails from Quanzhou Province in China, while it is now most common in Lukang, the township on the west coast of Taiwan, and is found across much of the island. pic1.Nanguan Music players
On the other hand, Taiwan used to regarded as an important Mandopop hub. For instance, Asian superstar Teresa Teng originated from Taiwan in the 1970s and 80s was loved by people in the Chinese-speaking regions. Because of her fame and popularity, a foundation was established in Taipei, Taiwan to commemorate her after she passed away. As to young pop idols in recent years, celebrities like Show Luo, Jay-Chou, A-Mei and Jolin Tsai, A-Lin, etc., have become the most famous and popular singers of Mandopop. For the music band, Mayday, Seraphim, and Chthonic etc., are said to have pioneered rock and metal music in Taiwan for the generation of youth. Taiwan’s pop culture is already one of its biggest exports to the mainland and expatriate Chinese communities. Those I mentioned above are seen as precious music heritage in Taiwan.
Pic2.Famous Taiwanese singers Jay-Chou and A-Mei.
I think why Taiwanese popular music artists become so popular is because of the free atmosphere and abundant music heritage which have provided Taiwanese artists the environment to make creative and experimental music production. However, the problem of piracy and the development of digital technology have impacted the original music industrial mechanism and the market directly lead to shrinking rapidly. On the other hand, the rise of the market in mainland China and huge market opportunities have attracted many Taiwanese music professionals to invest in mainland China. To overcome the depressing situation, our government made some policies and plan to help solve this problem, including establishing the Bureau of Audiovisual and Music Industry Development (BAMID) in 2012 for the purpose of supervising and promoting film, broadcasting, television and popular music of Taiwan.
In week two blog, we are asked to think about the strategies to promote the music of our hometown. My plan includes three parts: First, making a project of international music festival featured in Taiwan’s popular singers, local indie artists and music bands to the BAMID. Except for the domestic music artists, outstanding groups from abroad are also invited to the festival, allowing locals to experience music from other countries. Second, integrating the tourism industry, venue companies, curatorial organizations of music festival. Lastly, holding the lecture workshop, and conferences during the music festival, inviting the specialists in the music industries to discuss the different aspects topics of music condition in Taiwan, no matter in the traditional one such as Beiguan and Nanguan, or the popular music, or even the crossover music.
To conclude, even Taiwan is a small country but there are so many abundant resources in music. For me, holding the international music festivals and activities, then having the Taiwanese musicians and artistic appearing on stage, or providing them to participate in international important music award is the best way to promote Taiwan’s heritage.