Chinese Popular Musics in Dialogue

A man on stage playing the electric guitar in a concert.

Students study the aesthetic, cultural, and political dimensions of Chinese-language popular music in this course. (Concert of Taiwanese metal band ChthoniC; Image courtesy of I-Ta Tsai on Flickr.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Spring 2014



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the major popular music cultures of the Chinese-speaking world. We will consider a wide variety of genres, from Shanghainese shidaiqu to Cantopop to Taiwanese rap, with the goal of listening beyond the notion of a monolithic "Chinese popular music" to something more dynamic, multivocal, and translocal. We will ask: What, if anything, is so "Chinese" about Chinese popular music? How does popular music participate in the formation of identities for artists and audiences in these areas? How does it enable the articulation of diverging social and political values while also facilitating meaningful connections among disparate communities? We will approach these questions through a diverse array of source materials, including sound recordings, music videos, films, and online multimedia.

Related Content

Meredith Schweig. 21M.S53 Chinese Popular Musics in Dialogue. Spring 2014. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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