Shanghai China

Arrival: Shanghai, China

Map of China

Shanghai, located in Eastern China, is the most heavily populated city in all of China.

  • Music has existed in China for centuries, but music researchers, known as ethnomusicologists, weren’t able to study China’s music because of wars and political unrest.
  • Music in China is primarily vocal, but because of the language barrier Western record companies have focused on instrumental music instead which has skewed popular perceptions.
  • Each region of China has a slightly different type of music, yet all of the instruments are classified by eight types of materials: wood, bamboo, metal, stone, clay, skin, silk, and gourd.

Music of Shanghai: Jiangnan Sizhu (Silk and Bamboo)


  • Jiangnan Sizhu is mandarin, the national language of China, and means Silk and Bamboo. As we discussed earlier, music in China is categorized by materials, so all the instruments in this type of music are made of silk and bamboo.
  • Silk and Bamboo is played as an ensemble, or in a group, and is played during social settings such as a teahouse.
  • Silk and Bamboo music has a clear tune, strong phrases, and repetition of musical ideas. Did you hear this in the video? If not, try listening again.

Silk and Bamboo Instruments

Source: Music: A Global Journey, Miller and Shahriari