Quiz Questions

Chapter Thirteen

1. Music has been regarded as an important component of political life in China

a. since the beginning of the Cultural Revolution
b. since the beginning of the communist era
c. since the late 19th century
d. for more than 3000 years

2. The zheng is best described as

a. a pear-shaped, plucked chordophone
b. a board zither chordophone
c. a two-string fiddle
d. an end-blown bamboo flute

3. The koto is

a. a board zither chordophone that was first brought to China from Japan during the Meiji Restoration period
b. an instrument that is used in all forms of gagaku music
c. an instrument that is used in only some forms of gagaku music
d. a Japanese chordophone that looks very much like a banjo

4. The koto is a traditional instrument

a. that is always played in ensembles, never solo
b. but is nonetheless sometimes used in contemporary Japanese popular music
c. that is today mainly identified with the musical culture of Chinese conservatories
d. all of the above

5. The earliest forms of the zheng are believed to date from the

a. Qin dynasty (3rd century BCE)
b. Han dynasty (202 BCE – 220 BCE)
c. Tang dynasty (618-907)
d. Ming dynasty (1368-1644)

6. Gua-zou, or glissando, is an important technique on the zheng and is best described as

a. a quick back-and-forth thumb motion.
b. a “four-point fingering” technique.
c. rapid ascending or descending sweeps across the strings
d. simultaneously plucking two strings that are an octave apart

7. The ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius

a. played the zheng
b. claimed that music could be used in aid of establishing a good and moral society
c. believed that music should not be played by “superior individuals”
d. A and C, but not B

8. The zheng was played in ensembles and became an important “women’s instrument” during the ________ dynasty. The emperor Xuanzong was an important figure in this development.

a. Han
b. Tang
c. Ming
d. Qing

9. During the Ming dynasty, the zheng

a. became a standard item to have in the home
b. was used to accompany regional forms of Chinese opera
c. was not allowed to be played by women
d. A and B, but not C

10. Which of the following is NOT characteristic of Beijing Opera in the traditional style?

a. Combining speech, song, dance, acting, and acrobatics
b. Highly stylized (not realistic) stage action
c. Minimal use of stage props
d. socialist propaganda themes

11. During the communist era, Beijing opera

a. was completely banned
b. was revised to serve as a vehicle of state propaganda
c. reverted back to its traditional style
d. A and C, but not B

12. Each regional style of zheng music has its own regional character, or

a. yun
b. ban
c. yijing
d. gua-zou

13. During the Republican era of Chinese history (1912-1949),

a. Chinese traditional music was looked down upon as inferior to Western music
b. Western music was prized as a new symbol of Chinese modernity and progress
c. Chinese traditional music was modernized through the incorporation of Western elements
d. all of the above

14. During the Republican era, Liu Tianhua argued that traditional Chinese music should

a. return to its folk roots and ancient styles
b. be modernized with Western elements
c. be used for socialist propaganda
d. be discarded

15. Lou Shuhua’s “Return of the Fishing Boats” differed from earlier solo zheng pieces  because it

a. broke away from the baban form
b. moved away from reliance on stylistic influences from the Western piano and harp repertoires
c. avoided explicit programmaticism
d. all of the above

16. After 1949, Mao Zedong’s communist agenda for music called for

a. the elimination of folk music
b. collection of and research on folk and minority musical traditions
c. the liberation of music and the arts from use for political purposes
d. A and C, but not B

17. The influence of “pianistic” style in zheng music led to

a. a greater reliance on the baban form
b. the development of more technically demanding pieces
c. the invention of new types of zheng instruments with fewer strings
d. a musical culture in which almost all of the leading zheng players were men

18. During the years of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976),

a. the oppression of “ethnic minorities” such as the Uighurs and Tibetans escalated
b. Beijing Opera flourished and hundreds of innovative new operas were composed and performed
c. ancient Chinese musical and artistic forms of the dynastic era were especially prized
d. musicians were given complete artistic freedom and encouraged to “liberate Chinese culture”

19. The Chinese musician Cui Jian is famous for

a. applying piano techniques to the zheng
b. being the first major Chinese rock star
c. his legendary performances during the Tiananmen Square uprisings of 1989
d. B and C, but not A

20. Tibetan Buddhist chant (gyü-ke) features

a. songs of protest against the Chinese government
b. songs of praise for the communist party
c. manipulation of the voice to produce multiple tones (multiphonics)
d. standard zheng tunings

21. The communist government’s policy for the arts after 1979

a. resulted in more creative freedom for musicians and composers
b. frowned on Chinese composers influenced by contemporary Western music
c. led to an increase in government support of music conservatories
d. was more repressive than it had been during the Cultural Revolution period

22. “Ethnic minorities” in China such as Uighurs and Tibetans

a. are as a rule very appreciative of conservatory-style Chinese compositions that are based on their traditional musical forms and styles
b. are often critical of the appropriation of their music and other forms of cultural expression by agents of mainstream Chinese culture
c. have increasingly come to dominate the conservatories as the leading performers on Chinese instruments like the zheng and the pipa
d. A and C, but not B

23. A Uighur muqam

a. is identical to an Arab maqam and is subject to the same rules of modal improvisation
b. is often performed using instruments such as the rawap and the dap
c. is a large-scale, precomposed suite of songs and instrumental music
d. B and C, but not A

24. In “Music for the Muqam,” Uighur musical influences are evident in

a. the nontraditional tuning of the zheng
b. the rhythmic patterns of the dap drum part
c. the use of certain types of melodic ornaments that are unconventional for the zheng but are idiomatic for Uighur music
d. all of the above

25. “Hot Thursday,” by Bei Bei He and Shawn Lee,

a. was recorded during a live performance at a concert in Hong Kong
b. is based on the standard baban form of traditional zheng pieces
c. features improvisations on the zheng within a musical context that also includes elements of jazz, rock, and funk
d. features Yo-Yo Ma as the cello soloist accompanied by an ensemble including traditional Chinese instruments such as the erhu and the pipa


1. Which of the following Japanese examples does NOT feature the koto?

a. “Manzairaku” (disk 1, track 3)
b. “Daha” (disk 1, track 14)
c. “Tori no Yo ni” (disk 2, track 1)
d. “Sakitama” (disk 4, track 24)

Answer: b

2. Listen to disk 4, track 29, “Spring on Snowy Mountains,” then indicate the best answer for each of the following questions.

The zheng features

a. tremolos
b. arpeggios
c. chordal accompaniment
d. all of the above

Answer: a

3. Modern Western influence is heard in this piece mainly in the presence of

a. textures featuring melody in the right-hand melody part and arpeggiated chords in the left-hand accompanying part
b. its basis in the Western-derived baban form
c. the bending of certain pitches upward by pressing into the strings
d. all of the above

Answer: a

4. Listen to disk 4, track 33, “Music from the Muqam,” then indicate the best answer for each of the following questions.

The opening section is in

a. free rhythm
b. duple meter
c. triple meter
d. a metric cycle of seven beats

Answer: b

5. The final portion of the excerpt (i.e., from 2:05-end) includes all of the following EXCEPT

a. close rhythmic synchrony between the zheng and dap (drum. parts
b. changes in the instrumentation
c. virtuosic zheng playing
d. acceleration of tempo

Answer: b


1. Compile a brief portrait of the zheng in imperial China by drawing from historical, archaeological and literary references.

2. Compare the Republican and initial Communist eras of conservatory-based solo zheng traditions in mainland China. How did the roles of conservatories change, and what happened to the status of the zheng?

3. Describe the Uighurs and their historical significance in China. Explain how the tradition of the Dolan Muqam was transformed by non-Uighur composers (disk 4, track 33) and assess the implications of this for multicultural China.