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Chinese Music
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First published in 1884 by the Statistical Department of the Inspectorate General of Customs in Shanghai, this work is probably best known as a source of musical material for Puccini's opera Turandot. It was reprinted several times and remained the primary source in a Western language of detailed information on Chinese music until the mid-twentieth century. Van Aalst, born in Belgium in 1858, spent his working life with the Imperial Maritime Customs Service where his ability as a musician was noticed by the Inspector General, Robert Hart. It is thought likely that the work was published to coincide with the London Health Exhibition of 1884 in South Kensington to which Van Aalst had been sent to lecture. Different types of music (ritual and popular), the range of instruments, and musical notation are all explained, the intention being to enable a better understanding of Chinese music by those in the West.
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Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. On ancient music; 2. On Chinese music; 3. Chinese system of notation; 4. Ritual music; 5. Popular music; 6. Description of instruments.

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