Silk and Bamboo is a "book" I use with my college courses that investigates Chinese musical traditions.
It was developed over a series of years as there were then, in the late 1990's, very few useful introductory resources on the topic in English appropriate for college students.
Even today, I find most of the newly published English-language books from China too brief, and the scholarly ones published in the West too "ethnomusicological," priviledging the voice and the approach of the modern scholar over that of indiginous voices. I seek here something more "Chinese" in approaching the subject through historical and literary lenses.
Chapters 1-3 are introductory, focusing on archeology and philosophy, quoting important texts on different perceptions of music in ancient China.
Chapter 4 is a brief journey through 2000 years of Chinese musical development from the Han Dynasty to the present day.
Chapters 5-7 are the heart of the book, using poems and excerpts from novels and short stories that reveal the lives, thoughts and creative processes of Chinese musicians.
Chapters 8 and 9 are more technical, introducing basic ideas of Chinese musical theories and a range of Chinese musical instruments.
Chapter 10 presents analyses of four representative pieces of music from the Guqin, Guzheng, Erhu and Beijing Opera repertoires.