Is Xiao Youmei a Criminal of Westernization of Chinese Music?
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Some Chinese scholars always criticized the situation of 20th-century Chinese music education when criticizing post-colonial Chinese music education. Some of the arguments made by several music educators and musicians of that time were also one of the targets of criticism. Due to Xiao Youmei’s view that "Chinese music lags behind Western music by a thousand years," as well as his role as the founder of China's first professional music academy, his name has repeatedly appeared in the post-colonial criticism of Chinese music education by Chinese scholars. Those scholars believe that the implantation of the western music education system results in the adherent character of the music education and value standards in some developing countries and makes them affiliate to the West in the concept and form of music development, propelling the dissemination of "Western Music-centrism Theory" in the field of Chinese music education. The western music theory is currently the authoritative mainstream in Chinese music education and culture, impeding the development and spread of traditional Chinese music theory. That also leads to the lack of voice of traditional Chinese music. However, it is unfair to blame a historical figure more than 100 years ago for the over-westernization of Chinese music education, even though he directly applied the western music education system to China. This essay discusses some of Xiao Youmei’s musical thoughts and the criticisms some scholars have made about him based on related historical, political, and humanistic backgrounds, and re-evaluates his contribution and blunder from the perspective of post-colonialism.