Performing Hybridity: On the construction of cultural difference in Tan Dun’s Marco Polo (1996) and The First Emperor (2006)
MetadataShow full item record
Issues about cultural encounter and interchange in Tan Dun’s music have been examined by different theoretical frameworks, with a focus on issues of orientalism and exoticism. These theories can interpret the music from cultural and political aspects, by narrating a relationship between dominant culture and others. However, this narrative may lack a concern for cross-cultural interaction and negotiations, especially from the perspective of China. In this paper, I choose to position Tan Dun and his music in the discourse of cultural hybridization. It offers a discursive approach to analyze Tan Dun’s music since it makes us aware of the dynamic cultural fusion in a transcultural vision. This paper explores the following main research question: in which ways give an exploration of (the reception of) Tan Dun’s music insight into processes of cultural hybridization and construction of difference? Through musical analysis, this study discusses how Tan deliberately composed music by fusing or integrating different musical materials and cultures. Furthermore, to explore the issues of Tan and his music in the varied cultural sphere, this thesis closely reviews the responses from both the American and Chinese publications and the social press on his works. In conclusion, in Tan Dun’s case, hybridity not only exists in the synthesis of musical materials but also is performed by Tan himself and different reception of China and the United States.