Singing is supposed to be universally appreciated in similar ways by European musicians and music lovers, but when Europeans are exposed to the so-called ‘Beijing opera’, or ‘classical’, or folk songs in China, they must realize how much the meaning of the words ‘opera’ and ‘song’ differs from the same used in the European-American cultures.

However, Beijing opera is only one of lots of Chinese opera styles, just as there are, undoubtedly, various operatic and song/lied styles in European classical music. Enjoyment of the music of another culture does not only depend on one’s cultural background, it also depends on personal aesthetic preferences, but depending on both, there may be huge challenges to the musician who would like to cross the cultural borders and make a living by studying and performing music not native to her/him for a career.

Such a situation is equally challenging for teachers who take up the job of teaching such ‘transgressing’ singers. Such teachers should be aware of most of the differences and difficulties, but also of similarities that exist for singers coming from a drastically different cultural background, and then should be able to successfully help their students solve their problems.

The host of challenges mostly come up in areas of the use of the singing instrument, or parts of it, in the area of the languages involved in singing, and often in the differences of the teaching cultures of the respective peoples. Where there are differences and where similarities is discussed further, based on our research, on the literature about teaching singing and examples, in our book. A few pages of this book can be read on the page called ‘Excerpt from the book “Comparison of Learning Classical Singing Between European and Chinese Singers”‘ so that you can decide if you are interested in the whole work. Links to our music examples that are referred to are available on our youtube site with numbers and short titles in square brackets, e.g. 19[huangmeixi]. All videos linked to the book can also be seen embedded on separate pages for each chapter on this site. The book can be bought at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Ingram, or at similar major book-sellers, at , published, Books-A-Million, or at smashwords and at Readers in various e-book formats. Some popular e-book stores also offer our book, like this one, or this one.

Whether our visitors here have read any part of our book or not, they are invited to reflect on the challenges set out above. We hope that a debate about the issues are going to help singers and teachers involved in this dynamic, special area of music life.

For those who are more interested in opinions about differences and similarities between European and Chinese opera styles rather than those among singing styles, we recommend the following article from another web-site here. We would also like to encourage our readers to comment on that article here, because on that site there are no links to do so, and we believe that discussion would strongly promote Western understanding of Eastern music.

Important information about the links in the book

About the video-links: if you have already bought the book, you will find that there are links to more videos in the video-links page than you can access from this site, or from our youtube site. The reason is that we can’t embed all the links here or there, because they are Chinese sites, which don’t behave the same way as youtube, or because we can’t convert them. However, you’ll also find that some of those links in the book have spelling mistakes, or they don’t work for some other reason. To redress these problems, we’ve updated all the links and can show you them here below. It’s worth looking into the videos under 23 and 24, they are very interesting. You have to be patient with the Chinese streams, but these links all work well.

4 [vid: Xian1]—

5 [vid: Xian2]—

6 [vid: Xian3]—

7 [vid: uncomfortable_Xian]—

8 [vid:Xian4]—

9 [vid: XianStr1]—

10 [vid: ShaoStudent]—

11 [mus:Yat Kha]—;

16 [XianStr2]—

17 [guzheng]—

18 [ShanghaiYueju]—

19 [huangmeixi]—

20 [BeijingOp1]—

21 [BeijingOp2_goodchar_man]—

22 [Beijing Opera3_bad char]—

23 [lianhualao]—;; 1&playnext_from=PL&index=37

24 [chunjianghuayueye]—;

25 [man in Shanxi op]—

26 [ShanxiQinqiang]—

27 [ShaoStudentWarmup]—

28 [ShaoStudentSong1]—

29 [ShaoStudent EurVibr]—

30 [vid: ShaoConcert]—

31 [vid: Ch_folk]—

32 [vid: OMioBabbino]—

33 [vid: VissiDarte]—

34 [vid: Ch_folk style]—

37 [vid: Budapest_Bellini]—

38 [vid: Arnhem_Schubert]—

41 [modChsong]—

42 [Xufeng_Italian]—

43 [warm up]—

44 [ChStLangPrep]—

45 [studio rec]—

46 [LesfillesdeCadix]—

47 [warm up_move]—


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