Chinese Music History: Newsletter #4

MuCN-BannerQuite some time has passed since our last newsletter and while we had been busy working on the Midi Festival 2013 pages, we also took another step closer towards our aim of covering the complete history of Chinese music. In short, what happened:



MCN: New Power for Researchers


Two new tools have been implemented for Chinese music reseachers (and the general interested):

  • A “cite this page” function, similar to Wikipedia, which gives you the choice of a number of established citation formats.
  • Search functionality for Category:Songs that enables everyone to semantically search through the documented songs and list out according to GENRE and INSTRUMENT featured.

Here is the screenshot a sample search looking for songs that feature ‘Guitar’s:


Chinese Music History: Newsletter #3

MuCN-BannerThis is the third newsletter of the Chinese Music History project. Since our last edition, the following has happened.

China, 8000–2000 B.C. Xia Dynasty (2100 BC – 1600 BC)
China, 2000–1000 B.C. Xia Dynasty (2100 BC – 1600 BC), Shang Dynasty (1600 BC – 1050 BC)
China, 1000 B.C.–1 A.D. Eastern Zhou Dynasty (771 BC – 256 BC), Qin Dynasty (221 BC – 206 BC), Western Han Dynasty (206 BC – 9 AD)
China, 1–500 A.D.  Eastern Han Dynasty (25 AD – 220 AD)
China, 500–1000 A.D.: Tang Dynasty (618 – 907), Northern Song Dynasty (960 – 1127)
China, 1000–1400 A.D. Northern Song Dynasty (960 – 1127), Southern Song Dynasty (1127 – 1279), Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368), Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644)
China, 1400–1912 A.D. Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644), Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1912)
China, 1912–1949 A.D. Republic of China era (1912–1949)

Chinese Music History: Newsletter #2

MuCN-BannerWelcome to April 1st 2013 and no, this is not an April’s Fools Day joke: We are officially starting our Chinese Music History project and on this very day we can also announce that we have crossed 13 million pageviews!!!


The following has happened since our last newsletter:

China, 2000–1000 B.C. Shang Dynasty (1600 BC – 1050 BC)
China, 1000 B.C.–1 A.D. Eastern Zhou Dynasty (771 BC – 256 BC), Western Han Dynasty (206 BC – 9 AD)
China, 1–500 A.D.
China, 500–1000 A.D.: Tang Dynasty (618 – 907), Northern Song Dynasty (960 – 1127)
China, 1000–1400 A.D. Northern Song Dynasty (960 – 1127), Southern Song Dynasty (1127 – 1279), Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368)

Chinese Music History: Newsletter #1

This is newsletter #1 for the Chinese Music History Project. Much has happened since our first post:

  • We got feedback from various corners of the world showing interest in the project, such as emeritus professors from the University of Yale all the way to Guqin Associations.
  • Emails have been issued to all major institutions and associations in the field.
  • Additional references and sources have been identified, such as the UNESCO Document Database

With April 1st being around the corner as official start date, please spread the word and register at the Wiki to start contributing to human knowledge.

Project: Chinese Music History


We of Rock in China and are rolling out a new project: It is our aim to map and document the complete history of Chinese music online. Therefore we are inviting institutes, organisations, universities, professors, teachers and students to join in and support us. The reason for this project is the same reason that led us to start with Rock in China 9 years ago: Currently there is no overall comprehensive and detailed website about the historical development of Chinese music. And we want to change this and create a free public domain online reference. Independent from the topic of rock music we are going to look at traditional music, folk music, Chinese opera, Tang Dynasty music and many other Chinese music related topics. As we have expanded our online wiki into semantic web last November and received over 2 million page views in respond to that, we believe that we have create the right tool landscape to realize our aims.



Above are two PDF documents which we are distributing. One showing a brief summary of the project and the other document giving a comparison between the intents of and Wikipedia – the other major public domain knowledge base everyone is thinking about when talking about humankind’s online knowledge. There is a distinct difference in the intent of both wikis and working on this project with is more benefitial (Wikipedia prefers short, comprehensive articles without the level of detail that we intend to generate).


How can you help us? Help can be joining in on creating and editing of relevant online articles in our wiki together with other interested users. Help can be searching for copyright-free sources, media, photos and texts that can be used for our articles. Help can be also promotion of this project, announcing it online and establishing contacts with other interested parties.


You can read more about this project on our project page:


This project is intended to start in April 2013, but account registration is already available. Everyone who is actively helping is going to be mentioned on our project page with his/her user name and will also be mentioned as contributor in our project status newslets.


I hope that you can join our project, either as individuals or as representatives of any of your affiliated organizations. We are open to all ideas, suggestions or critical comments and will definitely support in terms of account creation, introduction to wiki works and other topics.

Invitations have been issued to the University of Aarhus, the University of Heidelberg, DianMo – Sinology Student Newspaper of Leipzig, Kulturgut 文化财富 China, Hamburger China-Notizen, the China Media Project at the Journalism & Media Studies Centre (The University of Hong Kong), Das Reispapier, the European Seminar in Ethnomusicology, the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at the University of Indiana, the University of Wien, the Chinese Oral and Performing Literature (CHINOPERL) (中國演唱文藝研究會), the Association for Chinese Music Research, the Society of Asian Music, the International Insitute of Asian Studies, the Centre of Chinese Studies (SOAS), CHIME, the Centre of Chinese Studies at the University of Cambridge, the Department of the History of Art of the University of Yale and the Department for East Asia Languages and Literatures of the University of Yale.

CORE IN CHINA – Presented by Painkiller Magazine

PAINKILLERLadies and Gentlemen – It is revealed! CORE IN CHINA was included in issue number 48 of the Painkiller Heavy Music Magazine as CD!!!

We are very proud that our project attracted so much attention not just overseas, but also in China itself, so that the guys of Painkiller decided to include the CD as free gimnick in their magazine to be distributed nation-wide!!!

For those who haven’t listened to the CD yet, get a free download copy here!

Hail metal!!!


RiC / MCN – Why is the right choice for culture documentation (heritage preservation)

Screenshot_HuaerDuring our implementations of the semantic mediawiki, our team came into a strong discussion on what the benefit of and actually is. We were told that especially for traditional Chinese music, there is already a great website called “Wikipedia” that not only has more users, but is far more known. Well, let me tell you the reason why is the right choice for cultural documentation of Chinese music! The reason why we can do it better in terms of heritage preservation!

Let’s have a look at a Chinese music genre called Hua’er (of which above screenshot is taken). At wikipedia one will not find too much information about Hua’er, except one sentence:

Hua’er, a form popular in the northwestern China provinces such as GansuNingxia and Qinghai, named to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009

At however you will find:

  • An official UNESCO youtube video showcasting the music style
  • A semantical relationship between Hua’er and other music styles (FolkMountain Songs)
  • Open, exportable RDF about the genre including a Dublin Core abstract
  • A brief explanation as well as genre scene information as published by the Ministry of Culture of China (as public domain)
  • An overview of recent developments for preservation and safeguardsing as described in the UNESCO nomination letter in 2009.
  • The opportunity to mark songs and artists with this particular genre, i.e. making it semantic and linked! (and thereby exportable via RDF!)

In short, provides every user the opportunity to combine as many sources as possible and include the information on the wiki. Wikipedia in theory has the same functionality, however a different mission statement! Wikipedia is an encyclopedia which wants to describe any given topic in a neutral point of view on a precise yet also brief way. Gig listings, such as on artists pages (see Subs), re-iterations of lengthy sections of legal documents (see Hua’er) or individual concert reviews (see Suffocated) as references would never have a chance of passing the notability criteria of Wikipedia. And that is the strength of! Everyone can enter as much data about a topic as he or she wants to without the fear of strong notability requirements (see our own).

Surplus – and that is something that Wikipedia has NOT yet implemented on their own system – every data entered at RiC / MCN can be exported or called upon via RDF! We are semantic and very much alive!

Another example to show why Rock in China and are the better choice!

Screenshot_CuiJian1Our very own Cui Jian page compared to the Wikipedia one:

  • Wikipedia: 2112 words
  • RiC / MCN: 9039 words

Surplus, Wikipedia is listing Cui Jian at RiC as External Link and thereby as reference for everyone who wants to know more than the brief encyclopedic entry that WP provides.

Additionally RiC / MCN features

  • numerous music videos of Cui Jian that are collected via the Freebase / Google / Youtube API connection, RiC
  • an up-to-date system crawl for articles and books about Cui Jian in the “Further information” section
  • semantic annotations for the place of origin, Cui Jian’s main genre, his records and his musicbrainz UID

Need more examples? Check out this table:

Band Word count at RiC/MCN Word count at WP
Carsick Cars  3628 424
Subs  5112 0
Tang Dynasty  3721 604

RiC / MCN – A little bit of magic for events

Screenshot_Events1Another day, another post about the semantic magic that is happening over at merry merry Rock in China and Events & Festivals!

Previously being lone pages that by hand were featured on our main page, events have become far more lively thanks to the magic worked by Semantic Mediawiki! As you can see in the above screenshot, we feature a moveable timeline showing all documented events in the system, starting with the latest one. As we haven’t entered all events with semantics, only a handful show up, such as

Screenshot_Events4Our stylish new form is asking for a few of the key facts of every event:

  • Poster
  • Title
  • Start date & time, End date & time
  • Organizer (you can add more than one)
  • Event Location (you can add more than one, e.g. for JUE festival, Beijing and Shanghai)
  • Participants (i.e. bands and artists)

These data will then be included in a factbox to the right of the page and a brief section about the bands is being added:

Screenshot_Events2To be honest, our events section is not as advanced as our artist page, but there are already a few cool effects we have added to make your data input more than just a plain events page:

Special events are being displayed on the VENUE page of the event, e.g. check out the Starlive or the Shanghai MAO live house page which display these events in a nice gallery:

Screenshot_Events3With release of SMW 1.8 and SMR 1.8 (incl. its enhanced gallery function) we hope to roll out this special treatment with backlinks to the event not just on venue pages but also on artists pages and on city pages. Surplus there are plans to make all events available based on genre selection (but that will require a little bit more magic beans).

For more info on our semantic implementation of events, its properties and class equivalences, check out our Semantic Approach project page.


Ric / MCN: The difference between artists and musicians


Within our wiki there are two distinct categories and data classes being used for sometimes (confusingly) the same thing:

Whereas the first category contains BOTH musical groups AND musical (solo) artists, the second group comprises of only individual persons. For standard band / musician formations that is easy to implement, e.g. Kaiser Kuo is a musician playing in the band Spring Autumn and hence Kaiser Kuo is categorized as a PERSON and Spring Autumn is categorized as an ARTIST.

However if one looks at e.g. Jiebing Chen one notices that two pages are being setup:

  1. Jiebing Chen
  2. Jiebing Chen (Artist)

It is necessary to set up two pages (that are interlinked) as both classes are storing different properties which are not the same. E.g. the INSTRUMENT that a person plays is stored on the PERSON class, whereas the YOUTUBEID with an example song is stored on the ARTIST class.

Reason behind is that (usually) a PERSON is adopting an ARTIST NAME or a STAGE PRESENCE or an IMAGINATIVE FIGURE to perform. E.g. a lot of Hongkong pop singers adopt an English name instead of their Cantonese birth name for recording and publishing music. Hence all MUSIC-related activities that are related to the STAGE NAME are being documented on the ARTIST page. All PERSON-related activities (filmography, early life, death, etc.) is documented on the PERSON page.

Folk artists not necessarily adopt a specific name for their music activities (such as Jiebing Chen above), however folk artists are often present in more than one band or project. As such the PERSON page is the more important of the two for these musicians and all their own musician activities would become documented within e.g. Jiebing Chen (Artist) or any of the project / groups / bands the musician played with.

If that gets complicated, think of COMEDIANS and how they usually have certain fixed ROLES they enact on stage. Some of these comedians release CDs or DVDs solely about one ROLE and some of them even go as far as enact that ROLE in their daily life. E.g. German comedian Hape Kerkeling has the following roles:

  1. Evje van Dampen
  2. Gisela
  3. Günther Warnke
  4. Hannilein
  5. Horst Schlämmer
  6. Rico Mielke
  7. R.I.P. Uli
  8. Siegfried Schwäbli
  9. Uschi Blum
  10. Wolfgang

out of which Horst Schlämmer got his own movie, own TV appearances and own cinema advertisements. Yet Horst Schlämmer is not Hape Kerkeling as it is just a stage presence created for a purpose of distributing comedy.

There is no system in the world that can truely map all the nuances and details present in human life, yet we hope that this system brings the ideal of mapping music close enough.

This is a part of our always expanding STYLEGUIDE.