The Key Debates of Musical Exoticism and Orientalism in Historical Musicology

  • Sharon Yang student


Edward W. Said’s book, Orientalism, covers direct and indirect relations between the West and the Orient, the European world and the Asian world, in terms of politics, geography, ethnic traditions, morals, and cultures through past centuries. These vibrant crosscurrents have had a significant influence on the spread of humanism in civilization, and most importantly, have emboldened introspection in almost every academic discipline, encouraging racial equality within the development of modernity. Derived from Said’s theory of Orientalism, this paper reviews the key academic debates of musical exoticism and Orientalism within the last thirty years. Sindhumathi Revuluri’s musical reflection on Orientalism, Ralph P. Locke’s analytical methodology, and a case study of Giacomo Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly by Ping-hui Liao, Dorinne K.Kondo, and Mari Yoshihara from each of their respective and diverse focuses, all extend the theory of Orientalism into the domain of historical musicology.