Frederick Lau's Music in China: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture (Oxford University Press, 2008) offers a unique exploration of the rich, dynamic, and multifaceted Chinese musical landscape. In contrast with previous scholarship––which focused almost exclusively on the role of music in elite culture––this volume takes a balanced look at a variety of traditional and modern genres, including those performed among local and regional folk musicians, in academia, in the media, and on concert stages both inside and outside of China.

Using the interrelated themes of identity, modernization, and ideology as a narrative framework, Lau discusses the musical features of the selected genres, the processes through which they came into existence, and related socio-political issues. He draws on his own extensive fieldwork and performance experience in both mainland China and its diasporic communities to show how the ever-changing Chinese musical tradition takes on particular meanings in China, in overseas Chinese communities, and in diverse international settings. Enhanced by eyewitness accounts of local performances, interviews with key performers, vivid illustrations, and hands-on listening activities, Music in China provides an accessible and engaging introduction to Chinese music. It is packaged with an 80-minute audio CD containing examples of the music discussed in the book.