Timeline of Chinese music

Music of China
General topics
Specific forms
Media and performance
Music festivals Midi Modern Music Festival
Music media
Nationalistic and patriotic songs
National anthem
Regional music

This is a timeline that show the development of Chinese music by genre and region. It covers the historic China as well as the geographic areas of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.

Dynastic periods

Zhou Dynasty

  • System of formal music yayue established.
  • Lyrics of folk songs recorded.
  • Decline of yayue by the end of the Spring and Autumn period, increased popularity of new music from Wey and Zheng states.

Qin to Han Dynasty

Sui to Tang Dynasty

  • Founding of various academies and music departments -
The Great Music Bureau (大樂署) responsible for yayue and yanyue (燕樂, entertainment music and dance for banquet)
The Royal Academy founded by Emperor Gaozu
"Pear Garden", an acting and music academy founded by Emperor Xuanzong.
The Drum and Pipes Bureau (鼓吹署) responsible for ceremonial music.
  • Influence from Centra Asian, Persian and Indian music.
  • Oldest surviving notated music in China - Youlan.

Song to Yuan Dynasty

  • Revival of yayue due to the revival of Neo-Confucianism
  • Increasing popularity of Chinese opera such as nanxi opera and zaju theatre.
  • The artform of Ci poetry which is meant to be sung reached its zenith in the Song Dynasty.

Ming Dynasty

Qing Dynasty

  • Development of Peking opera.
  • Beginning of New Music in late the 19th century under influence of Western music.


Hong Kong:

  • Popular English and western classical music grew with British influence.


Republic of China:


Republic of China:


Republic of China:

  • Heyday of Shidaiqu in Shanghai which lasted until the 1940s.
  • Development of modern Chinese orchestra.



People's Republic of China:


People's Republic of China:

Hong Kong:

  • Continuation of Shidaiqu in Hong Kong.

Republic of China / Taiwan:


Hong Kong:


ROC Taiwan:

Hong Kong:

  • Increasing popularity of cantopop.


People's Republic of China:


People's Republic of China:

Hong Kong SAR:

ROC Taiwan


People's Republic of China:

  • Punk rock begins in China.

Hong Kong SAR and ROC Taiwan


See also


  1. "China V Chart". Billboard. Retrieved July 15, 2016.
  2. Lin, Lilian (November 10, 2015). "Billboard Teams With Local Firm to Declare China's No. 1 Song". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 15, 2016.
  3. Zhang Rui (November 10, 2015). "Billboard music charts look to expand in China". China.org.cn. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
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