CUHK Library Archival Collections

Rulan Chao Pian papers Edit


HK CVU 0039/PER/Pian
Finding Aid Author
Special Collections (Archive Management)
Finding Aid Date
Description Rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of Description
English or Chinese


  • 1368-1644, 1838, 1899-2009, undated, bulk 1940-1995 (Creation)


  • 150 linear feet (Whole)

Agent Links



  • Scope and Contents

    Consists chiefly of research or teaching materials written or collected by Rulan Chao Pian on Chinese music, ethnomusicology. Includes lecture notes, correspondence, diaries, photographs, and slides, etc. Arranged as received

  • Arrangement

    Arranged into 8 series

  • Language of Materials

    Chiefly in English or Chinese

  • Biographical / Historical

    Rulan Chao Pian (卞趙如蘭, 1922–2013), an American-Chinese ethnomusicologist, studied Western music history and theory at Radcliffe College, Cambridge, MA (B.A., 1944; M.A., 1946) and at Harvard University (Ph.D., 1960). Her father Yuen Ren Chao (趙元任, 1892–1982), who was a linguist and composer, had taught at Tsing Hua University, Harvard University, and University of California, Berkeley, among others. He collaborated with Yang Lien Sheng to compile the Concise Dictionary of Spoken Chinese (Harvard, 1947). The influence of her father could not be neglected. At Harvard, not only did Pian offer music courses including topics on Chinese music, but she also taught Chinese language courses. She developed her own pedagogical method and prepared a lot of lecture notes on both fields.

    Pian was interested in musical notation and its association with transcription, analysis, performance practice, and the social contexts of music. She was the first to study oral and performance literature from the perspective of musicology. Her dissertation Sonq Dynasty Musical Sources and Their Interpretation, which was published as a monograph (Harvard, 1967; Chinese University Press, 2003 reprinted), was awarded the Carolyn I. Wilby Prize by Harvard and the Otto Kinkeldey Award for “excellence of a musicological book” by the American Musicological Society. Although her publications focus mainly on Chinese traditional music, including music in Song dynasty, Peking operas, modes in Chinese music, and music at Confucian sacrificial ceremony, her research extends to Gagaku in Japan, P’ansori in Korea, Morris Dance tunes in Boston, and Chinese imitations of Michael Jackson’s hits. Some of her students, namely Bell Yung, Joseph S.C. Lam, and Yu Siu Wah, are now renowned ethnomusicologists.

  • Preferred Citation

    Rulan Chao Pian papers. CUHK Library Archival Collections, the Chinese University of Hong Kong Library.

  • Donor

    Donated by Rulan Chao Pian

  • Conditions Governing Access

    Access to materials is restricted by legal requirements, written agreements with the donor(s) and policies of the Chinese University of Hong Kong Library. Users/researchers are required to sign an application form to use the collection. Records containing personal data which might constitute intrusion of privacy are not available for access.

    We made our best effort to protect personal data and copyrighted materials during archival descriptive process by marking:
    1) Note 1: to indicate materials contain personal data or sensitive information; access restricted
    2) Note 2: to indicate copyright restrictions may apply

    If you have any questions or concerns on personal data and copyrighted materials of this collection, please email us and we ensure that we would response to your written request accordingly within a reasonable time period.

  • Conditions Governing Use

    The copyright on some materials in the collection may be held by the creators, donors or any other persons. Users/researchers must obtain written permissions from the copyright holder(s) and the Librarian prior to publishing or reproducing any material in this collection.

    Photocopying requests must be made to CUHK Library staff in writing for approval by the Librarian. It must be noted that provision of photocopies does not constitute permission to reproduce, publish, or circulate these materials in any formats.

    Archival records may contain materials with personal, sensitive or confidential information that is protected under privacy law. Users/researchers are advised that the disclosure or use of certain information pertaining to identifiable individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals or concerned parties may have legal ramifications for which The Chinese University of Hong Kong assumes no responsibility.

  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    Originals of some materials are not available due to physical conditions or the need of special equipment. Copies are provided if available.