School of Music


Master of Arts in Music and Worship (MA)


George H McDow


China Folk Music, Minority China, Minority Music, Music and Identity, Salar, Salar Folk Music


Ethnomusicology | Musicology | Other Languages, Societies, and Cultures | Other Music


The Salar are a Muslim minority group in China. They are from the northwest province of Qinghai. Xunhua, the Salar autonomous county, is located about 150 kilometers away from Qinghai’s capital, Xining. I have elected to learn about this minority group because of the need for research and general value. There is a need because little prior research has been done concerning the Salar minority within the field of ethnomusicology. This hole needs to be filled within minority China research. Beyond ethnomusicology, cultural and sociological understanding will profit, expanding the knowledge base of humankind. Also, the Salar themselves are interested in preserving their culture, especially in written format. Preserving their music and culture, as well as in sharing that music and culture with the world is of great value. Through this study and specifically through the use of ethnographic fieldwork and musical analysis techniques, I have explored attributes of Salar music and where possible its relationship to ethnic identity. The purpose of this study is to identify characteristics of Salar music through musical analysis in hopes of better understanding the ethnic identity of the Salar people.