Sounding China

This was a semester long project. Throughout the semester, graduate students (many of whom had little previous exposure to the course material) studied the history of Chinese music theory, the Jesuit missionaries who transmitted it back to western Europe, and the reception of Chinese culture there in the 18th century. The website commemorating the exhibit and giving more information can be found at

Students broke up into five groups, each of which was responsible for curating one display case, and creating digital projects to complement it. They used collections from Harvard Libraries, tools like iMovie, Zeega, and other multimedia software to create their projects. 

Students began by selecting interesting objects -- books, music scores, recordings, costume drawings, instruments, etc. -- related to the topic of their case. Collaboratively, they wrote descriptive texts for display labels. Students also wrote brief curatorial statements, and created individual digital projects to augment their cases. At the end of the semester, three students took on the responsibility of helping Professor Rehding, library staff, and technicians from Harvard's Weissman Preservation Center mount the exhibit in Loeb Music Library. Finally, in consultation with Professor Rehding, the instructor designed a website to showcase the exhibit materials (

At the beginning of the next semester (February 2012), there was a formal opening reception with a concert, speeches, and refreshments. This is where students presented their digital exhibits in the Loeb Music Library. The assignment added a new dimension to the standard seminar, and allowed students to work with source materials and physical objects in a new way. It also gave the opportunity for group work and collaboration, both among the students, and with Harvard staff members and faculty.