The Social Function of the Dong Grand Song in Southeast Guizhou, China

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This is a qualitative investigation into the social function of the Dong Grand Song, a UNESCO-recognized intangible cultural heritage from the Guizhou region of China. For this investigation, three communities in Southwestern China were studied, with data gathered from interviews with purposively selected informants in the research area, observation, and documentary review. The results show that the Dong Grand Song has a number of varied social functions, including the transmission of traditional values, the maintenance of ethnic minority history, and the fostering of community spirit. Increasingly, the musical form has also gained economic value as the culture is presented to tourist audiences. This latter role has caused the traditional practices of the Dong people to change somewhat and there is clearly a divergence between the village identity of the Grand Song and its stage identity.