Sheryl Chow received her PhD in Musicology in 2023 from Princeton University with a dissertation entitled ‘The Order of Pitches: Music Theory, Science, and Western Learning in 17th-Century China’. By analysing an imperially commissioned Chinese music treatise—the Correct Principles of Music (Lülü zhengyi 律呂正義)—in the political and cultural contexts of China, her dissertation reveals the ways in which pre-existing Chinese writings on music, Western mathematics and music theory, and empirical observations served as incoherent sources for music reformers to reconstruct an orthodox musical system for the Qing court that was supposedly lost in antiquity. Her dissertation project was supported by the Centre for Chinese Studies Research Grant for Foreign Scholars in Chinese Studies and the Alvin H. Johnson AMS 50 Dissertation Fellowship.
Besides revising her dissertation into a book manuscript, she is preparing a journal article on the historical development of calendrical astronomy and tuning theories in imperial China. For her next project, she attempts to reconstruct Qing court ritual music based on the notations in the Sequel to the Correct Principles of Music (Lülü zhengyi houbian 律呂正義後編). In addition to Chinese music theory, her research interests include Hong Kong protest music and the relationship between speech tones and music.
“A Localised Boundary Object: Seventeenth-Century Western Music Theory in China,” Early Music History, vol. 39 (2020): 75–113, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261127920000078
“An Intertextual Public Sphere: Protest Songs of Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement in Cyberspace,” in The Oxford Handbook of Protest Music (New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming)
“Redefining Essence: Tuning and Temperament of Chinese Traditional Music,” in Of Essence and Context: Between Music and Philosophy, edited by Stanevičiūtė R., Zangwill N., and Povilionienė R., 255-267 (Cham: Springer, 2019)