Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)


Musicology (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Deborah Schwartz-Kates

Second Committee Member

Willa J. Collins

Third Committee Member

Carlos R. Abril


Chinese American communities have been part of the United States since the 19th century. Presently, their high rates of immigration have made them one of this country’s fastest growing communities. However, in Miami, only 0.3% of the population are Chinese Americans. In this local setting, music serves, in the words of Su Zheng, as an important “signifier that produces complex cultural meanings.” Because traditional music forms one of the most significant aspects of music in China, it is critical to explore the extent to which Chinese American musical culture has developed and changed. This thesis discusses the function of Chinese music influences Chinese and Chinese Americans in their new diasporic setting, and the music form individual or group identities. This thesis explores two types of Chinese American communities in Miami centered around: 1) the Chinese Baptist Church and 2) local educational settings. Through these contexts, this study shows how music among Chinese Americans in Miami involves the preservation and enactment of cultural traditions in daily life, religion, and festivals through which diasporic communities maintain their sense of identity and place. The music of Chinese Americans in Miami has established its own hybrid tradition that is unique to its own local and national roots and that helps shape the contemporary local diaspora. Through different research methods, I observe that the Chinese American musical community is an exceptionally complex diasporic world that, in many respects, markedly contrasts with established Chinese settlements in the United States.


Musical Identities; Chinese American; diaspora; Miami; community; Chinese Baptist Church; Confucius Institute at Miami Dade College; University of Miami