【 MUSIC, ISLAND, STORIES: Pop Music in Taiwan】Exhibition

2021.11.22(Mon) 發佈

【 MUSIC, ISLAND, STORIES: Pop Music in Taiwan】Exhibition

【Our Song Our Times】

Pop music from Taiwan took the Chinese-speaking world by storm. It has influenced the lives of more than a billion people, changing ideas and cultural tastes across generations. Indeed, music is considered the most influential, infectious, and profound cultural heritage in the history of this island.

Due to the island’s unique historical circumstances, Taiwan’s pop music grew on fertile ground. Events in the island’s history have nurtured remarkable creativity, production, and planning that embody the country’s diverse cultural heritage. One key word here is ‘freedom’. Even under the conservative authoritarian regime, singers let their imaginations run free to express feelings of oppression and desire. As time moves ever forward, pop music has truthfully documented society’s sweeping transformations.

A song consoles those feeling down, imbues warmth in the young at heart, and offers a vision to aspiring individuals. Songs embody anger, sorrow, and happiness. Songs also reflect the greater self.
Despite changes and challenges, pop music in Taiwan remains creative, vivacious, and resilient. As music spreads across the borderless Internet and a thriving live performance scene, a new generation has mobilized international resources to develop cutting-edge hardware and software, and formed a brand new industrial chain. Full of enthusiasm and talent, today’s musicians are making history while forging ahead towards the future.

Listen carefully to the songs of the island, and you’ll find your story here. Open your ears and join us on this musical journey.


Prologue: Memories in Music


In the earliest times, folk songs were passed down through oral tradition. It was not until the 1930s that Taiwan’s first pop music was recorded. Yet no matter how times and lives change, music is always there. For rich and poor alike, even as political regimes have changed, music has embodied the atmosphere of the times, and given voice to each listener’s emotions.


Taipei Circle


The roundabout in Dadaocheng was once the liveliest place in Taipei. As early as the Japanese era, it was a major center of the Taiwanese pop music scene, where music lovers could hunt down anything about music, from Taiwanese lyric books, to gramophones and radios, and vinyl records and cassette tapes.


The Electrical Appliance Store


Transistor radios and fish tank-sized TV sets, much-coveted boomboxes and Walkmans that took campuses by storm…. These appliances of musical entertainment were on display in every electronics shop window. You can still catch a glimpse of these bygone days through the store’s window.


Taipei Cinema


Written in 1932 as the theme for its namesake film, “Peach Blossom Weeps Blood” was Taiwan’s first highly successful pop song. To this day, pop music and the movie industry continue to complement each other. Just as a song instantly reminds us of a scene from a movie, it becomes a collective memory shared by all.


The Train


When you get on a train, are you leaving home or going back? Are you traveling with passion, or is your heart filled with melancholy? Perhaps you are somewhere in between.

The rhythm of trains is blended into melodies of songs that reflect the island’s transformation. As an agricultural society has industrialized and developed into a service economy, the pulse of modernization and urbanization continues its rhythmic beat.


The Folk Song Era


It was an era where young people in t-shirts and jeans played the guitar and wrote their own songs. It was these youth that revolutionized Taiwan’s music, culture, and society.
Their songs were pure and simple, yet embodied concerns for families and country and a strong cultural sentiment. They incorporated original lyrics and worked with poets, endowing pop music with deeper literary connotations. Their songs became tremendously popular, and helped bring the Taiwanese record industry to a higher level of creativity, production, and planning.


Young People’s Spiritual Sanctuary


Youth is a turning point. Youth is a time to break free from restraints, bid farewell to childhood, and embrace the adult world. Liberalization of Taiwanese society during the 1980s gave birth to unique songs that resonated with the attitudes of a generation of youths – and highlighted differences between them and the generations that came before. Every line of these songs embracing the setbacks and anxieties of coming of age is suffused with the hot-blooded enthusiasm of youth.


Love and Music


People have only one true heart, but musical possibilities are endless.


You may have been struck by how closely a song matched your current situation in life. It is likely that your happiness, sorrow, trepidation, confusion – anything and everything that is on your mind or in your heart – has at one time or another been encapsulated in a love song.

When that song plays, who do you think of?


Creating a Record


Creating music relies heavily on teamwork. Every detail of production – planning, composing, arranging, recording, post-production, visual design, liner notes, music videos, and marketing and promotion – requires devoted and talented professionals.


The Allure of Music


Taiwan is not a large island, but it has diverse cultures and tastes. It’s a creative hub for Mandarin singers from across Asia, including Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia. Taiwanese artists are now branching out beyond Mandarin, writing songs in Taiwanese Hokkien, Hakka, indigenous, and immigrant languages. From candy-sweet Mandopop to pounding EDM to edgy RnB, the Taiwanese music scene has something for everyone’s tastes.


Live Music and Festivals


In the 1990s, underground bands shifted away from performing covers of foreign songs to creating original music. Guitar-toting singer-songwriters found early audiences in dingy live houses, where their unorthodox music took root and led to the rise of Taiwan’s independent music scene.


HIP-HOP Event Taiwan Hip-Hop


In the brand-new hip-hop exhibition area, “Principal” Dwagie and Kenny Chou, the producer of the variety show The Rappers, served as curatorial consultants who interviewed cross-generational rap stars Jeffrey Huang, MC HotDog, Miss Ko, MJ 116, Kumachan, and Aquaman. Through their perspectives, discussions were held on the reciprocal effects between different generations and hip-hop music, offering an experience of the most authentic and dynamic hip-hop culture.


Life Is Live – Concerts

Nothing compares to the live concert experience. When you enter this display you’ll be dazzled by a concert experience – complete with giant projected images, elaborate stage lighting, and a captivating laser light display – a performance that will amaze your senses.



Exhibition time: 10 am to 6 pm daily (closed every Monday), no admission after 4:30 pm
*Exhibition location: Taipei Music Center Cultural Center (No. 99, Section 7, Zhongxiao East Road, Nangang District, Taipei City)
Fares information:
1. Full ticket: NT $350. (General audience)
2. Senior ticket: NT $175. (Seniors 65 years and older must show their ID when entering)
3. Group ticket: NT $315. (Group reservation for more than 20 people)
4. Discounted tickets: NT $320. (Students and residents with registered residence in Nangang and Neihu District must present their original ID, and the purchase of the voucher is limited to 1 ticket)
*Guide service: The exhibition provides free audio guide service for visitors. There is no on-site guided tour service.
For information related to the exhibition, please visit the organizer’s official website and official fan page. The organizer reserves the right to adjust the event.


All music in this exhibition are legally licensed in support of the artists.


Tickets Purchased




Visitors Notices

1.Visitors should keep their voices low and not talk loudly or cause nuisance to other visitors. Please do not play, eat, drink, smoke, or litter.

2.Visitors in inappropriate attires or with pets (except guide dogs) are prohibited inside the exhibition halls.

3.No video recording at all times. Photography is allowed only for record keeping. Please do not use flash, selfie sticks, or tripods. Photography and video are not allowed where prohibit sign stated.

4.Above regulations are subject to change; Please refer to the onsite bulletin board.

5.When the exhibition halls are overcrowding, visitors entering the site should follow staff instructions for crowd control.

6.No replacement nor ticket refunds will be given to lost, damaged, burned, and unrecognizable admission tickets as well as those with removed admission stubs.


Adviser|Ministry of Culture Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Organized by|Department of Cultural Affairs, Taipei City Government
Co-organizer|Taipei Music Center
Curated by|INCEPTION
Curator|Ocean Liang
Co-curator|Akibo Lee, Ma Shih-fang, MayDay Masa


2021-09-18 10:00:00 - 2026.09.20 (Sun) 18:00