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Traditional Chinese Music

The origins of Chinese music can be dated back to distant antiquity. Approximately 3000 years ago, European music was experiencing its first rustlings of life whereas a complete musical theory and sophisticated musical instruments began to appear in China, owing largely to the orthodox ritual music advocated by Confucius. By the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. - 220 A.D.), the imperial court had set up a Music bureau which was in charge of gathering and editing ancient tunes and folk songs. Because of commercial contacts China had with Central Asia, foreign music entered the country in the form, for example, of the Pipa, or lute, and the hu-qin, a vertically held violin. Composers of this time modified and improved Chinese music because the foreign originating music influenced them to do so. By the time of the Tang Dynasty (713 - 755 A.D.) the court organised the Pear Garden Academy song and dance troupe which cultivated a large number of musicians, this then laid a firm foundation for Chinese music.

Traditionally the Chinese have believed that sound influences the harmony of the universe. Until quite recently the Chinese theoretically opposed music performed solely for entertainment, accordingly, musical entertainers were relegated to an extremely low social status.

 

Chinese music is the body of vocal and instrumental music composed and played by Chinese people. For several thousands of years Chinese Culture was dominated by the teachings of the philosopher Confucius, who conceived of music in the highest sense as a means of calming the passions and of dispelling unrest and lust, rather than as a form of amusement. The ancient Chinese belief that music is meant not to amuse but to purify one's thoughts.

Melody and tone are prominent expressive features of Chinese music, and great emphasis is given to the proper articulation and inflection of each musical tone.

Chinese musical instruments have been classified according to the materials used in their construction, namely, metal, stone, silk, bamboo, gourd, clay, skin and wood. The older instruments include long zithers, flutes, panpipes, the sheng, or mouth organ and percussion instruments, such as clappers, drums and gongs. Of later origin are various lutes and fiddles introduced to China from Central Asia.

Chinese Music
A Flower Moon Night on Spring River puts the listener in a happy mood, as though he were looking at a graceful Oriental landscape painting; Mournful Autumn makes one feel the inner sorrow of a bleak autumn day; Ambushed From Ten Sides deposits the listener on a thunderous ancient battleground; All the World Rejoices stirs up a joy of celebration in whoever happens to get caught up in its festive rhythms. These are famous examples of traditional Chinese musical compositions, all of which can transport the listener into a whole new sensory world.

The origins of Chinese music, or traditional Chinese music can be traced back to distant antiquity. Around 3,000 years ago, when European music was just experiencing its first rustlings of life, a complete musical theory and sophisticated musical instruments began appearing in China, owing largely to the orthodox ritual music advocated by Confucius. By the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.), the imperial court set up a Music Bureau, which was in charge of collecting and editing ancient tunes and folk songs. Because of commercial contacts with Central Asia, foreign music entered China in the form, for example, of the p'i-p'a , or lute, and the hu-ch'in , a vertically-held violin. Influenced by this foreign-originating music, composers of the time modified and improved Chinese music. By the time of Emperor Shaun Tsung (r. 713-755 A.D.) of the T'ang Dynasty, the court organized the Pear Garden Academy song and dance troupe, cultivating a large number of musicians, and thus laying a firm foundation for Chinese music.

The variations of rhythm, beat, tone quality, and embellishments in traditional Chinese music are highly distinctive and unlike their Western counterparts. This is mainly due to the unique sounds and playing styles of traditional Chinese musical instruments.

 Chinese musical instruments can be divided into four basic categories based on the method by which they are played:" blown," "bowed," "plucked," and "struck" (i.e. percussion) instruments.

The development of traditional Chinese music in the Chinese on Chinese can generally be divided into two categories. The first developed from the traditional music played by folk performing groups, usually composed of three to five or at most ten people. The performers are generally of advanced age, and they play mostly folk tunes or themes from traditional Chinese operas. This kind of music gives the listener a good feel for the rhythms of day-to-day Chinese rural life. The modern version of the Chinese "orchestra," comprised of dozens of different types of Chinese instruments, developed in response to changes in society. Besides performing traditional Chinese music, the Chinese orchestra plays adapted versions of folk songs along with classical and modern symphonic compositions. It is widely favored by young music lovers.

Most of the time, Chinese traditional music brings me a tranquility and peaceful time. It is as wonderful as classic music. Classic music comes from western, while traditional music belongs to us. It is great heredity of our Chinese nation.

China is a great nation with spacious and fertile field. She raised 56 races of her people. The culture is worth to be proud of. As somebody ever said, ˇ°China is a great country, because she created so great peopleˇ±.