Understanding chinese music

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Understanding chinese music

The multi-string harp-like instrument is also used in ensembles and orchestras. Understanding the history and meaning of Chinese classical music helps you to appreciate it more.

This article is about the history, philosophy, instruments, and the three performance styles of Chinese traditional classical music and about places where you can watch a performance.

Appreciating Chinese Traditional Music China has a long and influential musical tradition based on the philosophy and culture of ancient China. Confucius and the Confucian school after him espoused the correct use and form of music according to their sociological and cosmological conceptions, so to appreciate the music, it helps to understand their ideals of music and their purpose.

Over the centuries, musicians developed various styles of music and invented or adopted many types of instruments. He is credited for setting the tone for much traditional Chinese music for thousands of years. His influence was profound.

It is thought that he was a prominent music teacher and a talented musician who was able to play several instruments expertly. In Confucian teachingsthe purpose and role of music are laid out and the qualities of "good music" are defined. Perhaps for other people around the world, music was meant mainly for amusement and entertainment.

But during the time of the Zhou Dynasty about BC and afterwards, music had the crucial role of an important pillar of society. Confucian teachings about how music was meant to be used and performed is expressed in several of the main Confucian books: The teachings are seminal for understanding traditional music.

It is said that he thought that of the six most important subjects to study, studying music was second in importance only to the study of ritual or public ceremonies. He ranked music higher than the other four necessary subjects that were archery, chariot-riding, calligraphy or writing, and computation or mathematics.

Rite and Ritual Music was so important because the ideal society was to be governed by rites, ritual and ceremonial functions, but not by law or raw power.

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In a culture where people function according to ritual and ceremony, music is used to help conduct and govern them. Music was ultimately a means for optimizing social utility or happiness. The Traits of Good Traditional Music So to establish peace and initiate proper conduct, it was important that the music be generally simple, induce tranquility, and facilitate the appropriate conduct in the ceremonial context.

The instruments should be played with correct technique as a model for proper behavior. In the beginning flourish, you can hear which instruments will participate in the piece. An instrumental musician performing solo will often play a sudden loud note or notes at the beginning.

Characteristic themes and symbols

Technical Finesse In a group ensemble, after the grand opening of the piece, the musicians will generally tone the volume down towards the middle. This enables the audience to appreciate the technical finesse of the individual musicians.

At the conclusion of a piece, the volume generally increases again for the finale. Pentatonic Scale Most of the traditional music of the elites used the ancient Chinese pentatonic scale. In contrast, Western-style music uses the heptatonic scale that lends to producing complex harmonies among various instruments in tension.

Perhaps most pleasing to Westerners is a single instrument such as a flute or an erhu played with the traditional emphasis on precise articulation and inflection. Westerners often find such music tranquil or meditative.

Traditional musicians playing a variety of instruments in large ensembles or orchestras tend to sound discordant because Westerners expect more harmony in such performances. The Chinese pentatonic scale itself has sound frequencies that seem a little cacophonic to Westerners.

Smoothly Continuous Unlike Western or African music, there is no emphasis on rhythm or beat. That would tend to orient people toward bodily sensual and sexual drives.

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As Confucius taught, beautiful and appropriate music is meant to promote social tranquility. If the music is a part of an official ceremonial function, the music is meant to regulate the behavior of the people so that they perform the ritual appropriately and obey authority. However, instead of a regular tempo throughout, many pieces feature a regular but smoothly accelerating tempo.the Real DMZ group show at New Art Exchange, Nottingham, U.K 27 Feb April Non-Sense Music II: Borders KunstQuartier Bethanien, Berlin, Germany 11 May- .

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Understanding chinese music

She suspects people will see the commonality between classical Chinese dance with movements known to martial arts, tai chi and acrobatic traditions. Stanford Chinese Music Ensemble When several lines of music are notated together to be sung or played in harmony, the bar lines usually extend through all the parts.

However, when notating music for a two-handed instrument (such as the guzheng), it is common for the bar lines of each hand to be drawn separately, but a score bracket to be. Understanding the history and meaning of Chinese classical music helps you to appreciate it more.

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