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Saturday, 5 April 2014

Chinese Music

Many Chinese instruments are of great antiquity. The large number of ceremonial gongs, bells, and stone and wooden percussion instruments, and also the zheng and guqin (both zithers), and sheng (a type of mouth-organ) date back 3,000 years.

There is a Confucian tradition that sees music in terms of its value to people, attesting to its philosophical and educational power. The Han emperor Wudi (156-87 BC) sought to control this power by founding a Bureau of Music, which established the yayue or court ritual music of imperial China.

In 38 BC the Chinese octave was divided into 60 notes.

Chinese opera first achieved great popularity and maturity in the Tang Dynasty during the reign of Hsuan Tsung (712-755) and Chuang Tsung (923-925). These two emperors are considered the honorary fathers of Chinese opera because of their enthusiastic support of the art. Both had exceptional technical knowledge of music.

Hsuan Tsung, who has been worshiped by generations of opera artists as their patron saint, founded the Pear Garden Academy, a music and dance troupe within the court. In later times, opera singing was referred to as the "Pear Garden Profession" and opera performers as "Pear Garden Brothers".

Sources Europress Encyclopedia, The Oxford Interactive Encyclopedia.

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