China- Traditional Music

Traditional Chinese Music can be traced back 7000-8000 years  based on the discovery of a bone flute made in the Neolithic age. In the Song Dynasty,  original operas such as Zaju and Nanxi was performed in tea rooms, theatres and show places. Writers and artists liked it so much that Ci, a new type of  literature based on lyrics, thrived.  During the yuan dynasty, many traditional musical instruments were developed such as the Pipa,  the flute and the zither.

Lots of Chinese peasants wrote folk songs, describing  working and daily life such as farming, fishing and herding. These were very popular among farmers. The legendary founder of music in Chinese mythology was Ling Lun, who made bamboo pipes tuned to the sounds of birds. According to Mencius, a powerful ruler once asked him whether it was moral if he preferred popular music to the classics. The answer was that it only mattered that the ruler love his subjects.

Chinese orchestras traditionally consist of bowed strings, woodwinds, plucked strings and percussion and most traditional instruments could be divided into eight sounds or tones. Theses were: silk, bamboo, wood,  stones, metal, clay, gourd and hide.  This was one of the first musical classifications ever.



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