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Music and Culture
Annette Sanger

Lecture 3 – Music of China China  Largest country (population) in the world  Beijing and Shanghai important in musical life  Many different ethnic and religious groups  Han ethnic group comprise 94%, Tibetans a minority group.  One of the oldest civilizations, dating back 3,500 years Brief History  Ruled by various dynasties for most of its history  Last dynasty (Manchu) deposed in 1911 when revolution broke out  Years of chaos and civil war during early 20th century  1949 – officially became a communist state (People’s Republic of China) A cue from Russia, music and politics are closely bonded.  1966-76 – Cultural Revolution  Since then, emphasis more on economic development  The music of the past were cast out, and the new songs were didactic (meant to teach you something).  Music now coincides with western music. Musical instrument classification  System based on the main material from which the instrument is made  Bayin – 8 sounds  Earth/pottery, stone, metal, skin, wood, bamboo, gourds, silk The Qin (Guqin)  Oldest and most revered instrument  7 string zither (silk strings stretched across a wooden board)  Classified as “silk”  Associated with great philosopher Confucius (551-479 BCE) and intellectual life  Most gentlemen required to learn the qin (overtime became a solo instrument) Qin Traditional setting for playing the qin is a scholar would play it, and perhaps play it for another scholar in a garden type setting. An apprentice would usually carry the instrument (upper class people play it) Confucius and music  Believed music can have positive and negative effects  Shi yin – positive music, promotes harmony and peace  Chi yue – negative music, too noisy and stimulates licentious behavior (pre 1911 thoughts)  Playing the qin associated with positive and moral values Qin  Unlike other Chinese zithers, does not have bridges  Player is guided by 13 mother-of-pearl markers (hui) inlaid on the side of the instrument  May have existed as early as the 15th century BCE. Earliest manuscript from 6th century  Vibratom and lichazhou two types of ways to play it.  Jianzipu – notation. Not very precise. Still need a teacher Jianzipu (qin notation), very old and hard to interpret. No duration symbols, so the musician must reconstruct the piece from a mentor/ teacher. Qin musical pieces  Most Chinese pieces of music have programmatic titles  Titles which depict non-musical ideas, images, moods or events, e.g. “The Drunken Fisherman”  Traditional Chinese pieces usually have titles connected to nature, e.g. “The Moon Reflected in Spring”  Qin pieces have four sections: 1. Sanqi – slow, in free rhythm. Introduces notes of the mode 2. Rudiao – the metre is established 3. Ruman – slower tempo, rhythmic variation 4. Weishing – coda, important notes repeated MP3 number 7: “The Drunken Fisherman”  Four part structure  Video version a little different from MP3 recording The Pipa  Four-stringed pear-shaped plucked lute with a bent neck  23-25 frets  Came to China from Persia  Played solo and in ensembles  After Tang period (c.10th century) played by courtesans The Pipa Techniques of playing pipa  Harmonics  Tremolo – continuous plucking  Portamento – sliding between notes  Percussive pizzicato – string snaps against the body of the instrument  Percussive strumming of all four strings Pipa music  Many changes in dynamics and tempo  May be loud and percussive or soft and lyrical  Two categories of pieces: 1. Big pieces – long, continuous or with many sections 2. Small pieces – short with many sections Notation  Symbols for the notes to be played and the finger techniques  Like the qin notation, not very precise  Aural transmission still very important (from teacher to student) MP3 number 8 “Ambush from all Sides”  Very well-known, ancient, traditional piece  Celebrating a battle – military style  Performed by Liu Fang  From China, now based in Montreal  Performs all over North America and Europe “Ambush from all Sides”  Liu Fang – pipa Jiangnan Sizhu  Ensemble music performed in tea houses, especially in Shanghai  String and wind instruments, plus percussion  Jiangnan = south of the river (Yangzi)  Si = silk  Zhu = bamboo Instruments of Jiangnan Sizhu  Strings  Pipa  Sanzian – long-necked fretless lute  Qinqin – long-necked fretted lute  Erhu – two string bowed fiddle (Chinese violin)  Yangqin – dulcimer, played with two bamboo sticks  Guzheng – zither  Winds  Dizi – transverse flute  Xiao – end-blown flute  Sheng – mouth organ  Percussion – drums and clappers Yangqin, erhu, guzheng Musical pieces  About 24 still played for this assemble (never played the same way)  Much improvisation and variation  No two performances the same  All instruments play the same basic melody with small variations and ornamentation.  Heterophony- one melody that all the instrument
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