Music to my ears!

On August 9, 2011, in Accomodation, Beijing, Shanghai, by Jack Li

Chinese Music started at the dawn of Chinese civilization with documents and artifacts providing evidence of a well-developed musical culture as early as the Zhou Dynasty (1122 BC – 256 BC). Today, the music continues a rich traditional heritage in one aspect, while emerging into a more contemporary form at the same time. If you Travel to Beijing or if you Travel to Shanghai you probably can hear some of the music described here.

The legendary founder of music in Chinese mythology was Ling Lun, who made
bamboo pipes tuned to the sounds of birds. The famous dragon dance with music is also a remembered tradition. It is seen on Chinese New Year across the world by millions. It is not known when the tradition started, but it is believed to be thousands of years ago, as entertainment of former emperors, royals and nobles.

About the Chinese current music; annual events such as the Midi Modern Music Festival in Beijing attracts tens of thousands of visitors. There was also the “Snow Mountain Music Festival” in Yunnan province 2002. The term “Chinese Woodstock” has been thrown around by Western media for these two events. Both draw sizable crowds outdoor, but the term is not quite official.

Chinese Opera

Chinese opera has been hugely popular for centuries, especially the Beijing opera. The music is often guttural with high-pitched vocals, usually accompanied by suona, jinghu, other kinds of string instruments, and percussion.

Instrumental Music

Traditional music in China is played on solo instruments or in small ensembles of plucked and bowed stringed instruments, flutes, and various cymbals, gongs, and drums. The scale is pentatonic. Bamboo pipes and qin are among the oldest known musical instruments fromChina;instruments are traditionally divided into categories based on their material of composition: animal skins, gourd, bamboo, wood, silk, earth/clay, metal, and stone. Chinese orchestas traditionally consist of bowed strings, woodwinds, plucked strings and percussion.

Pop Rock Music

Chinese popular music found its beginnings in the shidaiqu genre. The shidaiqu genre was founded by Li Jinhui in mainland China and was influenced by Western jazz artists like Buck Clayton. Other great rock influence is Cui Jan.  Since the end of the 20th century pop rock music in mainland China is experiencing a rise in popularity. The beginning of the 21st century has seen mainland Chinese artists producing a wide range of mandarin pop rock songs and the release of many new albums. Many popular mainland Chinese, Hong Kong and Taiwanese music artists were included in promotions for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

 

Hip Hop and Rap

Mandarin rap music gradually became popular in mainland China, especially in Shanghai and Beijing where pop culture is very diverse and modern. Although Chinese perform rap in different dialects and languages, most Chinese hip hop artists perform in China’s most popular language:Mandarin. Mandarin rap music has also been popular in Taiwan. Cantonese rap is also very diverse in cities such as Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. Try to get inmerse into the Chinese music culture,  and cross the boundaries of your culture in the China Tours experience!

Jack Li
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