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                Chinese Classical Music
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                Chinese classical music

                The origins of Chinese music can be dated back to distant antiquity. Approximately 3000 years ago, European music was experiencing its first rustlings of life whereas a complete musical theory and sophisticated musical instruments began to appear in China, owing largely to the orthodox ritual music advocated by Confucius. Chinese music is the body of vocal and instrumental music composed and played by Chinese people. For several thousands of years Chinese Culture was dominated by the teachings of the philosopher Confucius, who conceived of music in the highest sense as a means of calming the passions and of dispelling unrest and lust, rather than as a form of amusement.

                panpipesChinese music is as old as Chinese civilization. Instruments excavated from sites of the Shang dynasty (1766 -1027 B.C. shāng cháo 商朝) include stone chimes (shí zhōng 石鐘), bronze bells (tóng zhōng 銅鐘), panpipes (pái xiāo 排簫), and the sheng (shēng 笙).

                In the Chou dynasty (1027-256 B.C. zhōu cháo 周朝) music was one of the four subjects that the sons of noblemen and princes were required to study, and the office of music at one time comprised more than 1400 people. Although much of the repertoire has been lost, some old Chinese ritual music ( “yayue” yǎ yuè 雅樂) is preserved in manuscripts.
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                During the Qin dynasty (221-206 B.C. qín cháo 秦朝) music was denounced as a wasteful pastime; almost all musical books, instruments, and manuscripts were ordered destroyed.
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                Despite this severe setback Chinese music experienced a renaissance during the Han dynasty (206 B.C. - 220 A.D. hàn cháo 漢朝), when a special bureau of music was established to take charge of ceremonial music. During the reign (58-75 A.D.) of Liu Zhang (liú zhāng 劉璋), the Han palace had three orchestras (guǎn xián yuè duì 管弦樂隊) comprising in all 829 performers. One orchestra was used for religious ceremonies, another for royal archery contests, and the third for entertaining the royal banquets and harem. The imperial court had set up a Music bureau (yuè fǔ 樂府) which was in charge of gathering and editing ancient tunes and folk songs (mín gē 民歌). Because of commercial contacts China had with Central Asia, foreign music entered the country in the form, for example, of the Pipa (pí pá 琵琶), or lute (gǔ pí pá 古琵琶), and the hu-qin (hú qín 胡琴), a vertically held violin. Composers of this time modified and improved Chinese music because the foreign originating music influenced them to do so.
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                ceremonial musicBy the time of the Tang Dynasty (713 - 755 A.D. táng dài 唐代) the court organized the Pear Garden Academy (lí yuán 梨園) song and dance troupe which cultivated a large number of musicians. This then laid a firm foundation for Chinese music. Chinese secular music ( “suyue” sú yuè 俗樂) reached its peak. Emperor Tai Zong (tài zōng huáng dì 太宗皇帝) had ten different orchestras, eight of which were made up of members of various foreign tribes; all the royal performers and dancers appeared in their native costumes. The imperial court also had a huge outdoor band of nearly 1400 performers. Portions of Tang music are preserved in Japanese court music, or gagaku (yǎ yuè 雅樂[日本宮廷音樂]).
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                As with anything, traditional Chinese music had many different variations depending on the time period, region, and individual. Each imperial court had its own specialty. Each dynasty focused on different aspects of the music. And within each dynasty, different regions and localities possessed their own style of music. As with Western music, solo performances of musical instruments also exist. Some musical pieces are performed slowly to creating a relaxing ambience while others are performed very quickly to mark an atmosphere of excitement and festivity.
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                Traditionally the Chinese have believed that sound influences the harmony of the universe. Significantly, one of the most important duties of the first emperor of each new dynasty was to search out and establish that dynasty's true standard of pitch. Until quite recently the Chinese theoretically opposed music performed solely for entertainment, accordingly, musical entertainers were relegated to an extremely low social status.
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                performanceThe ancient Chinese belief that music is meant not to amuse but to purify one's thoughts finds particular expression in the cult of the qin (qín 琴), a long zither (zhēng箏) possessing a repertory calling for great subtlety and refinement in performance and still popular among a small circle of scholar-musicians. A famous Qin scholar once said, "Though the qin player's body is in a gallery or in a hall, his mind should dwell with the forests and streams."
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                Melody and tone color are prominent expressive features of Chinese music, and great emphasis is given to the proper articulation and inflection of each musical tone. Most Chinese music is based on the five-tone (wǔ yīn 五音), or pentatonic, scale, but the seven-tone (qī yīn 七音), or heptatonic, scale, is also used, often as an expansion of a basically pentatonic core. The pentatonic scale was much used in older music. The heptatonic scale is often encountered in northern Chinese folk music (mín jiān yīn yuè 民間音樂).
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                Chinese Instruments
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                music instrumentsThe Chinese believe that music is an expression of harmony that exists among heaven, earth and man, and nature has provided man with eight kinds of such materials to build musical instruments. Therefore traditionally, Chinese instruments are also classified according to the type of material they are made from. The eight categories are: silk (sī 絲), bamboo (zhú 竹), wood (mù 木), stone (shí 石), metal (jīn 金), clay (tǔ 土), gourd (páo 匏) and hide (gé 革).
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                GuzhengSilk - Refers to the stringed instruments (xián yuè qì 弦樂器). Silk instruments are mostly string instruments which can be further divided into three categories: the bowed strings (lā zòu xián 拉奏弦e.g. Erhu èr hú 二胡), the plucked strings (tán bō xián 彈撥弦e.g Guzheng gǔ zhēng 古箏) and the struck strings (dàn jī xián 彈擊弦e.g. Yangqin yáng qín 揚琴). Since ancient times the Chinese have used twisted silk for strings, though today metal or nylon are more frequently used.
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                Bamboo - The majority of woodwind instruments (mù guǎn yuè qì 木管樂器) are made from bamboo, which includes: the flutes (dí zi 笛子), the oboes (guǎn 管)and the free reed pipes (huáng guǎn 簧管). Examples include the dizi (flute dí zi 笛子), suona (trumpet suǒ nà 嗩吶).
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                xunWood - This section includes a large variety of small percussion instruments (dǎ jī yuè qì 打擊樂器) including wooden blocks (zhù 柷), boxes (yǔ 敔)and xylophones (mù qín 木琴) with wooden blocks. These were used by Buddhist monks (fó jiào sēng lǚ 佛教僧侶) during religious ceremonies.
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                Stone - The "stone" category comprises various forms of stone chimes, for example, Bianqing (biān qìng 編磬).
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                Metal - Includes Bells (zhōng 鐘), Luo (gongs luó 鑼) and Bo (cymbals bó 鈸).
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                Clay - The ocarina (xūn 塤), a small, egg-shaped wind instrument (guǎn yuè qì 管樂器with six holes for the finger tips) made of clay.
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                HulusiGourd – The most famous “Gourd” are Sheng and Hulusi (hú lú sī 葫蘆絲). A sheng (mouth organ kǒu qín 口琴) is one of the oldest Chinese instruments made out of hollowed-out pumpkin-like vegetables. It consists of a wind-chest (fēng xiāng 風箱) and a number of bamboo pipes set in a circle. The sheng imitates the sound of a phoenix.
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                Hide - Drums (gǔ 鼓) are often covered with different types of animal skins along the top or head.
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                The variations of rhythm, beat, tone quality, and embellishments in Chinese music are highly distinctive and unlike their Western counterparts. This is mainly due to the unique sounds and playing styles of traditional Chinese musical instruments.
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                BianzhongMost Chinese instruments are performed as solo (dú zòu 獨奏) form as well as a part of an ensemble (hé zòu 合奏) or orchestra. A Chinese orchestra is a mixture of many cultural traditions. Similar to a western philharmonic orchestra (jiāo xiǎng yuè 交響樂), a full Chinese orchestra is made up of four sections as below:
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                Plucked-strings - Pipa, Liuqin (liǔ qín 柳琴), Yangqin, Ruan (ruǎn 阮), Yueqin (yuè qín 月琴), Guzheng, Guqin (gǔ qín 古琴), Sanxian (sān xián 三弦), etc.
                Bowed-strings - Erhu, Jinghu (jīng hú 京胡), Gaohu (gāo hú 高胡), Gehu (gé hú 革胡), Banhu (bǎn hú 板胡), Matouqin (mǎ tóu qín 馬頭琴), etc.
                Blown Woodwind instruments - Dizi, Xiao (xiāo 簫), Guan, Xun (xūn 塤), Souna, Sheng, etc.
                Percussion instruments - Bangu (bǎn gǔ 板鼓), Bo, Bianzhong (biān zhōng 編鐘), Tanggu (táng gǔ 堂鼓), Muyu (mù yú 木魚), Luo, Yunluo (yún luó 云鑼), etc.
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                中國古典音樂
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                ????? 中國古典音樂發展久遠,最早可追溯至黃帝時期,當時就有音樂作品的記載,而周朝制定六藝“禮、樂、射、御、書、數”中,樂也占了重要的地位。這里所說的 “樂”并不是單獨用樂隊來演奏的樂曲。而是與舞蹈同時進行的古典音樂,古代稱“樂舞”,另一種古典音樂用于祭祀和慶典的專用音樂,古代叫“雅樂”。到了唐 朝更高立“樂府”專司其職,至于樂器的出現也始于遠古時期。中國的古典音樂更為世界三大樂系之一,而東方國家的諸多音樂,若考證其本源的話。也都可以歸屬 于中國古典音樂體系之下,可見其歷史的悠遠及輝煌是不能讓人輕易忽視的。
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                ????? 中國古典音樂的樂律相傳皇帝命伶倫律呂,同時按音律,鑄鐘十二件,以和五音,古代史書上稱之為“五音十二律”。到了周代,典藉記載:“五音十二律”已完全 確立。中國遠古時代的古典音樂,是五聲音階。到了周代,增加了“變徵”(Fa)和“變宮”(Si),形成七聲音階,因為當時“三分損益法”,已經日臻完 善,使五音十二律用于實際的音樂活動之中。五音:宮、商、角、徵、羽,約等于簡譜:1、2、3、5、6
                ????? 十二律又分為:
                --陽聲六律--黃鐘、太簇,約等于簡譜--1、2;姑洗、蕤賓、耒則、無射。3、#4、#5、
                --陰聲六呂--林鐘、南呂、約等于簡譜--5、6;應鐘、大呂、夾鐘、中呂。7、#1、2、3
                --七律:宮、商、角,約等簡譜:1、2、3;變徽、徽、羽、變宮、宮。4、5、6、7

                Bianzhong

                ????? 中國民族樂器,歷史悠久,源遠流長。僅從己出土的文物可證實:遠在先秦時期,就有了多種多樣的樂器。如新石器時代文化遺址浙江河姆渡出土的骨哨,仰韶文化 遺址西安半坡村出土的塤,河南安陽殷墟中出土的石磬、木腔蟒皮鼓;湖北隨縣曾侯乙墓(公元前433年入葬)出土的編鐘、編磬、懸鼓、建鼓、枹鼓、排簫、 笙、箎、瑟等等。這些古樂器向人們展示了中華民族的智慧和創造力。

                ????? 先秦時期的樂器,見于文獻記載的有近70種。僅在《詩經》一書中提及的即有29種,打擊樂器有鼓、鐘、鉦、磬、缶、鈴等21種,吹奏樂器有簫、管、塤、笙 等6種,彈弦樂器有琴、瑟等2種。由于樂器品種的大大增加,于是在周代時產生了根據制作樂器的不同材料而分為:金、石、土、革、絲、木、匏、竹八類,稱作 “八音”分類法。
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                ????? 在湖北隨縣曾侯乙大墓的地下音樂殿堂中,保存了124件古樂器。無論是重達五千多斤的樂器巨人——64件編鐘,或是在造型、制作和彩繪都很精致的鼓、排簫、笙、瑟等,都向我們揭示了春秋戰國時中國音樂文化高度發展的狀況,它是中國古代樂器光輝創造的見證。
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                Liuqin???? 自秦漢以來,又不斷涌現出新樂器。如秦時出現了一種新型的彈弦樂器——“百姓弦鼗(táo)而鼓之”。弦鼗是一種圓形音箱、直柄的琵琶,后至漢代發展成四弦十二柱的“漢琵琶”,又稱“阮咸”。
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                ????? 中華民族是一個善于吸收的民族,自漢以來,廣泛吸收了大量的外來樂器。如漢武帝(公元前140—前87年)時張騫通西域時傳入的橫吹(亦稱橫笛);漢靈帝 時傳入豎箜篌(曾稱胡箜篌;約在公元350年前后的東晉時,從新疆、甘肅一帶傳入了“曲項琵琶”,明代傳入了揚琴和嗩吶等。這些外來樂器,經過不斷地改 進,使它們逐漸成為中國民族樂器大家族中的重要成員。
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                ????? 在中國樂器發展史中,值得注意的是拉弦樂器的出現大大晚于打擊樂器、吹管樂器和彈弦樂器。據文獻記載,唐代(公元618—907年)才出現以竹片軋之的 “軋箏”和“奚琴”(在宋時作“嵇琴”)。宋時的嵇琴用馬尾弓拉奏,并出現了“胡琴”的名稱。如宋沈括在他的《夢溪筆談》中云:“馬尾胡琴隨漢車,曲聲猶 如怨單于。”自元代之后,在奚琴、胡琴的基礎上發展成各種類型的拉弦樂器。
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                ????? 中國的“吹、打、彈、拉”四大類樂器,經歷了漫長的歷史階段,對傳統樂器的音質不純、音律不統一、音量不平衡、轉調不方便、固定音高樂器之間的音高標準不統一、在綜合樂隊中缺少中低音樂器等不足方面,進行了大量的探索和改革,取得了很大成果。
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                八音
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                ????? 中國傳統器樂吹打樂的一種。原為中國古代樂器分類法的名稱,西周時已將當時的樂器按制作材料,分為金(鐘 、鎛)、石(磬)、絲(琴、瑟)、竹(簫、箎)、匏(笙 、竽)、土(塤、缶)、革(鼗、雷鼓)、木(柷、敔)8類。
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                Drum????? 八音也指民間器樂樂種 。如山西五臺山一帶的八音會,所用樂器有管子、嗩吶、海笛、笙、梅笛、簫、堂鼓、小鼓、大镲、小镲、大鑼、云鑼等;廣西壯族的隆林八音樂隊,使用的樂器共 有 8 件,它們是:橫簫(笛子)一對,高胡、二胡各一把,小三弦一把,鑼、鼓、鈸各一副;海南地區流行的海南八音源于潮州音樂,因使用 8 類樂器而得名,即:弦(二胡、椰胡)、琴(月琴、揚琴、三弦)、笛( 嗩吶 )、管(長、短喉管)、簫(橫簫、直簫、洞簫)、鑼、鼓、鈸等;彝族八音所用樂器有二胡、環簫(無膜笛)各一對,以及牛角胡、五鍟(小鑼)、鼓、鈸等;仡 佬族八音又名八仙,所用樂器有二胡、橫簫(笛)各一對和五鍟、鑼、鼓、鈸等。
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