Xi’an guyue


Xi’an guyue
Regional traditional music genre
Xi’an guyue (Old Music of Xi’an) is a traditional drumming and blowing genre which is popular in the Xi’an area. The genre includes Buddhist, Daoist and village styles. The Buddhist style is mainly represented by the Xicang and Dongcang bands in Xi’an city; the Daoist style by the bands of Chenghuang miao and Yingxiang guan (temples); and the village style by the bands of Hejiaying village of Chang’an country, and Nanjixian village of Zhouzhi county. The village style differs from the religious styles in that it has absorbed more folk elements and has a distinctive suite-form.
The bands typically have as many as forty musicians. Forms include ‘sitting’ and ‘processional’. The structure of ‘sitting music’ is very complex; usually the suite includes two parts with many different qupai (‘fixed/labelled melodies’). The leading instruments are bamboo flutes and mouth-organs, followed by zheng, pipa and yunluo (two sets of ten small pitched gongs hung from two frames). The bands use four different drums as well as cymbals, gongs and wooden clappers (see luogu).
There are two main formats: ‘eight-beat sitting music’ and ‘lay sitting music’. The ‘processional music’ uses bamboo flutes, mouth-organs, cylindrical double reeds and yunluo. It also has two formats: gaobazi and luanbaxian. Both use individual melodies from the ‘sitting music’ repertory accompanied by a modified percussion section. One of the most important traditional occasions to play Xi’an guyue is the pilgrimage to the southern Wutai and Zhongnan mountains on the first day of the sixth month. The genre is also played during rain ceremonies, funerals, the Spring Festival (i.e. New Year Festival) and after the summer harvest.
Jones, Stephen (1995). Folk Music of China: Living Instrumental Traditions. Oxford: Clarendon.
Miao, Tianrui et al. (eds) (1985). Zhongguo yinyue cidian [Dictionary of Chinese Music]. Beijing: Renming yinyue chubanshe.
DU YAXIONG

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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