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Chinese Classical Music


Chinese Classical Music Jeff Cribben HL Music Theory Period 6 Geography Rivers flow from west to east, including the Yangtze, the Huang He, and the Amur. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Chinese Classical Music

Chinese Classical Music
Jeff Cribben HL Music Theory Period 6
  • Rivers flow from west to east, including the
    Yangtze, the Huang He, and the Amur.
  • The south has hill ranges of moderate elevation,
    and the Himalayas.

  • Ling Lun was the founder of music because of
    the bamboo pipes that he tuned to the sounds of
  • The Imperial Music Bureau, first established in
    the Qin Dynasty, was greatly expanded under the
    Emperor Han Wu Di and charged with supervising
    court music and military music and determining
    what folk music would be officially recognized.
    In previous dynasties, the development of Chinese
    music was strongly influenced by foreign music.

  • Chinese Music dates back to the dawn of Chinese
    civilization with documents and artifacts
    providing evidence of a well-developed musical
    culture as early as the Zhou Dynasty.

  • The "official" orthodox faith system held by most
    dynasties of China is a panentheistic system,
    centering on the worship of "Heaven. It has
    features of a monotheism in that Heaven is seen
    as an omnipotent entity. Worship of Heaven
    includes shrines, the greatest being the Altar of
    Heaven in Beijing.

  • The Chinese government still has almost absolute
    control over politics, and it continually seeks
    to eradicate what it perceives as threats to the
    social, political and economic stability of the
    country. In 1989, the student protests at
    Tiananmen Square were violently put to an end by
    the Chinese military after 15 days of martial

  • Instrument Background
  • Traditional music in China is played on solo
    instruments or in small groups. The scale is
    almost universally pentatonic.
  • Woodwind and percussion
  • Sheng, gong, paixiao, guan, bells, cymbals
  • Bowed strings
  • erhu, zhonghu, dahu, leiqin
  • Plucked and struck strings
  • guqin, yangqin, guzheng, ruan, pipa, zhu

  • Strings are tuned to pentatonic
  • Belongs to the Zither family of instruments
  • Like the Guqin, but has bridges
  • Has around 16-24 strings
  • Picks are attached to the right hand and strings
    are plucked and strummed

  • The pipa is a plucked Chinese string instrument.
    Sometimes called the Chinese lute, the instrument
    has a pear-shaped wooden body.
  • It has been played for nearly two thousand years

Gu Qin
  • The guqin is a quiet instrument, with a range of
    four octaves. Its lowest pitch is about two
    octaves below middle C.
  • It has 7 strings, and dates back by legend 5,000

Zhong Ruan
  • It is a lute with a fretted neck, a circular
    body, and four strings. Its strings were formerly
    made of silk but since the 20th century they have
    been made of steel.

Classical Chinese Music Structure
  • Chinese traditional art music is
  • written, and largely utilizes a number
  • homophonic (generally a melody line with some
    harmonic accompaniment)
  • rhythmically simple
  • expressive, rubato, ornamented, and nuanced
  • mostly in just intonation.

Western Music Structure
  • Western art music is
  • written, and largely utilizes western staff
  • polyphonic (independent lines of music played
  • rhythmically sophisticated by comparison with
    Chinese, triple meters abound, and compound
  • meters also used
  • expressive and rubato, but not generally as
    nuanced and ornamented as Chinese
  • in equal temperament.

Liu Fang
  • Liu Fang born 1974 is a pipa player. Born in
    China, she began playing the pipa at the age of
    6. Her first solo public performance was at the
    age of 9. In 1985, at age 11, she played for
    Queen Elizabeth II.

  • Bei Bei is a Gu Zheng (Chinese Zither) performer,
    educator, and composer. She started to play the
    Gu Zheng at the age of seven.
  • The feedback that she has received as she has
    introduced American audiences to Gu Zheng and its
    broad and varied repertoire has been extremely

Shen Nalin
  • Born in southwest of Sichuan, China, Shen Nalin
    studied composition at the Sichuan Conservatory
    of Music.
  • In 1994 he moved to New Zealand and enrolled at
    the School of Music at Victoria University of
    Wellington, and graduated in 2000 with Master of
    Music with Distinction. For his Ph.D studies he
    is composing an opera based on the dramatic life
    and writings of Chinese poets.
  • He has composed chamber and orchestral music for
    piano, strings, orchestra, voices and
    compositions using Chinese instruments including
    The Mortal World for sheng, zheng, suona and
    percussion, and The Cold Dream for zheng, sheng,
    strings and percussion

Jeff Roberts
  • The compositions of Jeff Roberts unite his
    experiences as an improvising guitarist
    improvising be-bop, free jazz and Brazilian music
    and is a Chinese Guqin performer with influences
    ranging from American Experimentalism and the
    European avant-garde to Chinese and Korean
    traditional music, reaching audiences through
    concerts in France, Germany, Italy, China and the
    United States.

  • Many of his musical styles are with a combination
    of traditional timings and instruments in mind
  • Chinese poetry, in particular, is inspiring to
    Roberts, as he makes his music flow with the
    theme of poems also incorporating instruments
    with different styles
  • Picture Brazilian-Chinese-Folk-American-Jazz

Reference to the legendary Chinese Tang Dynasty
poet Li Po. There is an ephemeral beauty and
scattered ness in the imagery that I find in his
poems an observation of nature here, a memory of
a distant friend there, then a Taoist  immortal,
then perhaps a nostalgia from a past life.
Analogous to Li Pos wanderings in his poems and
in his life as a recluse poet, this piece wanders
Time Reflection
Having lived for periods of time within
different musical styles and traditions (jazz,
Brazilian bossa and samba, classical, Chinese,
among others), I have developed different senses
of musical time. These different senses arise
from the cultural and historical context of the
music. How one learns to listen to and appreciate
the music in the context of its tradition affects
how they experience musical time.
Current Stance
  • In Chinese music, Jeff is currently researching
    and analyzing structure in traditional guqin
  • As a guitarist, Jeff is involved in improvisation
    in several different styles. He performs jazz
    regularly in Beijing in local Jazz clubs and much
    of his time is dedicated to performing various
    types of music
  • Jeff won a Fulbright Fellowship Award for studies
    in China. He will continue his studies in
    Beijing, China on guqin with leading guqin master
    Li Xiangting,

Works Cited
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