Chinese music [ç-]. The earliest evidence are clay rattles and bells from the 5th millennium BC. Chr. About musical inventions from mythical, pre-dynastic period report Confucius (* 551, † 479) and Lü Buwei (Lu Pu-wei, 3rd century BC Chr.). From the Shang dynasty (around 16th century to 1050 BC) oracle inscriptions on turtle shells and bones convey the first historically certain messages, including the names for panpipes, flutes, mouth organs, zithers, stone games and drums. During excavations, stone chimes, carillon, bronze drums and ocarinas have been found. The most important knowledge about the Chinese music of the Zhou dynasty (around 1050–249 BC) comes from two of the five classical Confucian writings, the “Book of Songs” (Shijing) with 305 hymns, some of which are still sung today, and the “Book of Customs «(Li-ji), in which 40 musical instruments are named and divided into eight sound categories according to their production materials metal, stone, leather, silk, wood, calabash, bamboo and earth. Many old instruments have been preserved as grave goods (stone chimes with 5–32 plates and carillon with 7–64 bells), and still in burial chambers from the 5th century BC. The skeletons of the players were found, later replaced by miniature replicas in clay. Court music accompanied banquets, ceremonial archery and processions and, as an important part of the heavenly and ancestral sacrifices, was a means of governance. Since it served the purpose of education and reflected the harmony between people, the state and the cosmos, the Zhou rulers maintained a music ministry with over 1,300 employees. During the short reign of the Qin dynasty (221–206 BC), many Confucian writings and ancient musical instruments were burned (213). In the Hanzeit (202 BC – 220 AD)) Confucian teaching prevailed again; 112 BC A new music office was set up. Music in the women’s chambers and military music were added to the four categories of the Zhou period. Gradually, Confucian sacred music (Ya-yue, Ya-yüeh) and banquet music (Yan-yue, Yen-yüeh) took a back seat in favor of courtly light music (Su-yue, Su-yüeh). Mutual cultural relations with neighboring countries paved the way for the “international musical style” of the Tang period. At the beginning of our era, with the spread of Buddhism, the lute pipa (P’i-p’a), the harp Kong-hou (K’ung-hou), the oboe Jiao (Chiao) and the bamboo flute Di (Ti) came across Central Asia to China. The music for military parades (Gu-chui, Ku-ch’ui) in turn migrated to the Korean empire Koguryŏ (37 BC. to 668 AD). Of the three vaulted board zithers Zheng (Cheng), Se and Qin (Ch’in), the latter is considered to be the finest Chinese musical instrument, the preforms of which date back to mythical times. This instrument preferred by the writers with the richest solo repertoire had attained a standard form with seven strings in the early Hanzeit. China is a country located in East Asia according to COUNTRYAAH.COM.
The time of the Tang dynasty (618–907) is considered to be the “Golden Age of the Arts”. There were ten orchestras for the banquet music alone, three of which were of Chinese origin, and there were ensembles from Korea, Funan, Kuqa, Bukhara, Kashgar, Samarkand and Turfan, who played the “music of foreign peoples” (Hu-yue, Hu-yüeh). Xuanzong (Hsüan-tsung, 712-756), one of the most powerful seaweed emperors, who employed around 30,000 musicians and dancers at court and taught in the »pear orchard«, one of the court’s two music academies, divided the banquet music into »standing« and » sedentary «music. This division remained until the end of the imperial era. Japanese Gagaku music goes back to the “sitting” musical style of the Tang period. In the centuries that followed, the splendid courtly music lost its importance and only flourished briefly under individual emperors of the Qing dynasty (1644–1911 / 12). The development of a variety of operatic styles through the amalgamation of language, music, dance, pantomime and acrobatics came to the fore. From the 16th century onwards, the highly stylized Kun opera (K’un opera) gained national interest. Towards the end of the 18th century, Erhuang opera (Erh-huang opera) and Xi-pi opera (Hsi-p’i opera) grew into Peking opera under the influence of more than 300 regional styles. The two-string string lute Er-hu (Erh-hu) and the three-string plucked lute San-xian (San-hsien) play an important role in the opera ensemble. Both instruments found widespread use at the beginning of the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368). In modern orchestras, the erhu corresponds to the violin; further correspondences are Zhong-hu (Chung-hu) = viola, Da-hu (Ta-hu) = cello, Di-hu (Ti-hu) = double bass.
Reform efforts of the intelligentsia after the revolution of 1911 were aimed at the preservation and continuation of the legacy living in the people, on the other hand at dealing with the results of European and world music culture. Progressive content was musically realized through both tendencies. In the 1930s, mass songs, cantatas, instrumental and stage works were created. With the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949, musical life was expanded as planned. The “revolutionary Peking opera” (alongside the mass song and cantata) remained the central genre; own and European traditions (e.g. with regard to instruments and harmonics) merged. In contrast, the Cultural Revolution (1965 / 66-69) rejected Chinese feudal and European musical traditions and interrupted the diverse development of Chinese music creation. The music scene was dominated by eight “model games” (Yang-ban, Yang-pan). In recent times, old styles have been reconstructed. a. from the Tang period and thus fulfills the desire for old, authentic music that has been recurring over the centuries. – Important representatives of contemporary music creation include: Wen Deqing (Wen Te-ch’ing, * 1958), Mo Wuping (Mo Wu-p’ing, * 1958, † 1993), Xu Shuya (Hsü Shu-ya, * 1961), Qu Xiaosong (Ch’ü Hsiao -sung, * 1952) and Tan Dun (T’an Tun, * 1957), some of whom now live abroad.
Chinese music does not recognize polyphony in the European sense, but is monophonic and heterophonic. Singing voices and instruments tend to be nasal, and in some areas too shrill tone. The focus is on binary rhythms. According to the myth, one of the legendary emperors, Huangdi (Huang-ti, 3rd millennium), standardized the dimensions and tones after his minister Lin Lung the keynote Huang-zhong (Huang-chung, “yellow bell”) had taken from the West (probably from an older cultural center in Central Asia). At least since the Shang time, a semitone-free, pentatonic ladder with five tones, each of which was the starting point for a mode, was formed by four steps from the Huang-zhong. In the Zhou period, a seven-step ladder with two semitone steps (Bian, Pien) was created by two further fifth steps. Like the subsequent dynasties, the House of Zhou set its own weights and measures and thus also its own keynote Huang-zhong, which has been calculated to be 346.7 Hz (f 1). In the 3rd century BC Described Lü Buwei (Lü Pu-wei) an untempered twelve-tone system with twelve Lü in one octave, which enabled 7 times 12 modes. In 1584, Prince Zhu Zaiyu (Chu Tsai-yü) published the calculation of the equally tempered tuning of the twelve Lü about 100 years before A. Werckmeister. Notation is already used in the 4th century BC. Mentioned before; the oldest notated piece of music comes from the Tang period. In recent times, a numerical notation has established itself.