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Zhejiang Opera Music


Zhejiang Opera Music
     Zhejiang opera music is an important integrative part of Zhejiang music. The major characteristic of it is that several tunes, in the course of performing together, developed into a multi-tuned opera. Those ancient Nan Qu (south tune), Yuyao Tune, Haiyan Tune and so on all hold significant positions in Chinese theatrical history. They used to prevail in Zhejiang for a time, and had great impact on the development of later tunes. The later tunes, Hun Qiang, Gao Qiang and Luan Tan for example, continued to be influential until today. Each tune finds its way into its opera with distinct characteristics, and after getting the particular brand from the opera, it develops further. With the rise of some new kinds, like Yue Opera born upon the early singing-and-talking music and folk songs of Ming and Qing Dynasty, Zhejiang opera music becomes even more rich and colorful.
     The major categories of Zhejiang opera music are: Nan Qu, Gao Qiang, Kun Qiang, Luan Tan and Tan Huang.
     Nan Qu was the tune of the early Nan Xi (southern opera, alias Yongjia Za-Ju or Wenzhou Za-Ju). "The tunes, added in Song Ci as lyrics, were made for the streets." (Record of Nan Ci by Xu Wei) In addition, it took in elements from traditional music (such as Da Qu of Tang and Song dynasties, Zhu Gong Diao, Chang Zhuan and Zhuan Ta), Bei Qu (the north tune), music of the minority groups (such as Fan Qu) and religious music (such as Buddhism tunes and Taoism tunes). The structure of Nan Qu was relatively free - just a link of independent singles. It did not have strict modes or metrical lyrics. It could be acceptable as long as it was easy for singing aloud. However, "only neighboring and close singles could be joint together as a cycle" (Record of Nan Ci by Xu Wei). The singles were suitable for all kinds of roles, but the major male and female characters in the opera generally used tunes whose lyrics were in the form of Ci whereas the characters with painted faces and the clowns used the tunes from folk songs. The singers could do solo, antiphonal singing, collective singing, or assistant singing. In the course of development, Nan Qu fully absorbed the strengths of Bei Qu and created a new form with the mixture of the two. Once it arrived at a place, it combined with the local music and gave birth to many new local opera tunes. In Ming Dynasty, the emergence of Yuyao tune, Haiyan tune, Hangzhou tune and Yiwu tune in Zhejiang was the very result of the age-old Nan Qu traditions joining up the local music and dialect.
Ancient music score books

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