Jiangnan sizhu (southern Chinese silk and bamboo music) 江南丝竹

Time: 2006
Category: Folk Music
Region: Shanghai municipality; Jiangsu Province
Ref. No.: Ⅱ-40
申报地区或单位:江苏省太仓市上 海市
Nominating unit[s]:
Taicang city, Jiangsu Province
Shanghai municipality
Jiangnan sizhu is the general name of "silk and bamboo" music in the south of Jiangsu, west of Zhejiang and Shanghai. As the band is composed of such silk and bamboo musical instruments as Erhu (two-string Chinese violin), dulcimer, Pipa (4-stringed Chinese lute), Sanxian (three-stringed plucked instrument), Qinqin (a national musical instrument), bamboo flute and Xiao (a vertical bamboo flute), hence the name.
During the Jialong period of the Ming dynasty, while opera musicians, headed by Wei Liangfu, created the Shuimo tune of Kunqu, a formal silk and bamboo music band was built with Zhang Yetang as the backbone. By using Gongche (the music notes of Nanyin), the band first played with Kunqu classes and Tangming drummers, and gradually a style of silk and bamboo music formed. Xiansuo, a new musical genre emerging at the end of Wanli period of the Ming dynasty, could be considered as the predecessor of Jiangnan sizhu. It was closely related to the folk-custom activities, enjoyed widespread mass participation, and was later formally considered to be part of the Jiangnan sizhu.
The traditional techniques of silk and bamboo music include the combination of complexity and simplicity musical passages, high tones and low tones, smooth shift in rhythm, and extemporaneous play, and as such embodies the characteristics of "little, slim, light and elegant". These techniques represent such social and cultural connotations as mutual generosity, coordination and innovation. Silk and bamboo music is from and rooted in the common people, so it is of great folklore value. Jiangnan sizhu boasts a rich repertoire, and traditional pieces include Zhonghua Liuban, Sanliu, Xingjie (walking down the street), Sihe and Yunqing (a festival feeling at a happy occasion), etc. Nie Er, a famous musician, once adapted Dao Baban into Jinshe Kuangwu (golden snake dancing wildly), which became popular all over the country soon; Bianti Xinshuiling (variation of New Water Tune), adapted by Liu Tianhua, proved to be famous and far-reaching. The emergence and extension of Jiangnan sizhu music are of obvious significance to the study of folk music history and the development of opera, folk culture and mass culture. Jiangnan sizhu music is one of the best representatives of Jiangnan Water Land Culture.
By the 1960s and 1970s, traditional Jiangnan sizhu music classes had declined. Since then, prestigious artists, many who are now over seventy, have passed away successively, and even worse, the music records of some traditional pieces are very scarcely found, so Jiangnan sizhu music is increasingly endangered.
陆春龄 周皓 沈凤泉 周惠
Lu Chunling Zhou Hao Shen Fengquan Zhou Hui

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