Northern Sichuan Haocao Luogu 川北薅草锣鼓


Time: 2006


Category: Folk Music


Region: Sichuan Province


Ref. No.: II-27


Nominating unit[s]: Qingchuan County, Sichuan Province


Northern Sichuan haocao luogu(haocao gong and drum music prevalent in Northern Sichuan)mainly prevails in three districts and four counties of Guangyuan City, and that prevalent in Qingchuan is the most typical one. Qingchuan County, known as "the hometown of giant panda", is located in the northern mountain area of Sichuan Basin, the juncture of Sichuan Province, Gansu Province and Shaanxi Province


Northern Sichuan haocao luogu is performed when weeding the corn field for the second time or weeding the soya field. During the performance, one beats a drum, and the other hits a gong. The latter must be a male singer, and plays a guiding role in the weeding team consisting of dozens of farmers. The performance of haocao luogu can be achieved in the following steps: Qianxianzi (peasants forming themselves into a line headed by the male singer), Zhagaizi (the malesinger making a beginning with singing), Anwufang or Baiwufang (worshipping the spirits of North, South, East, West, and Central Regions), Shuozhengwen (singing led by the male singer in labour), Shuagezi, Banjiaojie, etc.. The representative works of northern Sichuan haocao luogu are Biography of Hanxiang, The Eight Immortals, Twelve Flowers, Herding Cattle and Fighting Tiger, Yanjiu Hammer and so on.


As far as rhythm is concerned, Haocao luogu by and large comes in such styles as seven-beat, nine-beat, twelve-beat and free-beat. Melodies and lyrics are classified into seven-character-verse score, ten-character-verse score based on the number of words. Among others, there are various melodies such as five-character-verse score, traditional lyrics orally from generation to generation, extemporaneous lyrics and so on.


In field work, Northern Sichuan haocao luogu exerts its role of directing work, enlivening the atmosphere and easing laborers’ minds. For its plain music style, thousands of songs retained, simple and sprightful lyrics with a mass of musical and cultural information in labor of ancient times, it has a relatively high academic research value.


Nowadays, affected by the modern mode of production, traditional mode of production and life style are out of date. In such a context, it is increasingly harder for Northern Sichuan haocao luogu to survive. It is in danger of dying out, as old singers pass away one after another, most of young people go to other places for employment, and qualified singers fall short. So, it is the crucial moment that actions have to be taken for protecting and preserving this art.



王绍兴 孟凡林 王爱民

Wang Shaoxing, Meng Fanlin and Wang Aimin.

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