Classical Chinese Music

Chinese Classical Music, with Delicate Fluctuation and Artistic Conception(古典民乐)

Traditional music in China is played on solo instruments or in small ensembles of plucked and bowed string instruments, flutes, and various cymbals, gongs, and drums. The scale is pentatonic. Bamboo pipes and qin are among the oldest known musical instruments from China. Instruments are traditionally divided into categories based on their material of composition animal skins, gourd, bamboo, wood, silk, earth/clay, metal, and stone. Chinese orchestras traditionally consist of bowed strings, woodwinds, plucked strings and percussion.
Chinese vocal music has traditionally been sung in a thin, non resonant voice or in falsetto and is usually solo rather than choral. Al traditional Chinese music is melodic rather than harmonic. Chinese vocal music probably developed from Sung poems and verses with music. Instrumental pieces played on an erhu or dizi are popular, and are often available outside of China, but the pipa and zheng music, which are more traditional, are more popular in China itself. The qin is perhaps the most revered instrument in China, even though very few people know what it is or have seen and heard one being played. The zheng, a form of zither, is most popular in Henan, Chaozhou, Hakka and Shandong. The pipa, a kind of lute, believed to have been introduced from the Arabian Peninsula area during the 6th century and adopted to suit Chinese tastes, is most popular in Shanghai and surrounding areas.

Traditional Musical Instruments
Pipa (琵琶), four-stringed lute with 30 frets and pear-shaped body. The instrumentalist holds the Pipa upright and plays with five small plectra attached to each finger of the right hand. The history of Pipa can be dated back at least 2, 000 years and this instrument has developed from pentatonic to full scales. It has extremely wide dynamic range and remarkable expressive power. Liuqin ( 柳琴 ), a smaller version of pipa with four strings, which sound similar to mandolin. Liuqin is played with a piece of spectrum, and is used to be an accompanying instrument for folk songs and local opera. However, in recent decades, composer Wang Huiran made great contribution to its making and composed many pieces so that Liuqin also becomes a soloist instrument.
Sanxian(三弦), a long necked lute with three strings without frets. In Chinese, "san" and "xian" stands for "three" and "strings" respectively. The sound-body is made of round wooden box covered with snake skin, just like Erhu. A piece of plectrum is used to pay the instrument. This instrument is often used for accompanying folk songs and local opera. Sanxian is most popular in the north.
Zheng (筝) or Guzheng (古筝), Chinese zither with movable bridges and 16-25 strings. In the same family there are the Japanese koto, the Vietnamese dan tranh, the Korean kayagum, and the Mongolian Yagta.
Erhu (二胡), a two-stringed fiddle, is one of the most popular Chinese instruments in the Hu-qin family, where Hu stands for "foreign" or "the northern folk "in Chinese, and "qin" is a general name for al kinds of string instruments.
Yangqin (扬琴), a Chinese hammered dulcimer with a near-squared soundboard. The instrument is very similar to Santur, played with two bamboo sticks.

Well-known Classical Chinese Music
High Mountains and Flowing Water(高山流水)
Guangling Melody(广陵散)
Wild Geese Descending on the Sandbank(平沙落雁)
Ambush from All Sides (十面埋伏)
White Snow in Early Spring (阳春白雪)