The visible keynote of traditional music in Taiwan is that it generally reflects the diversity and coexistence of multiple ethnic groups, multiple cul... (Read more)
The visible keynote of traditional music in Taiwan is that it generally reflects the diversity and coexistence of multiple ethnic groups, multiple cultures, and multiple new and old appearances. They all have their own unique characteristics in heritage and development.
The tunes and music in the music culture of the various Austronesians are most abundant; however, their musical instruments are relatively restricted and simple. There are few types of music instruments, and most of them are associated with personal life experiences. The meanings of solo life songs are different among the various ethnic groups. Composing such songs involves their integration with ceremonial activities; various choral songs correspond to the organizational phenomenon of groups. The music culture cultivated by different ethnic groups or even tribes is unique.
In the traditional music culture heritage of multiple ethnic groups, due to their greater population and long-term control of political and economic resources, Han music introduced by immigrants from various places at various periods became very popular. Such music included folk songs, instrumental music, opera music and the music performed in folk performances. The organizational scale of the various music traditions was relatively diversified.
In modern Taiwan, although the traditions of Han music and folk culture are irrelevant to the traditions of agricultural social life and lose the kinetic energy of continued expansion, their meanings reflect the unique aesthetic senses of music and language of different ethnic groups. Therefore, various forms of preservation and extensive application activities are constantly being developed to become an interactive characteristic over time.
In terms of the characteristics of various types of music involving instrumental music culture, only the modern Chinese music has been observed to develop from practical experiences to pure instrumental music. Mutually penetrating developmental experiences over time can be seen in most of the other cultures. For example, the performance culture of Nanguan and Beiguan includes the display style and play of performance content and organizational structur. Organizations, such as the Tai Ping Song Club, have evolved their performance patterns with more stylistic freedom. The Han folk song culture, regardless of place or language, incorporated changes in performance patterns (a cappella and musical accompaniment), and it might also develop as singing & dancing and folk performances, such as plowing songs, local Taiwanese Opera, three-role Tea-picking Opera, and even opera music and the vocal music of grand opera.
The two major representative categories of Han tradition music are Nanguan and Beiguan. They both exist in the cultural environment of historical and far-reaching amateur music clubs, respectively. In terms of the social interrelationship between these two categories of music and the local Han people, Nanguan is found in harbor cities having close trade relations with Quanzhou and Xiamen, including Tainan, Lugang, and Monga. These cities have unique regional and linguistic characteristics. By contrast, Beiguan is closely related to the performance culture of temple ceremonies in various places and its range is broader as well. Beiguan spread from cities to villages. Hakka Bayin is another form of instrumental music characterized by strong style and specific tunes primarily performed in Hakka villages.
Appreciation of Traditional Music in Taiwan (Han Music,IndigenousMusic, and Modern Chinese Music)To appreciate traditional music in Taiwan, firstly, i... (Read more)
Appreciation of Traditional Music in Taiwan (Han Music, Indigenous Music, and Modern Chinese Music)
To appreciate traditional music in Taiwan, firstly, it is necessary to grasp the diversified traditions, appearances, and cultural characteristics. Secondly, it is also necessary to perceive the interactive relevance between music and life.
In terms of performance, the 21st century is characterized by an abundance of music categories and modern development resources in Taiwan. Various solo instrumental performances are being cultivated. The orchestras established under the support of the public sector (the Ministry of Culture) include at least the orchestras in three municipalities: Taipei, Tainan, and Kaohsiung. Taiwan has pursued developments in modernism since the late 19th century; the development of the Chinese music thus constantly priorities the core values of modernism in the creation and practical experiences of performances, interpretation and citation of traditional materials.
The creative performance of Chinese music, emphasizing modernist principles, uses traditional music in Taiwan and aboriginal folk song. In response to changes in modern culture, some types of indigenous music were viewed as derived from a heterogeneous culture of mainstream culture, while others were directly created for arts market as consumer products. However, the growth of consciousness and re-identification of traditional values developed in recent years among local ethnic groups. The aboriginal music has come to serve as keys to cultural life through annual ceremonies. The stylish and traditional music of various ethnic groups (e.g., the Bunun Tribe’s polyphonic music, the Atayal Tribe’s singing of historical songs lmuhuw, and the Paiwan Tribe’s heritage and development of ancient tunes and the art of the nose flute) gradually deepened through the self-interpretation of cultural meaning.
The folk song culture, besides the indigenous music, is mainly observed in the living circles of the Hakkanese in their heritage of performance of Hakka folk songs. Moreover, instrumental music is mainly in the form of Hakka Ba-yin as performed in Hakka villages. In addition, folk tunes are divided into two major categories: those of wind and percussion instruments(chui-da) and those of string instruments(xian-suo). The tunes of xian-suo are decorative in nature and represent the characteristics of Hakka music.
In general, tranquil and passionate musical styles are associated with the musical characteristics of two categories of music, Nanguan and Beiguan. These two categories of music are different, as indicated in their names referring to “south” and “north.” The differences are not merely in tunes or musical type, but also in musical instruments, orchestra organization, and tone and structure. Tunes for such different musical forms as Beiguan opera music, yiu-kio (refined songs), ku-chui, and xianpu, are played with distinctive ensembles of musical instruments. For example, xinlu is used to play modern opera music, while jiulu is mainly used to play traditional music. Tunes played by wind and percussion instruments are also divided into tunes for flute or Suona. Although Nanguan is characterized by three types of tunes: zhi, pu, and qu, the basic organization of an orchestra is “Shangsiguan (four upper pipes)”, including pipa, xiao, san-xian, and er-xian, as well as paiban. When specific tunes are played, then more musical instruments are composed.
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