Buddhist and Taoist music meditation

Chinese traditional music

Chinese traditional music *) is characterized by its sophistication , softness , composure and poetic tuning , magical genre images of nature with sound-painting effects. It developed over the centuries (even millennia) both in the residences of Chinese rulers and Confucian officials, and was influenced by Buddhist and Taoist sages and poets **) meditating in the bosom of beautiful Chinese nature. For centuries, this music served as an instrument of intimate meditation for followers of Buddhism and Taoism - in harmony with poetry, painting and calligraphy (for some also with drinking wine ...) .
*) Classical Chinese music is mainly meant here. Chinese folk (ethnic) music is usually completely different - especially very diverse, depending on the geographical area or national origin. From Mongolian-type bifonic throats in the north, through Tibetan music in the northwest, Turkmen-Arabic music in the west, to gamelans in South Asia.
**) Early philosophical Taoism did not recognize music (considered it a disturbing phenomenon), but later not only Confucian but also Taoist scholars used the Chinese guitar, for example, as an uplifting tool for meditation and connection with nature. It is also depicted in a number of ancient Chinese landscape paintings, where a lone philosopher meditates and plays a string instrument in a landscape with misty mountains or a lake.

  This is the source of some motifs imitating the sounds of natureand also poetic names of compositions ***) - eg "Moon reflected on the surface of the lake", "Ducks in the reeds", "Moon night on the spring river", "Lanterns and the moon competing in glitter", "Autumn moon over the Chan Palace "," The scent of plum blossoms in the cold of the beginning of spring "," Dance in the cloak of the rainbow "," The clang of jade belts of the immortals spreading through the sky "," Departure from a world without grief ", ... There are common symbolic features with ancient Chinese poetry and painting , especially with landscape painting.
***) It should be noted, however, that (perhaps to an even greater extent than European music) there is no direct relationship between the title of a composition and the music itself. The same melody can evoke different (even conflicting) moods, feelings or images, depending on the context and subjective perception of the listeners and musicians. After all, the same melody is sometimes given under completely different names. Buddhism and the influences of traditional Chinese music have spread throughout virtually Southeast Asia, including the islands of Indonesia.

A small Buddhist monastery of the southern type

Chinese classical music sings about nature and the seasons, about high mountains, flowing waters of rivers and calm waters of lakes, singing of birds. Chinese music blows a gentle spring breeze between the branches of trees, the roar of waterfalls, streams swinging flowers on their banks. Dreamy voices of summer, the depth of a clear night sky full of stars, the moon reflected in the surface of lakes or in drops of dewy grass, falling snowflakes. There is a gentle rustling of rain and the roar of the storm, when "dragons roam the lightning".
Master Chinese music, despite its subtlety, resounds the whole symphony in our feelings. With the magical touch of beauty, the hidden strings of our being are awakened. Long-forgotten childhood memories return to us with a new charm. The soul speaks to the soul ...

Chinese musical instruments

The most commonly used musical instruments in traditional Chinese music are:
Flutes :
Ti - transverse bamboo flute ...
Hsiao - bamboo flute about 56 cm long, with 6 holes on the top and one on the bottom tent.
Kchou - chin - the smallest flute (whistle), only about 8 cm long with 3 holes, on which virtuoso Chinese players can masterfully imitate especially the singing of birds.
Hsuin - an ancient flute ("ocarina") made of burnt clay with 6 holes (one at the top, three at the front and two at the back), decorated on the surface with Chinese ornaments, mostly dragons.
String instruments:
Er - chu- Chinese "violin" with a hollow cylindrical body and a long neck on which two strings are stretched.
Chung - chu - Chinese "viola", similar to er-chu, but larger and with deeper tones; it also occurs in a variant called Nan-chu .
Pchi - pcha - classical Chinese lute with 4 strings and 23-25 ??frets.
Qin - an ancient 7-string fretless zither, an instrument of intimate meditation by Chinese philosophers.
Ku - Zheng - ancient zither long table about 1,5metru. On the longitudinal body (made of sandalwood and sycamore wood) the strings are stretched over the moving locusts. It is played with picks attached to the fingers. The pitch is affected by pressing the string behind the bridge.
(Note: the Japanese Koto evolved from the Ku-cheng zither ).

The most common traditional Chinese musical instruments :
Flute .... violin Er-hu .. lute Pchi-pcha .... organ Sheng ... "lunar" lute Ruan
.. Ancient table zither Ku-cheng ......................... .......... Cymbals

Other instruments:
- blowing oral "organ".
Suo-na - an ancient Chinese shalmaj (came to China from Central Asia about 800 years ago), a sliced ??instrument (similar to an oboe) with a piercing screaming tone, suitable for imitating the voices of birds.
Pa-wu - a South Chinese sliced (shalmay) instrument made of gourd and bamboo.
Yangzhou - a Chinese cymbal from Persia, its strings resounding with the blows of wooden mallets.
Bells - hanging ritual bells in Buddhist monasteries, gongs ....
Drums - one-sided and two-sided ....
Cymbals - brass cymbals large and small .....

Some types of drums used in traditional Chinese music

Note: Traditional Chinese musical instruments have penetrated, in addition to Japan, into all the countries of Southeast Asia, where they have become a starting point for the instrumental equipment of local traditional music. We can mention for example. Zither Kyageum (similar to Chinese zither Zheng and Japanese Koto ) dvoustrunnné violin Haegeum (originated from Chinese Er-chu ), oboe wafer tool P'iri or drums puck and Cang .

Chinese orchestra of traditional instruments

Some traditional Chinese musical instruments

I would like to thank Mgr. J. Chmelarčík , who is an expert in the field of sinology and musicology, for a number of important information, comments and suggestions that helped the objectivity and accuracy of the text, as well as better linguistic transcription of Chinese names. For more serious interested parties, we can recommend, for example, his work on the zither Cheng: .....................
Sound library :

Traditional Chinese Music - Most Important Songs
Starring: Chinese National Radio Orchestra. Er-hu solo: Jiang Jang Hua
Traditional music from Li-Jiang province
Starring: Da-Yang city orchestra
Moon over the lake - lyrical ancient Chinese music
Fine ancient tuning - the oldest Chinese compositions
Lanterns and the moon in glitter - Chinese lute compositions
Pchich lute solo: Wu Man
Fan-Baj - liturgical music of Buddhist monks from Shanghai
Psalmodic morning songs accompanied by bronze bells, drums, gongs and cymbals
Buddhist music from northern China 1, 2
Accompanied by zither , gongs, drums and organ Sheng. Musicologist: Tien Ching
China - Spirit and Wisdom
China - Many Faces A

cross section of classical and folk Chinese music. Recorded by: Shi Zeng
Nan - kuan - palace music of ancient China
Starring: Chan-than
Qin ensemble - zither of Chinese philosophers
Starring: Tai
Xia -lien Virtuosity of Chinese lute - compositions for traditional Chinese lute Pchich
Starring: Lin Shicheng and Kao Chung
Chinese instrumental heritage - the oldest and newest Chinese instrumental compositions
Cheng: Liang Tsai-Ping and Liang Ming-Shih, Sheng: Liang Ming-Yueh, Hsiao: Wong Chen-Hwa, Nan-Hu: Lin Pei
P'ansori - Korean vocal and instrumental music
Cast: Kim So-hee - vocals, Kim Yoon-duk, Chi Young-hee, Sung Keum-yun - puck, p'iri, chango, kyageum, haegeum
.... ..........- will be added
  The list of other compositions of traditional Chinese music will be gradually added here. However, some of these songs were recorded occasionally from older media or from the radio, so in addition to a somewhat reduced technical quality, I did not have the names and details of interpretation - I apologize for the incompleteness, or. distorted or distorted names.

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