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CHINA – OUTLINE The Power of Music Transcendent: harmony in the heavens, nature, ancestors, and living humans “If the bells are wrong, the state is wrong” Order, peace, happiness, or war, chaos and despair The word means: music, dancing, pantomime, poetry, and pleasure Monophony vs Polyphony “Under the effects of music, the five social duties are without admixture [society works better], the eyes and ears are clear, the blood and vital energies are balanced [the body works better], habits are reformed [individuals work better], customs are improved, and the empire is at complete peace [state works better].” Yo Ki ( Memorial of Music ] “Traditional music and dance perfectly embody the humaneness and wisdom of their composers, who understood perfectly the order of the world and of heaven; one can create within oneself this wisdom by properly performing this music and dance.” Confucius Classifying Instruments Stone - A good example of a stone instrument is the pien ching , which is a set of L- shaped stones, sometimes jade, of different quantities and sizes. The stones hang from a stand and are struck with a special hammer. They are played only at court and during religious ceremonies. This is one of the two instruments we know that Confucius played. Metal - Includes bells, luo (gongs) and bo (cymbals) as well as trumpets made of metal. Silk - Refers to the stringed instruments. The stringed instruments can be further divided into two categories: the bowed strings (like the pipa ) and the plucked strings (such as the qin , a long, seven-stringed zither, sometimes called a lute). Bamboo - the majority of woodwind instruments are made from bamboo. Examples include the dizi (flute), suona (trumpet). Wood - This section includes a large variety of small percussion instruments including wooden blocks, boxes and xylophones with wooden blocks. The “tiger box” is played by rubbing the surface. These instruments are used during religious ceremonies, including the Confucian memorial ceremonies, which try to replicate the instruments of the Zhou dynasty when Confucius lived. Skin - Drums are often covered with different types of animal skins along the top or head. Gourd - A sheng (mouth organ), one of the oldest Chinese instruments, is made out of a hollowed-out pumpkin-like vegetable. It consists of a wind-chest and as many as 24 bamboo pipes set in a circle; it is played by sucking in the breath at the top of a pipe, while the sound comes out of the gourd body. The sheng is believed to imitate the sound of the mythical bird, the phoenix. Clay
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