Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ancient Chinese Musical Orchestra Concert

In Lijiang, we attended an Chinese orchestra concert comprised of ancient instruments representing over 2,000 years of instrumental music.  Instruments were individually demonstrated between performances and their music fully utilized the pentatonic scale.  This orchestra is the only one in China and has been recognized by UNESCO.  Check out the various families of string, flute and percussion instruments.  Five of the musicians are in the 80's and the oldest about 89 years of age.  We enjoyed the colorful, classic Chinese costumes and the old beards.

Some of these gentlemen can play in their sleep...and one or two did.

These two singers made some very interesting music. Their slap sticks would play at what appeared to be random points in the music, but actually were used to emphasize the poetry of their song. They sang exclusively from their sinuses, making them the envy of the finest cat fight.

This concert was special because of this guest performer. He is famous for helping to keep this orchestra and its music alive. He took them on a tour of Europe and America about 10 years ago. The instrument he is playing is an Er Hu.

These instruments are the primitive ancestors of some of the instruments we play today. Most of those seen here are string and woodwind ancestors. For some reason, brass instruments were not included in the orchestra even though they did exist.

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