The origins of Chinese music can be traced back to distant antiquity. Around 3,000 years ago, when European music was just experiencing its first rustlings of life, a complete musical theory and sophisticated musical instruments began appearing in China, owing largely to the orthodox ritual music advocated by Confucius. By the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.), the imperial court set up a Music Bureau, which was in charge of collecting and editing ancient tunes and folk songs. Because of commercial contacts with Central Asia, foreign music entered China in the form, for example, of the p'i-p'a , or lute, and the hu-ch'in , a vertically-held violin. Influenced by this foreign-originating music, composers of the time modified and improved Chinese music. By the time of Emperor Hsuan Tsung (r. 713-755 A.D.) of the T'ang Dynasty, the court organized the Pear Garden Academy song and dance troupe, cultivating a large number of musicians, and thus laying a firm foundation for Chinese music.

Art of Chinese Opera

The Internet Chinese
Music Archive

Chinese Music 


Compiled by: Glenn Welker

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