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Nanyin, a living fossil of music

xiamen.chinadaily.com.cn| Updated: May 6, 2019


Nanyin, dubbed "a living fossil of music", is one of the four oldest forms of Chinese music preserved in its original state. Also called nanqu, xianguan, nanguan or nanyue, it developed from the imperial music of the Tang (618-907) and the Five Dynasties Period (906-960) and continues among people in Fujian’s Quanzhou, Xiamen, Zhangzhou, as well as Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and Southeast Asian regions.

Nanyin Opera consists of three parts: zhitao, dapu and sanqu. It can be performed in two forms: tanchang (singing while playing a musical instrument) and qingchang (singing without playing a musical instrument).

It also preserves the ancient tradition of lineups for performances in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220)

Various folk music instruments are used in nanyin, including pipa, dongxiao, erxian, sanxian, pin (qudi), nan'ai, paiban, xiangzhan, sibao, goujiao, muyu and shuangling.