Exhibition of Teochew Music & Opera

Exhibition Period & Time:
14th-20th June 2013
11am-7pm Daily

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ChaoYue-web

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Teochew music is a popular form of folk instrumental musicology in the Teochew regions of Guangdong Province, China. The origins of Teochew music can be traced to the reign of the Tang (618-907) and Song dynasties (960-1279).

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With the population migration from the Central Plains, the music of the inland gradually landed in the Teochew regions. The particular characteristics of Teochew music are the result of an infusion of inland music influenced by the local musical style of the region and various opera genres such as “Zhengzi,” “Kunqiang,” “Xiqin” and “Waijiang”. In addition, Teochew music can be divided into two main categories: music for outdoor performance and music for indoor performance. The former is usually led by percussion instruments like gongs and drums while the latter features ‘tone poem’; which is a piece of orchestral music in a single continuous section where the content of a poem, or a non-musical source is illustrated or evoked. The music for indoor performance includes ancient tunes played on pipes, often distinguished by its rich repertoire and distinctive tones; and defined as a form of “Fine Music”.

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In essence, ‘Erxian’ and percussion are the two distinctive elements in Teochew music. The melodies of the Teochew music are clear and quaint, exuding the classic charm of ancient Chinese music.

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ChaoJu-web

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Teochew Opera is a genre of Chinese opera performed in the Teochew dialect with over 450 years of history. Popular among the Teochew speaking population in the Chaoshan province, it travelled with our ancestors as they migrated to countries all around the world. A regional art form greatly influenced by Southern drama (Nan Xi), it integrated the Teochew folk music coupled with the unique intonation of the dialect to evolve into a distinctive new repertoire. It is also known as “Chao Qiang” (Teochew accent), “Chao Diao” (Teochew Tune) in the Ming Dynasty, or “Chao Zhou Xi” (Teochew Opera), “Chao Ying Xi” and “Chao Xhou Bai Zi Xi” in the early Qing Dynasty.

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Among the various characters in a Teochew Opera performance, the clown and female roles are more artistically and culturally rich in their performance elements. The special appeal of a Teochew Opera costume is that it incorporates the traditional art of Teochew embroidery. As for the music, the blend of various folk tunes, drums, percussive melodies and temple songs contributes to an extraordinary music arrangement and performing style.