Naxi Ancient Music
walking on the ancient streets of Lijiang Old Town,
you will undoubtedly hear the wonderful Naxi (also spelt
Nakhi and Nahi) Ancient Music, the traditional Naxi
classical music that is regarded as a 'living fossil
of Chinese music.'
Naxi people must enjoy special favor in
the eyes of the divinity, for they seem to be born with
artistic qualities and poetic minds. Great talents in
the areas of poetry, calligraphy, painting, and music
have all come from this rich and captivating culture.
A crystallization of Taoist rite, Confucian
ceremony, and the literary lyrics, poetic topics and
musical tones of the Tang, Song and Yuan Dynasties,
Naxi Ancient Music has developed its own unique style
and traits - the result of 500 hundred years of evolution.
It originally included three parts -'Baisha Fine Music'
(Baisha Xiyue), 'Dongjing Music' (Dongjing Yinyue),
and 'Huangjing Music' (Huangjing Yinyue), the last of
which has long been lost in the river of time. Played
on venerable Chinese musical instruments such as flute,
shawm, Chinese lute, plectrum, and zither, the special
music has the power to cleanse the heart and relax the
Baisha Fine Music: It is said that Baisha
Fine Music was an honoraria from the first emperor of
the Yuan Dynasty-Kublai Khan. When this brave conqueror
was on his expedition to Dali, which is not far from
Lijiang, he met danger while crossing the Golden Sand
River and received help from Mailiang, the leader of
the Naxi people. To show his pure-hearted appreciation,
Kublai Khan left half of his band and many musical scores
as a gift before leaving. Baisha Fine Music is one of
ancient China's few large-scale, classical orchestral
forms of music and has 24 'qupai' (tunes) which are
archaic, simple and elegant in style, and exquisite,
euphonious and energetic in character.
Music: This is a type of Taoist music which was introduced
to Yunnan from the central Plains during the Ming and
Qing Dynasties. Deeply rooted and widely spread among
the Naxi people, it became the most well-preserved musical
form in all of China. Besides its intrinsic stateliness,
purity and elegance, Dongjing Music incorporated the
local musical elements, styles and the skills used in
performances of the Naxi ethnic group-creating a feeling
of transcendental artistic conception and charming folk
flavor which can be easily appreciated. It was originally
an enjoyment reserved for the noble class, but these
shackles were eventually broken because of the Naxi
people's passion for music.
At least four unabridged orchestras exist
in and around Lijiang, and these characteristic bands
are famous for their 'three-olds': first, old men (most
of the players are over 70 years old); second, old musical
instruments (many are antiques dating back more than
100 years, some of which can not be seen in other places);
third, old songs (all are antiquated classical music).
Members of the bands are drawn from all kinds of occupations
including teachers, artisans, farmers, butchers, clerks,
etc. Naxi Ancient Music Bands have been invited to perform
in Hong Kong, Great Britain, America, Holland, Belgium
and Norway, exercising great influence and gaining attention
from all over the world.
Generations of national musicians devote
themselves to Naxi Ancient Music and make it a part
of Naxi culture. Music can represent a nation's spirit
and offer a better way to know the people who play and
enjoy it, so take the opportunity to hear it; it is
guaranteed to be an unforgettable life experience.
Lijiang Travel Attractions
Dragon Snow Mountain
Bend of the Yangtze River