What is Chinese Orchestra? History of Chinese Orchestra
What is Chinese Orchestra
Chinese orchestra (國 樂 “guoyue”) is similar to the Western symphony orchestra in that both have a conductor, full scores, and instruments grouped in sections. The Chinese orchestra, however, uses traditional Chinese instruments in place of Western instruments so the music produced by the Chinese orchestra has a distinctive Chinese flavor. The Chinese orchestra has four sections: wind, plucked strings, bowed strings, and percussion. The Chinese orchestra does not have a brass section and the Western orchestra does not have a plucked strings section.
Chinese orchestra is a cultural institution among Chinese communities worldwide and is considered a national treasure in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
History of Chinese Orchestra
The modern Chinese orchestra originated in the early 20th century when intellectuals, scholars, musicians, and education reformers in the newly formed Republic of China sought to standardize the myriad Chinese regional musical traditions and instruments into a single coherent national music discipline by adapting traditional Chinese instruments and music to modern Western musical scales, notation, and theory. See History of Modern Chinese Music. In 1935, the Broadcasting Company of China (中國廣播公司 “BCC”) established the first modern professional Chinese orchestra in Nanjing in 1935 called the BCC Chinese Orchestra and its first public performance was in Chongqing in 1942 where the Orchestra was based during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The BCC Orchestra introduced a few new instruments to the Chinese orchestra including: zhonghu, dahu, dihu, and xindi. The BCC Chinese Orchestra moved to Taiwan in 1949. In 1953, the new P.R.C. government established its first Chinese orchestra, the Central Broadcasting Station Orchestra (中國廣播民族樂團) in Beijing, and introduced several new instruments to the Chinese orchestra including: liuqin, zhuihu, yunluo and paigu, gehu, daruan, zhongsheng, and disuona. The Central Broadcasting Station Orchestra also rearranged many regional ensemble and folk music into full scores for a large symphonic orchestra. Today, Chinese orchestras can be found throughout greater China and in overseas Chinese communities around the world. While Chinese orchestra does continue to slowly evolve, its form is now well established such that the Chinese orchestras in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore all operate the same way and even share a common talent pool of conductors and musicians.
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