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       Updated:2006-05-27      Text:Large /  Medium  /  Small  

Hua Xia Ancient Music Arts Orchestra

History of the Music at the Central Plains

Culture evolved and grew for nine thousand years, playing a significant role for China’s traditional music in the world history of music. The music of China’s Central Plains deserves the fame of a resplendent star, conspicuous in the world.

Henan’s music has enjoyed unparalleled development. According to history, numerous records talk about the music of the Getian, the original tribes along the Yellow River, the music of Da Xia eulogizes Yu the Great that subdued the flood, and the Shang people that “Dance constantly at the palace and sing contently indoors”. The music of Zheng Wei, the Spring and Autumn and the Warring States Periods, was most representative of the new-generation music, tirelessly entertaining the audience. In the expansive Central Plains, the vivid, enthusiastic folk music, well established, has maintained its dynamism for thousands of years.


The music instruments unearthed in Henan in recent years have drawn worldwide attention, because of the diversity and quantity. Especially, the instruments from the remote antiquity which account for over ninety-percent of the musical instruments found in Henan. They include the Jiahu Bone Flute, with a history of some nine thousand years, unearthed at Jiahu, Wuyang, the Pottery Drum and Pottery Xun, with a five-thousand-year history, the Te Chime that belongs to the Longshan Culture of about four thousand years ago, the Bronze Bells of the Xia Palace of three thousand years ago, the Serial Cymbals and the Fish-shaped Chimes of the Yin Ruins, Anyang. As well as the Chime Bells of the State Ying and State Guo and from the Western Zhou Dynasty, the chimes, bells, drums, se, xiao, qin and sheng. The instruments are not only of unique configurations, but also have diapasons and standards much like that of modern music.

The exquisiteness of the craftsmanship and the harmony of the swings represent not only the superior standard of ancient Chinese music, but the high potential for research and performance. The variety of musical instruments spread in every respect and exhibits the wealth information of music available to learn from the remote antiquity. Chinese musical archaeologist has always been the treasured, constant pursuit for unaccountable Chinese musical archaeologists and temperament specialists to have such an imitated performance made utilizing those fine instruments.





Selected Performers

In March 2003 we carried out recruitment to the public and, after strict exams and selections, 17 excellent players and 1 compere were chosen. We selected 4 wind instrument players for an ancient flute, a stone pai-xiao, a yun and a sheng, respectively;

2 percussion instrument players for a drum and chime bell. 4 stringed instrument players to play the ancient se, bell and stone chime.






According to our requirements, each performer must be versatile enough to be able to play several roles. Our methodology is used to establish a qualified ancient music orchestra as soon as possible. We have also invited well-known Chinese archeologists, professors on musical archeology, and musicians for rigorous technical training of our performers. The performers have been sent out for visits and studies, inside and outside Henan. In this way a characteristic orchestra was eventually established at the Central Plains.






Establishment of the Chinese Ancient Music Orchestra

The Central Plains of China, the place of etiquette and music since ancient times, features a variety of colorful resources on musical cultural relics and the long-lasting traditional culture. The astonishing melodies, if genuinely realized, are going to means not only high potential for the museum to continue the musical archeology and to keep pace with domestic and international standards, but will also have the incalculable social benefit. It will give rise to the pursuits and bring a more gracious image of the Henan Museum to the public. A number of well-known Chinese experts and personnel at the Museum have reached a consensus through repeated debates: establishing the Hua Xia Ancient Music Arts Orchestra under the Henan Museum.




In the process of preparation, we have received kind support and care from leadership at the various levels, in the Central Government as well as local governments. The Orchestra has also been warmly cared for by Li Peng, Chairman of the National People’s Congress, and the Minister Ding Guangen. The Party Secretary Ma Zhongchen, the Provincial Governor Li Keqiang, as well as other leadership at the Provincial Committee of CPC and the Provincial Government, have several times extended to us instruction and assistance. In return for the support from all walks of life and, to bring forward the folk culture and revitalize the development of Henan’s tourism, we will make resounding classic music. It has been silent for thousands of years. We will study the unearthed relics, which are going to be part of the collection of the Henan Museum, and make sure these are a highlight in Henan’s tourism.