Well music is definitely food to your soul. There a variety of Traditional Music throughout the world due to our geographically spread area. For that, I shall narrow down to Traditional Chinese Music. As Chinese, we have a long history of music, I will say well over 5000 years. Music to us is like an act of communication between God, between races, religion, culture and even on social standing. Music in China is as old as time itself. Some archaeological digs dating back to 8000 years noted that some musical instruments are made from bones extracted from animal thighs. Later through innovation and through inquisitive minds, man has long transformed traditional music fashioned from rudimentary bones into instruments that are much more refined, more beautiful to hold and when played, the sound is heavenly. Even though I do not play any of them but I was given the opportunity to attend many traditional Chinese music concerts. I sat down with eyes transfixed as I see a cohort of musicians strung and played the instruments with unison to produce songs that awed many generations to come. To appreciate traditional music, we must know what are the instruments that create such soothing music. In general, traditional Chinese music ensemble is divided into 3 sub-categories:
In the western world, percussion music generally consists of drums, cymbals, marimba and triangle, but in the Chinese world, these instruments are alien to them. Chinese offer much array of musical instruments. The traditional music from percussion category consists of instruments from chime stones, multiple tone bells, cymbals, myriad size of drums and a gong. Since these instruments produce the loudest music of all, they are often played during the festive period like the Chinese New Year. Traditional music from the percussion category can be played alone. Take for instance, the famous traditional music of Chinese Lion Dance only consists of one large drum, a pair of cymbals and a gong. The drum takes the lead in the music flow to denote the cadence and mimic the character of the lion. When the lion falls asleep, the drum and the cymbal will be played gently but when the lion is about jump from one pole to another or make a dramatic move, the sound of the percussion begin to intensify. When a jump or a difficult stance has been made successfully, it will be automatically completed with a loud overture of percussion in a single tune followed with a loud applause from the audience. Sometimes the player plays the music to copy the character of an animal. I had an opportunity to witness when the play wanted to portray a scene of a tiger walking in the jungle, the player will open his palm wide with finger like crawls and slammed the drum like a tiger just walk passed the jungle. That is how Chinese play his music.