Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Melodies of the Emperors

In ancient China, court music was so valued that musicians and their instruments were buried with the emperor after the ruler’s death. In fact, so respected was such music that it spread to imperial courts in Japan, Korea and Vietnam. But in the early 1900s, when the last Chinese emperor was overthrown, the 3,000-year-old musical tradition died out in China.

It was not heard again in Beijing until October 2009, when musicians from Nanhua University, a small private school in Chiayi, southern Taiwan, were invited to play the music at the China Conservatory, a Beijing institution that focuses on the research and study of traditional Chinese music. “The audience clapped really loudly. The instruments were different. They’d never seen them before, or heard the music before,” says Xie Jiaxing, director of the China Conservatory’s Institute of Music Research.

Click here to read this article from the Taiwan Review