The search for creativity and originality is deeply rooted in human nature such that it represents an inescapable and defining requirement of the human being. Since in man’s creative restlessness beats and pulsates what is most deeply human- the search for knowledge. A major issue in the history of china is its opera Extolling the great the importance of opera, it could be said that the Chinese by nature desire opera. Thus, making opera their delight and links it with their quest for survival.
Opera can therefore be said to be ontological to them or the existentialist parlance, it is part of their existentiality since man for them is condemned to creative works and performance. To Elucidate more on the History of Chinese opera and its effect on world music is why I considered the topic “An analytical exposition on the history of Chinese opera and its effect on world music” very pertinent as an effort in enriching our human culture and our existence. My goal in this study is not to probe into the nature of Chinese opera but, to evolve and analytical exposition on its history and how it has imparted an effect on world music.
The Concept of Opera: An opera is a staged dramatic work that is entirely sung. However, there are many exceptions to this rule. There are operas in which the actors sing in between spoken dialogue, and others that are semi-staged. Some operas are constructed with action scenes called recitative. Personal commentary or scenes involving inner thoughts and emotions are called arias. An aria is a song in which a character may share his or her feelings with the audience and fellow characters. Occasionally this is done in an ensemble with two or more singers and then the aria becomes a duet, trio, quartet, etc. epending on the number of singers involved.
Composers used recitative to advance the story while arias, duets, trios, and quartets often were comments on the action. In most modern opera, composers no longer use the structure of recitative and aria, but blend the two styles together to create a more realistic picture of continuous drama. Characters in opera are developed by the composer and given certain voices to best illustrate their personality and role. Opera is thought to be the single greatest art form because it combines many artistic disciplines into one.
The Nature of Chinese Opera; a Historical Survey: Chinese traditional opera is a comprehensive performing art which combines singing, music, dialogue, acrobatics, martial arts, and pantomime. It represents the culmination and distillation of two thousand years of Chinese civilization. A traditional form of stage entertainment, weaving together elements of mime, dance, song, dialogue, swordplay, and acrobatics into one fluid continuous flow. Gestures, movements and expressions incorporated within each performer’s script come together to bring forth an impressive performance.
In contrast to Western stage entertainment, which is subdivided into different categories such as opera, drama and sketches, Chinese opera has remained faithful to its original format over the centuries. By doing away with three-dimensional stage props and complicated backdrops found in Western opera, Chinese opera conveys the idea of time and space to the audience through the acting of performers. This simple and flexible technique is called “imagined time and space” in Chinese operatic terminology. The acting, however, is not mere imitation of movements in daily life.
Instead, it has been perfected to bring out just their essentials, making them highly-stylize and rhythmic dancing movements. Such acting is described in Chinese stage language as “stylized formula”. In addition, Chinese opera has specific costumes, facial make-ups, musical motifs and recitations to represent each character in the series of characters known as Xingtous. All this, plus imagined time and space and stylized acting, has enabled the story to rise above real life and create a strong dramatic atmosphere with distinct operatic effects.
The history of Chinese opera dates as far back as the third century, simple plays were performed as part of court entertainment. In the twelfth century, during the Southern Song Dynasty (1271-1368). The Yuan zaju is a landmark in the development of traditional drama. It took social life as its main subject matter and was very popular at that time. Guan Hanqing is considered the greatest Yuan dramatist. One of his plays, The Wrongs Suffered by Dou E, is still appreciated by today’s audiences. In the later years of the Yuan Dynasty, Yuan zaju was gradually replaced by nanxi, a kind of southern opera.
By the middle Ming Dynasty, a combination of Yuan zaju and nanxi, known as poetic drama, appeared. The Romance of drama, was written by Tang Xianzu who is considered the “Chinese Shakespeare During the late Qing Dynasty, a new type of traditional drama-Beijing Opera-came into being. In 1790, some troupes of Auhui Opera went to the Imperial Palace in Beijing to offer birthday congratulations to the emperor and other members of the royal family. They remained in Beijing and performed for the ordinary citizens.
Because of their efforts to learn artistic techniques from other local operas and to the taste of the Based on Anhui Opera, Beijing Opera, Beijing Opera took shape as an independent opera form between 1840 and 1860. Having incorporated the merits of many other local dramas, Beijing Opera not only appeals to Chinese audiences but is warmly received by people all over the world. In the course of the development of the development of Chinese traditional opera, mutual borrowing has taken place among various types of local opera and new forms throughout have appeared continually.
Recent surveys show there are 368 different forms of opera the country. Each variety takes its name from the place where it originated and is popular. The use of local dialects and unique melodies distinguish the different types of opera. Among the best known forms are Beijing Opera (actually a national form), Pingju (popular in the north), Shaoxing opera (popular in Zhejing Province and Shanghai), Yuju (a kind of Henan Opera), Kunqu (Kunshan Opera, popular mainly in Jiangsu Province), Qinqiang (Shaanxi Opera), Chuanju (Sichuan Opera), Hanju (Hubei Opera), and Yueju (Guangzhou Opera).
Features of Chinese Opera and World Music; A Synthesis: China is the home of one of the oldest civilizations in the world, and is also home to the earliest musical scale in recorded human history. For ages, Chinese music has been seeking a type of spiritual release, a doorway to vitality. It is like looking for spirituality with a unique dignity of its own. Now, we are starting to see the religious sounds heard from the pious and faithful people throughout Tibet slowly being infused into the beautiful music we hear everyday, bringing us a quiet, serene peace of mind, as it does not strive to be real in its physical presentation, since it is more to instruct than to amuse.
Courtney from Study Moose
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