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Musical featuring stone chimes staged in Guangzhou

2019-June-12       Source: Newsgd.com

A musical featuring stone chimes, an ancient Chinese percussion instrument, was staged at the Yuangang Cultural Center in Tianhe District, Guangzhou on June 6th, attracting a crowd of local residents and music fans.

A musical featuring stone chimes, an ancient Chinese percussion instrument, was staged at the Yuangang Cultural Center in Tianhe District, Guangzhou on June 6th, attracting a crowd of local residents and music fans.

Stone chimes [Photo provided to Newsgd.com]

A set of stone chimes, composed of several stone ‘resonators’ (like bells) hanging from a frame, was utensil for imperial use to play ‘elegant music’ in ancient China. With a documented history of over 7000 years, these chimes are the earliest musical instruments to have been discovered in China, thus called the ‘ancestor of all ancient musical instruments’.

Musical ‘Qu Yuan’ [Photo provided to Newsgd.com]

The musical ‘Qu Yuan’ focusing on the legendary life of great Chinese poet Qu Yuan from the Warring States Period (475-221BC) was written, directed and funded by Wang Suiluo, a septuagenerian music lover from Guangzhou.

Wang Suiluo plays the leading role Qu Yuan in the show. [Photo provided to Newsgd.com]

About 16 years ago, Wang developed a fascination and affinity for this ancient instrument. In attempt to make it more widely known, Wang and his assistant Zhang Jianhua personally made several sets of stone chimes and created the musical ‘Qu Yuan’.

The musical contains a total of 10 pieces performed on the stone chimes and a few Cantonese music classics. Over 20 performers participated in the show, several being Wang’s pupils. Wang, who also played the leading role Qu Yuan in the show, said he was very excited that more and more young people have joined him to promote the stone chimes.

Stone chimes [Photo provided to Newsgd.com]

About stone chimes

A stone bell or chime is usually made by grinding bluestone, and drilling a hole at the top for suspension. A single resonator was used for playing music when offering sacrifice to heaven and earth as well as ancestors, while a set of chimes was used for playing ‘elegant music’ in the imperial court. According to records, there were strict regulations as to the use of stone chimes in ancient China. For example, the emperor could hang stone chimes on all four sides of the house, while nobility could hang them on three sides only, and court officials on the east and west sides.

Author: Monica Liu

Editor: Simon Haywood

Editor: Monica Liu

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