Chinese Music...Tan Dun Trying to thread a needle?

Ok, I’m pretty flexible when it comes to music. In fact I hate listening to the same music twice let alone over and over again. As far as listening to music, I’m purposely all over the map in an everchanging all-consuming search for something that sets off the right neuron exchange.

Luckily chinese music especially traditional chinese musics has been able to meet many of my needs, but I can’t find any other foreigners that are able to follow this pursuit…Are there any that read this post that might have the need to start a thread on Chinese Music that should be sought out when it’s available…especially thru live artistic or cultural performance?

I’m willing to hold down a strand if others can pick up and weave something together that will produce some sort of fiberous fill…anybody?

I’ll start by pulling out one name that I feel of important and that’s the Chinese Mainlander/emigre composer Tan Dun. Anybody heard his latest Passion of St. Matthew Cds?..

Why is traditional Chinese music so high-pitched and shrill?

You mean the kind they play at wedding and funeral parades? Somebody explained it to me once and I forgot most of it, but from what I remember, the old Chinese scale had only five notes or something like that.

I used to think if was to scare away devils.

Other Chinese music is very beautiful. I like that two-string bowed instrument. I don’t know its name, but there’s a blind guy that plays under Chungsan road sometimes. Really nice to listen to.

[quote]Why is traditional Chinese music so high-pitched and shrill?

My guess is you’ve been caught once or twice by a Chinese processional with a couple of marching suona players that are blared over a really loud loudspeaker. Meant to be frightening and imtimidating but it is great for marching…think of what you can do with a set of bag pipes. Also played during offerings and other daoist ceremonies. Many would say it’s actually meant to be shrill in order to swept out and scare spirits, quite effective if you look at other cultures trying to do the same in a shamanist sense. The people residing around you have a proud appreciation of their animist heritage. The trick is to get it so you aren’t asking why would they use or appreciate it and ask yourself how you can appreciate how they use it…

The suona is a traditional Chinese reed instrument which is similar to an oboe or a shawm and it’s meant to be piercing, loud, perhaps even obnoxious.