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Naxi Ancient Music   

naxi musical instrumentThe Naxi  (also spelt Nakhi and Nahi) are an ethnic group inhabiting the foothills of the Himalayas in the northwestern part of Yunnan Province, as well as the southwestern part of Sichuan Province in China. Naxi Ancient Music is a type of folk music unique to the Naxi people in Lijiang area of Yunnan Province and the traditional Naxi classical music is regarded as a 'living fossil of Chinese music'. Whenever walking on the ancient streets of Lijiang Old Town, visitors will undoubtedly hear the wonderful Naxi Ancient Music.

With an evolution of 500 hundred years, integrating Taoist rite, Confucian ceremony, and the literary lyrics, poetic topics and musical tones of the Tang, Song and Yuan Dynasties, Naxi Ancient Music has formed its own unique style and traits. The music is composed of three styles: Baisha Fine Music, Dongjing Music and Huangjing music, however, it is a pity that Huangjing music has been lost. Among these styles, Baisha Fine Music ranks as one of ancient China's few large-scale, classical orchestral forms of music and has 24 'qupai' (tunes) which are archaic, simple and elegant in style, and exquisite, euphonious and energetic in character.

The performance ways of Naxi Ancient Music are sitting and walking. Seated performances are a kind of chamber music that involves more than 20 musical instruments, including wind instruments, such as the di zi, lusheng (a kind of reed pipe wind instrument), guan zi, and percussion instruments, such as the zuo gu (sitting drum), war drum, du gu (single drum), big and small cymbals, big gongs, a slit drum, etc.


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