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Covering About History Stories By Great Chinese Dance Songs

Chinese dance songs are enriching with the history. After a long war, emperor of the Qin Dynasty in 221 BC unified the six countries, set up the first multi-ethnic feudal totalitarian country which was mainly consists of Han nationality in the Chinese history.

At the end of the Qin Dynasty, peasant upraised, buried the domination of Qin, and established the Western Han Dynasty, which was dominated by Liubang. At this time, China was in the rising period of feudal society, national unity and people’s life were more stable, and economically developed. National strength was stronger. Contractions of all domestic nationalities and connects between China and foreign had developed to a new level since then, especially the literature and art, including the dance.

Dance Songs in Acrobatics: Always Fairy Call

Acrobatics was popular in the Han Dynasty. The acrobatics included material art, hallucinatory performance, music performance, singing and dancing, and other folk techniques, as well as some other famous programs such as Huanggong in the East China Sea, which had some simple plots. Acrobatics was a popular form of the performing arts. A book Salt and Iron has mentioned that the civilians were fond of acrobatics. The play entertained guests with strange change of music and imitation dance.

Even the death funeral also has acrobatics performance. After Zhangqian traveled to the Western regions, western music and dance spread into the Central Plains, enriching the Acrobatics. Chinese dance songs were influenced as well.

The Always Fairy Call is one of the famous Chinese dance songs. It is a drama with a dramatic plot originally. “Changyou” was occupation artists who was raised by nobility and provided for nobility in the end of the Western Chou Dynasty (they were also named as Haiku).

Japan has described the actors as Haiku as a result of China’s influence so far. According to Xijing Fu documentary, the drama was a dance with the harp leopard, white tiger and dragon. Dragon was blowing Hu (a kind of instrument). A lady sits near to a steaming, singing a song, with a soft voice. Hongya (an actor in SanHuang) stood and played sword, wearing gorgeous fiber cloth. This is the description of the mask dance.

In addition to the Xijing Fu, there were other acrobatics as well. For example, Hexia song, which was described a hero Xiangyu, which described concubine Yu, sung,”

His power can pluck mountain/ His manner can cover the world/ However the wrong moment/ Still keep his ideals/ However he can do none for his ideal…” The song With the King Xiang sung,” Han soldiers invade manor/ Be besieged on all sides/ The king has lost his ideals/ How can I live myself…” The Wind song, which described Liubang, sung“Wind up and cloud move/ Stateliness spread and arrive hometown/ Defending manor on all sides with brave soldiers…”

In the end of the Han Dynasty, mainland was divided into parts. The song expresses desires that Caocao were looking forward to receiving talented.

For example, the song described Caocao, sung” Singing toward the wine/ How long is the life/Such as the morning dew/ Its time is bitter/ But it generously contributes/ How can we deal with the worry/ Only the wine/ The one wear in green clothes/ Hovering in my heart/ I am keeping silence for you/ Deer are humming in low sound/ I have guests/ Who are playing instruments Sheng/ The moon is clear and pure/ How can I touch it/……” .

A Friendship That is Magnified by Kindness――High Mountain and Flowing Water

During the spring and autumn period and the warring states period in the fourth century B.C, Lie Yukou wrote in Liezi Tangwen,” The Boya was talented in tamburitza( the instrument in ancient China). Zhong Ziqi was talented in listening. Ya played the tamburitza, expressing his goals in climbing mountains. Zhong praised Ya’s in thorough analysis”. No matter the goals in climbing mountains nor across the flowing water, Zhong could understand Ya’s themes or imagination.

One day, Ya and Zhong had a tour in the mountain Tai, they met a storm and had to stay under a tree. Ya felt depressed so he played a song. At first, the song expressed the raining scenery in the brooks. Then, it imitated the sound of the rising water and the collapsing stone. Zhong analyzed the meanings of each episode of the song perfectly. Years later, Zhong died and Ya never played the tamburitza any longer.

The song was called as High Mountain and Flowing Water. Besides, it was defined as perfect friendship in ancient China. Soon, the song also became a famous Chinese dance song.

High Mountain and Flowing Water and the story about Ya and Zhong can spread over more than two thousand years because they cover profound Chinese culture heritage. In ancient China, “Man is an integral part of nature” and “Forgetting everything” was fully reflected in the story. Moreover, “everyone to his own taste” was also reflected in the song. The song contained the highest level of unique China music themes. However, Ya’s High Mountain and Flowing Water is not in the world now. Although the descendants always praise the story of the High Mountain and Flowing Water, it is completely the heart yearns with no personal experience with the music.

The most direct reason that it can spread is the mutual understanding between the friends. When Zhong died, Ya broke his instrument and decided to play it never as a memorial to the deceased friend, and also for his bitterness and helplessness that no one can understand his talent in the world.

High Mountain and Flowing Water was recorded and reprinted in the spring and autumn by the thinkers many times. It couldn’t be isolated with its scholarly cultural background. In the pre-Qin period, hundred schools contended. The talents were not loyal to their country, and they travelled in countries, hoping that a wise emperor could understand their opinions and used them.

It was almost the dreams of all the talents for a thousand years. Opposite, only few of them could reach their ambitious. Most of them were underappreciated and unknown. Some might live in the mountain until the end of their life. Thus, the song could spread because it contained the beauty of understanding and the depression of underappreciated.

The Assassin’s Sense, The Famous’ Last Yearns:  Guang Lin San  

Guang Lin San, is a Chinese dance song with emotionally wrought up tune, born in the end of Han. According to Records of the Grand History of China, Niezheng was a famous warrior in spring and autumn period. At that time, Yansui, had a feud with the south Han minister, Hankui. Yansui spent lots of money to invite Niezheng to kill Hankui. Niezheng was thankful for Yansui’s appreciate. And he killed Hankui easily by himself. Then, the guards found Nie.

In order to protect Yansui, Nie suicide and disfigured his own face. The assassination of chivalry by Niezheng was the most influenced political stuff in that time. Other politics praised Nie’s contribution. The story becomes background of Guang Lin San.

Although the story has a great difference with the record in history, performance in Guang Lin San is still worthy to be famous for its cheerful plots. After six hundred years, a talented and smart man, Jikang in the Weatern Jin, performed Guang Lin San before he was beheaded by the crime of chaos. It spread the Guang Lin San again.

A Man of Great Ambition: Wild Geese on the Sandbank

 It is said that Wild Geese on the Sandbank is the most popular Chinese dance song in nearly 300 years. It had more than 50 kinds of existing music scores. Different with others, there are no popular stories behind Wild Geese on the Sandbank.

The first version is recorded in In Dialect Authentic in seventh years Chongzhen in Ming Dynasty(1634),” In an invigorating autumn weather, without wind, the cloud spread more than ten thousand miles, a large swan is humming. It uses the large swan to symbolize ambitions, expressing great goals in the hermits.”

Hermit means a recluse lives in the mountain forest. The literati who have retreated from the real jet stream in polite have found the last refuge in the forest. Since the ancient Chine, there is a saying,” Hidden in court if one is excellent, hidden in the society if one has ability, hidden in the wild if a talented wants to be peaceful.” Recluse culture has greatly influenced in Chinese literature.

It is difficult to be hermit absolutely. Hermits such as Tao Yuanming and Xie Lingyun, are fewer and fewer. Most hermits maybe suffer from worldly affairs or convicted for words, then, they have to recluse in the forest secretly, living in wild. In fact, it is their dissatisfaction and depression toward the unfair world and been unknown in situation. They are flattening in appearance, but storming in their heart. From this prospective, the Wild Geese on the Sandbank, contains ambitions to get fame and talent.

Ambush On All Sides: A Hero with Great Pity in History

In a Chinese bestiary, it tells a god who fought with the emperor of heaven but lost. Each time I watch the description, I think of a hero in ancient China—Xiangyu, who had great power and talent. If there is someone who can compare to the god, it must be Xiangyu.

Xiangyu had the courage and momentum that others were absent. He was a hero, the terminator of the Qin Dynasty. As the terminator of the Qin Dynasty, Xiangyu created many miracles.

For example, the battle of the great deer, Xiangyu led the Chu army against the powerful Qin army while other managers were scared of the Qin Dynasty. Xiangyu spent nine months to beat all the main forces of the Qin army, creating a condition to overturn domination of Qin Dynasty. The war in Peng city, he won Liubang’s one hundred thousand soldiers by only thirty thousand soldiers.

However, Xiangyu lost the later war with Liubang. He sung to concubine Yu that he could not meet his ambitions any more. Xiangyu committed suicide subsequent to the Wu River.

The history was transformed into Ambush on all Sides. Xiangyu and Liubang act as the main characters. Its music is high agitation and majestic, describing a heating war between Liubang ang Xiangyu.

As Dumu said in his poem, ”Winning and losing is not an issue/ To be a man who can tolerate shame/ Sons in the east of the river are excellent/ The resurgence will come in a day”, Dumu felt very pity for Xiangyu. He believed that victory and lost is usual in war. If Xiangyu escaped to his hometown—the east land of the river, he might be stage a comeback later.

Having had a meeting with the five Chinese dance songs, we have a superficial understanding about Chinese history. It is critical that the songs are born according to the ancient history. It is hard to assert that whether the songs create dance or not emphatically though the five songs above are the ones which lead to their own dances. We can sure that, obviously, most songs reflect how the talents desire to meet a wise emperor and to realize their ambitions.

In modern China, the Chinese traditional dance songs such as Guang Lin San, Ambush on all Sides, Wild Geese on the Sandbank, High Mountain and Flowing Water or others, are been ignored, dancers who perform foreign works such as Black Swan, Despacito and dance in hip-pop, will be more popular. I am concerned about the traditional treasures.

What if they are lost completely? There will be a vacant place in our history. Our culture will not be abundant any more. Besides, the weaker Chinese culture will be attacked by foreign culture. How can we keep characteristics in the competition in global diversification currency? Today, the more we neglect in traditional culture, the more repayment we receive.

Jack Smith
Jack Smith
I am a Chinese music lover, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share my passion for Chinese music with you. Through my love for Chinese music, I hope to connect with fellow enthusiasts and explore the beauty and depth of this incredible art form.


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