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The Quyi of Ethnic Minority Groups in China

Introduction of The Quyi of Ethnic Minority Groups in China

China is a nation of 56 ethnic groups. in this big family which we call China, each ethnic group has its own form of quyi The Tibetans sing and narrate The story of King Gesar and have a type of performance called Zhop, which is mainly singing. The Mongolians sing haolaibao and wnligeer. The Zhuang ethnic group is noted for its fenggu(Bee Drum) and molun performances. The Uygurs have rewafukexiake and dasitan; the Bai people sing d3bcnqu; the Miao ethnic group gebaifu; the Shui are noted for xuzao; and the Dai for zanha. A considerable number of quyi forms are shared by many ethnic groups, and it is difficult to attribute Such quyi to any one group.

The quyi of Chinese ethnic minorities, as distinguished from Han Chinese quyi is prevalent in areas inhabited by racial groups in compact communities, using predominantly their own languages or dialects for the performances. The Changqu (sing type of quyi among many ethnic groups has unique musical instruments to accompany the singing. The taipinggu a kind of quyiperformed by the Manchu ethnic group, is derived from the drum used by shamanist priests. The dongbula form of string music and singing is derived from the Kazak instrument of the same name. Some forms of quyi of the ethnic minorities are sung in two or more languages as a result of the development and transmission of quyi through the ages. forhu, an ancient quviform, mainly created by the Manchu, uses a mixture of the Manchu and Han languages. Scripts written in two languages are extant. To this day, singers of wnligeer in the Mongolian language in areas where Mongolians and Han live together still use both the Mongolian and Han languages to sing and tell stories. It is a universal phenomenon to find that each ethnic group draws on the good points of others to enrich its own art and Culture in story, character depiction, image and theme. The same hero is praised by different ethnic groups in different quyi forms. The treatment of events and singing and dancing varies from one ethnic group to another For instance, Wu Song, a hero in Han Chinese quyi has his equivalent in Mongolian quyi. Also, the legend of the Tibetan King Glear spread to Mongolia and he became a hero in the Mongols' taoli performance, which is a Mongolian form of quyi.

Quyi in fact, has been a major vehicle for the transmission of the history and culture of many ethnic groups. This in turn has led to quyi laoply preserving the features of primitive art in singing and story telling. its aesthetics are simple and unsophisticated, and of value for the study of aesthetics.

The Story of King Gesar Epic

The Story of King Gesar was transmitted in the form of quyi in Tibet, Qinghai, Sichuan and Gansu, where most Tibetan communities have been traditionally located. Originally it was a lengthy epic poem about a Tibetan national hero, and its adaptation to the quyiform helped to root it deeply in the Tibetan community, where it was handed down orally from generation to generation. The Story of King Gesarepic has a rich diversity of expressions: singing, dialogue, explanations by means of illustrations, etc. When it is sung in the Tibetan language, it is accompanied by a lute made of a cow horn. Since the epic is rich in content, its structure and musical composition are rich or bulky in nature. Normally, only episodes from the story are sung by traveling minstrels whose function is to recount the history of the Tibetan people. (Fig. 1-22)

The Story of King Glear dates back as far as the 7th century BC. it attained its present form in the 9th century. There are as many as 100 volumes of the biography, running to 1,700,000 lines of script. Glear was the son of the God of Heaven. He was incarnated into the family of a rich and powerful headman to right the in justices in the secular world. Glear was an excellent horseman and skilled at martial arts. He became king after winning a horse race. He led his people to conquer evil and drive away demons. In his campaigns across the land he helped the poor and weak, and safeguarded the interests of the Tibetan ethnic group. He was highly respected and won great honor among the Tibetan people.

The performers of the epic fall into three categories: The hazhong is said to have inherited the art from previous generations of story tellers; the niagxia sings and tells stories concerning King Gesar that are laoply created by himself; and the baoZhong is said to have been taught the stories by a divine being while in a trance.

Leading singing and story telling artists specializing in the King Gear epic have appeared in modern times, such as zaba of the Tibetan ethnic group and Pajie of the Mongolian ethnic group. Other Tibetan singers held in great esteem are Cairang Wangdui, Sangzhu and Yumei. in MongoIia Luobusang holds the leading place. These men are regarded as national treasures since they are the guardians of an ancient oral tradition.

Mongolian Haolaibao

Haolaibao is performed by one or more singers, who accompany themselves on the four-stringed sihu It is a singing and story telling form of quyi popular in Mongolia, and dates from the 12th century. The Mongolian term haolaibao means to sing continuously or to sing a series of stories without a break. There are four sentences to a paragraph or section in the story. The rhyme is on the first word in every two or four sentences. The stories can be long or short and may be extemporaneous. The contents may involve an episode, plot or expression of emotions. A Mongolian artist sing the praises of a hero or makes derogatory remarks about something. He sings satire and exposes faults and in justices in a humorous way. These artists are adept at making comparisons, exaggerations, parallels and repetitions, using a rapid rhythm. (Fig. 1-23)

Since the start of the 2Oth century haolaibao has taken on diversified forms. A simple form is the yabugan, in which the singer makes musical sounds with the voice, and then produces words to match a tune. The second form consists of singing accompanied by a musical instrument. This is divided into huren haolaibao (accompanied by the huqin) and nahehaolaibao (accompanied by more than one musical instrument). The yabugan is divided into solo and duet, and further into narration, satire and singing praises. Examples are Phocess yandan, Chopn HU and It is Better to Become an Artist Themes from Han Chinese history, such as Wang Zhaojun, outlaws of the Marsh, and Romance of the Three kingdoms also performed by Mongolian haolaibao artists.

Haolaibao per formers are usually also practitioners of wuligeer.The best known modern exponents of this are Pajie and Maoyihan.

Maoyihan (1906-1979) was born into a poor farmer's family. He became the adopted son of his uncle. His aunt, Taolingboru, was a quyi Player and folk singer of considerable repute, and she taught him to perform haolaibao. Maoyihan also learned the art of wuligeer' which is a combination of Mongolian folk song and story telling. His representative works, that have had a big impact, are Hypocritical Society Hatred for officials and Rich and Powerful Persons, The Iron Horselfy The Tender Lovc of a Mother and Song in Praise of Huhehot Most of his performances have been published in Selected Wofks of Haolaibao by Maoyihan.

Dasitan of the Uygur PeoPle

Dasitan is a form of quypopular among the Uygur people, and boasts a long history. Dasitan is a Uygur term, meaning a long poem which relates an event. As a category of quyi(it has the basic feature of a rhymed story of great length. The reason why a narrative long poem became adapted to the quyi form with singing and story telling is that the Uygurs borrowed the big song cycle or divertimento from an ancient suite of stories called the Mukam. As earty as the third down to the seventh centuries, the Uygurs, who inhabit the Xinjiang region of China, sang Ahlu Ahoeah as a dasitan recital. This is a story about the exploits of a Uygur national hero, and since then it has become a tradition to use dasitan to extol heroes.

Dasitan is performed by one to three persons. The chief singer accompanies himself on the rewalU, dUtaer, danboer or sh3d8er (all stringed instruments). Meanwhile, musicians beat the hand drum or stone chimes. The performances are given at temple fairs, market places, tea houses or dinner parties. M3nasi, the traditional epic of the Kirgiz people, who are also inhabitants of the Xinjiang region, is also per formed and transmitted in the form of d8sitan. The leading modem exponent of dedn is Siyidi. The story of his life is Sung in the item Style the True Man.

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