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Sichuan Qingyin(Arias Sung Without Makeup or Musical Accompaniment)

In the early days, this form of aria was called changxiaoqu (small tunes). it also had other names according to whether the performer uses a yueqin, a four-stringed plucked instrument with a full-moon-shaped sound box, or a pipa as accompaniment. Since the 1950s, Sichuan qingyin has been formally used as the proper term to designate arias sung in the Sichuan dialect. These are popular in cities and rural areas around Chengdu, the capital of the province, as well as on the wharves and in the port cities along the Yangtze River.

Sichuan qingyin developed from popular songs and ditties of the Ming and Qing dynasties as well as from Sichuan folk songs. Rich in melodies, there are over 100 items in the repertoire. The composition of vocal music is divided into qupai and banqiang The traditional way of singing Sichuan qingyin is for the performer to sit at a table, facing the audience. The singer is usually a woman, and she is flanked by a Weqin or pipa player on the left and by a player of the wanwanqin (a bowl- shaped plucked instrument), erhu (a two-stringed bowed instrument) or xisohuqin (a small stringed instrument) on the right. The performances tend to take place in tea houses and theaters.

There are also itinerant singers who offer performances in the street or in hotel lobbies, especially after the mid-Qing Dynasty. Amateurs calling themselves "friends of qingyin" became a common sight, singing arias and playing the ptoa or yueqin. Some achieved considerable Success with high levels of attainment. Organizations of amateurs promoted the development of the Sichuan quyi in no small measure. in the 1960s and 196Os the sitting posture was replaced by a standing posture. The singers who performed in theaters, beat their own drums, made of bamboo and snake skin, or shook wooden clappers accompanied by small bands of musicians playing such instruments as pipa, gaohu, erhu, and Zhonghu. The musicians played minor roles and joined in the choruses. There is an extensive repertoire of traditional themes in Sichuan qingyin, including Zhaojun Crosscs the Frontisr, The Nun Leaves Her Mountain Convent, The Broken Brtw Daiyu Burns Her Poems and flying KHes. Contemporary themes are also prominent, in such items as The Cuckoo sings and on the Sixth day of the Sixth Month.

Well Known Sichuan Qingyin Sinqers; Li Yueqiu and Cheng Yongling

Chengdu is described by the Qing Dynasty writer Wu Haoshan in his Folk Songs of chegh as follows: "The famous metropolis (Chengdu) is truly prosperous. There are no less than 200,000 households. Aligned in good order are over 400 streets. Here, singing and the plucking of instruments are heard discordantly at night."

A leading example of Chengdu's qingyin artists is Li Yueqiu. Born in Chengdu in 1925, she began to study qingyin at the age of 7. She made her debut in tea houses and storytelling theaters at the age of 12, and became very popular ln the 1950s she became a member of the Chengdu Quyi Theatrical Group. She specializes in singing The Embroidered small Bag The Autumn River and The Nun Leaves Her Mountain Convent In 1957 she attended the Sixth World Youth Festival in Moscow, where she's won a gold medal for her renditions of flying Kites and Remembering E Lang Li Yueqiu sings beautifully and gracefully, with a rich and clear voice. She conveys emotions that are highly touching.

Cheng Yongling, born in 1947, is a native of jiangjin, Sichuan. She began to study quyi at the Chengdu City Theatrical School under Li Yueqiu in 1958. After graduation, she joined the Chengdu City Quyi Theatrical Group as a qingyin singer Well acquainted with popular tunes, she has a sweet, elegant and exquisite voice. She sings in the style of Li Yueqiu, while keeping her own unique qualities. She attended the international Art Festival held in Yugoslavia, and gave performances in Austria, being held in great esteem in both places. At present, she is the leading qingyin singer in Sichuan and has an international reputation.

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