A New Generation of Chinese Taoist Music

London, UK – The Taoist Music Orchestra of the Shanghai City God Temple has recorded a Cd titled Chinese Taoist Music (ARC Music, 2007). the music includes simple, solemn and delicate Chinese Taoist melodies with traditional wind, string and percussion instruments. It is spiritual and relaxing music (also suitable for Tai Chi exercises) played by Taoists of the City God Temple in Shanghai.

According to historical archives, the Taoist temples in Shanghai were built around 1100 AD, during the time of the Song Dynasty (960 – 1127). Taoist monks, however, would have appeared in the region much earlier. Taoist music in the Shanghai area originated at the same time and is known to have adapted the style and tradition of the local folk music of the greater Shanghai area or the so-called "Jiang-Nan" or "South Long River area".

During the Cultural Revolution many of the Taoist temples and heritages were destroyed. The priests were forced to resign from their priesthood and to abandon their priest names. Very little of the tradition was preserved. After Taoism was recognized as a religion by the People’s Republic of China however, the temple in Shanghai was rebuilt and young priests were allowed to once more embrace the Taoist religion,

Taoism, including its music, was originally taught from master to pupil, from generation to generation. This century the masters’ names contain one of the following words: Gao (26th generation). Hong (27th generation). Ding (28th generation). Da (29th generation). Over more than eight hundred years Shanghai Taoist music developed its own distinctive style and character: melodies with continuously rising and falling tunes, instrumental in terludes between sentences to allow the singers to breathe, and utilizing many traditional wind, string and percussion instruments to refine the pieces.

In order to better carry forward Chinese traditional culture and develop Taoist music, the young Taoists of the Taoist Music Orchestra of the Shanghai City God Temple reproduced an audio CD of Shanghai Taoist music, "Welcoming Guests from Wonderland". It reflects the spiritual features of these young Taoists who carry on the Taoist cause.

The Taoist Music Orchestra of the Shanghai City God Temple was founded in 2003. Carefully trained by the professors of the Folk Music Department at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, the members of the orchestra have mastered the skills in playing traditional music instruments. These include plucked instruments, stringed instruments, wind instruments such as sheng and dizi (Chinese bamboo flute), and Chinese wind and percussion instruments such as suona.

The publication of the audio CD shows clearly that with another generation to carry on, Shanghai Taoism will have eternal vitality.

Buy Chinese Taoist Music.

Author: World Music Central News Department

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