Discover Chinese Traditional Music!

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An introduction to Chinese traditional music


Chinese music has been made since the dawn of Chinese civilization with documents and artifacts providing evidence of a well-developed musical culture as early as the Zhou Dynasty (1122 BC – 256 BC). Today, the music continues a rich traditional heritage in one aspect, while emerging into a more contemporary form at the same time.

Traditional music in China is played on solo instruments or in small ensembles of plucked and bowed stringed instruments, flutes, and various cymbals, gongs, and drums. The scale is pentatonic. Bamboo pipes and qin are among the oldest known musical instruments from China; instruments are traditionally divided into categories based on their material of composition: animal skins, gourd, bamboo, wood, silk, earth/clay, metal, and stone. Chinese orchestras traditionally consist of bowed strings, woodwinds, plucked strings and percussion.

Read more on traditional music or on Chinese Opera music.

Watch a Chinese Opera

Listen to Chinese Traditional Artists

Learn more about Chinese instruments


This is a Konghou, part of the Silk family.

Read more about instruments used in China and the individual categorization of the 8 tones.

Listen to famous traditional songs

Read more about the song Song of Joy

Chinese Traditional Groups (a brief list)

Amrita Ensemble, China National Music Orchestra, Chongqing Municipal Song and Dance Ensemble, Forbidden City Chamber Orchestra, Guangzhou Song and Dance Company, Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, Huanghe Children's Arts Troupe of Gansu Province, Jiebing Chen (Artist), Lang Lang, Li Huaixiu & Li Huaifu Duet, Liuzhou Song and Dance Troupe of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Lotus Zheng Ensemble, Shenzhen Song and Dance Ensemble, Song Zuying, The Song and Dance Ensemble of Anhui Province, The Song and Dance Ensemble of Guizhou Province, Zhejiang General Song and Dance Ensemble

Read up on Chinese Opera and traditional Chinese music

Main articles: Chinese Opera - Traditional Music of China

Various Chinese Opera styles: Beifang Kunqu, Beijing Opera, Gaojia opera, Hebei Bangzi, Huaguxi, Huangmei opera, Huju, Kunqu, Liuzi Opera, Liyuan opera, Min opera, Modern Opera, Nanxi, Northeastern duet, Ouju, Pingju, Puju, Revolutionary opera, Sichuan opera, Wuju, Yueju opera, Yuju opera, Zaju

Categories: Regional and Ethnic Music of China - Chinese songs from after 1900 - Traditional Songs - Roles in Chinese Opera - Characters in Chinese Opera

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