Ancient Melodies

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Music Preservation

In order to preserve the heritage of these ancient melodies, you are encouraged to buy CDs or tapes from the companies listed below. Your demand for these products will encourage music companies to keep alive these wonderful melodies for the whole world to enjoy.

The following are short excerpts for preview and editorial purposes. (To hear the music, click on the music titles if you are using the TrueSpeech Player. If you are using the Media Player, click on the Media Player links.) All the music presented in this forum is copyrighted by the owners, respectively. Again, please help support music preservation and purchase these CDs or tapes. The present sound qualities from the internet are not comparable to commercial copies of the original recordings.


  • DANCE OF THE YI NATIONALITY . . . . . . . . . MS MediaPlayer File
    • Zither Solo by the famous SHUFENG HE. This piece was originally a very famous pipa music composed by Wang Hui-ran. Ms. He adapted it to the Chinese Zither instrument. The music describes the celebration of the Yi Nationality people with their exciting festivities.

      THE ART KINGDOM OF SHUFENG HE: Pipa Concerto and Zither Zolos. Recorded at China Records Studio, Shanghai in 1983.

      Ms. Shufeng He is a most brilliant pipa and zither artist in the world today. She graduated from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China in 1980. Among her many accomplishments, she won the first prize at the Chinese National Pipa Competition. Ms. He has given concerts in more than one hundred major cities worldwide. Another interesting aspect of her career, she has played solos for many famous movies of Hollywood productions such as the "The Joy Luck Club" and Bruce Lee's "Enter the Dragon". Ms. He has sold more than ten million albums worldwide and published two books of instruction on the pipa and zither used by conservatories and music schools. In 1989, Ms. He established the Los Angeles Zither Orchestra (pictured below) and gives many concerts in Southern California each year.

      Los Angeles Zither Orchestra

  • TIBETAN DANCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MS MediaPlayer File
    • Melody of China Ensemble. The music was arranged by Guanren Gu. This folk tune is a favorite music piece for many festive occasions in Tibet.

      MOC - CD
      Melody of China

      This music ensemble was formed in 1993 and is based in the San Francisco area. Its mission is to promote and educate people to the beautiful Chinese music heritage. The ensemble is a group of enthusiastic professional musicians from some of the most prestigious music conservatories in China.

  • PLUM BLOSSOM. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MS MediaPlayer File
    • Xiao (Bamboo Pipe) played by: PROFESSOR TAN WEI YU; Shanghai Conservatory of Music; Chinese Instrumental Music Department.

      This beautiful melody first appeared in the Jin Dynasty (317-420 A.D.). It expresses admiration for the blossoms of the plum tree. Plum blossom is a major subject in Chinese literature. The blossoms represent nobility and purity.

      TREASURY OF CHINESE MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS - WIND INSTRUMENTS: DECCA Label (421-011-2); marketed by Polygram Records Ltd. Hong Kong/Singapore/Malaysia.

  • SPRING ON A MOONLIT RIVER. . . . . . . . . MS MediaPlayer File
    • Pipa Soloist: Zhang Tasen; Central Broadcasting Traditional Instruments Orchestra; Conducted by Peng Xiuwen.

      This melody is considered a treasure of Chinese classical music. The scene set by the music is the beginning of a Spring night on a river lit by the light of a full moon.

      PHASES OF THE MOON - TRADITIONAL CHINESE MUSIC: Produced by the China Record Company for CBS RECORDS INC. (MK 36705).

  • REGRET. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MS MediaPlayer File
    • Gaohu (a two string and bow instrument) played by: Yu Qi Wei accompanied by a four member group from Guangdong Song and Dance Ensemble.

      "Regret" is based on a Chinese legend, "The Cowherd and the Girl Weaver". The music conveys sorrow and lamentation of the severed lovers. The final part featured here is a type of tune in Peking Operas characterized by quick and forceful rhythm and acceleration of speed.

      TREASURY OF CHINESE MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS - BOWED STRING INSTRUMENTS: DECCA Label (421-012-2); marketed by Polygram Records Ltd. Hong Kong/Singapore/Malaysia.

  • FENGYANG FLOWER DRUMS. . . . . . . . . MS MediaPlayer File
    • (An Hui Folk Song) Central Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Han Zhong-Jie: Mr. Han was trained as a flutist and studied conducting at the Leningrad Conservatory. In 1980, he conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra to critical acclaim.

      "Fengyang Flower Drums" is a dance-song traditionally performed by poor wandering musicians and dancers in the streets.


  • THE FOUR SEASONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MS MediaPlayer File
    • (Qing Hai Folk Song) Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Jean Kenneth.

      COLOURFUL CLOUDS: Hong Kong Records Co., Ltd.; Manufactured by Nippon Columbia Co., Ltd. (HK 8.240090).

  • THE MOON MIRRORED IN THE POOL. . . . . . .MS MediaPlayer File
    • Music Composed by Hua Yanjun (1893-1950) better known as Blind Man Ah Bing, a folk musician in modern China; Erhu Soloist Wang Guotong; Central Broadcasting Traditional Instruments Orchestra; Conducted by Peng Xiuwen.

      On a chilly night, the composer sat by the crystal-clear pool, deep in meditation. He had suffered untold hardships and tribulations in life and yet remained undaunted and confident in his struggle against fate. People who love this piece, hear his sadness reflected in the music. It was unfortunate that he died before much of his compositions were recorded for posterity.

      PHASES OF THE MOON - TRADITIONAL CHINESE MUSIC: Produced by the China Record Company for CBS RECORDS INC. (MK 36705).

  • HARVEST GONGS AND DRUMS. . . . . . . . . .MS MediaPlayer File
    • Composed by Cai Huiquan and Peng Xiuwen; Lead Player - Cai Huiquan; China Broadcasting Traditional Music Ensemble conducted by Peng Xiuwen.

      This is a piece of music for the purpose of describing the scene of bumper harvest in China's country-side. The music is exciting and merry.

      SELECTED CHINESE TRADITIONAL MUSIC: Produced by China Broadcasting Traditional Music Ensemble for PHILIPS Digital Classics; Polygram Records Ltd. Hong Kong (422 012-2).

    * * * * *

    To learn more about classical Chinese music, please visit:

    Melody of China, San Francisco

    Los Angeles Classical Chinese Orchestra

    Links to Chinese Music Websites from Melody of China

    * * * * *

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