Daoist Music of Mt Lao, Shandong Province
The Daoist priests of Mt Lao say that there were already Daoist priests and temples on Mt Lao as early as the Western Han dynasty, and with them scriptures and scriptural rhythm music came into being. The Daoist music of Mt Lao is practised in over 120 temples, and it is geographically classified into the "Inner Mountain Tradition"( 內山派 Neishan Pai ) and "Out-of-the Mountain Tradition" ( 山外派 Shanwai Pai ). According to the nature of Daoist music, since Mt Lao belongs to the Complete Perfection sect ( 全真 Quanzhen ), the Daoist music of Mt Lao has the Orthodox Rhythm of the Complete Perfection Tradition ( 全真正韻 Quanzhen Zhengyu ) as its core. But in the meanwhile, it is closely related to the dialects and local music of the district of Shandong. Therefore, the Daoist music of Mt Lao not only has the general features of the "Rhythm of Ten Directions" which is in common use all over the country, but it is also famous in Daoist circles for its "Mt Lao Rhythm" with local characteristics.
The Mt Lao Rhythm and its features
The Mt Lao Rhythm generally consists of Rhythms ( 韻腔 Yunqiang ) and Tunes ( 曲牌 Qupai ). Since the Mt Lao Rhythm still has the musical features of the "Rhythm of Ten Directions" as a whole, the "Mt Lao Rhythms" named after "Mt Lao", such as the "Mt Lao Hanging Rhythm" ( 嶗山吊掛 Laoshan Diaogua ) and the "Mt Lao Rhythm of Pacing the Void" ( 嶗山步虛 Laoshan Buxu ), manifest quite distinct local characteristics. Although most of the scriptural rhythms are not named after "Mt Lao", they are full of the strong local taste of Shandong.