Daoist Music in Taiwan
A brief account
According to geography, Daoism in Taiwan can be classified into the Southern sect and the Northern sect, or sub-categorized into the Daoism of central Taiwan, of the South, and of the North. Although the Southern and Northern sects both belong to the Orthodox Oneness sect of the Celestial Masters Tradition, none of their rites are identical, and the music in the rites is even vastly different in style. Daoist melodies in the Centre and South have feminine exquisiteness, and importance is attached to rising and falling in the way of singing and recitations. That is to say, between two musical notes of song, a special vibration in the throat is often applied to produce a distinctive pleasing quality. In comparison, Daoist melodies in the north have vigorous beauty, but the full tune in singing and recitation is adopted, a way of singing which is identical with that of common folk songs.
Origins, development and features of the Daoist music of Central and Southern Taiwan
The origins of the Daoist music of Central and Southern Taiwan can be categorized into four systems: "music inherent to Daoism", "southern wind music", "northern wind music", and "other folk music". "Music inherent to Daoism" means that the scriptural rhymes and movements have their own intrinsic features and are seldom linked to other forms of folk music. "Southern wind music" refers to the ancient music of the central plains preserved in the area of Quanzhou, Fujian. The tunes of southern wind music have been absorbed into the Ritual Offerings and Meritorious Rites in the south, and Daoist priests often call them 'the Southern Tunes'. "Northern wind music" refers to the folk music that is popular among the former natives of Zhangzhou in Taiwan. The Northern wind music integrated into Daoist music mainly comes from gong and drum music of the northern wind, which is commonly called "paizi". "Other folk music" refers to other folk music played occasionally by Daoist priests, such as the music of carts and drums of alleys (which is called "the music score of military drums" by folk enterprises) and "Guangdong music" of Taiwan (which was spread into Taiwan before 1949) and so on.
Origins, development and features of the Daoist music of Northern Taiwan
The Daoist music of Northern Taiwan is classified into "music inherent to Daoism", "northern wind music" and "other folk music". "Music inherent to Daoism" refers to Daoist music having the intrinsic features of the Daoist music of the north. "Northern wind music" is approximately identical with that of Central and Southern Taiwan, but it is more widely applied. "Other folk music" is used in the rites and rituals of Daoism in the north. It is different from the Daoist music in the middle part and the south, in that most of the folk music absorbed by Daoist music in the North consists of ordinary folk instrumental tunes (such as "the flying partridge" and the like), the music of carts and drums of alleys, and the tunes of "youth with distracting thoughts" (i.e., a Taiwan folk song with a strong quality of being narrative), which are more often used. All Daoist music, be it in the Centre, South or North, is roughly identical in terms of the way of singing.