Daoist Music in West Sichuan
A brief account
Sichuan, which is located in the Southwest of China, is the place where Zhang Ling, the founder of Daoism, founded Daoism and preached Dao. The Complete Perfection tradition ( 全真道 Quanzhen Dao ) of Sichuan and that of the North belong are found in the different geographic locations of South and North respectively. However, in the system of Daoist music, the music of the Complete Perfection tradition of Sichuan and that of the Complete Perfection tradition of the North can be traced to the same origin.
Content and form
The Daoist music of Sichuan can be classified into Fixed Altar Music ( 靜壇音樂 Jingtan Yinyue ) and Mobile Altar Music ( 動壇音樂 Dongtan Yinyue ) according to its school of style, or into vocal music and instrumental music according to its form and content. Fixed Altar Music music refers to the music played at Daoist temples by the Daoist priests of the Complete Perfection tradition. This kind of music has a strong religious flavor and an elegant and solemn tune. Mobile Altar Music refers to music played at places where married Daoist lay priests of different sects perform popular Daoist rites. This kind of music has an obvious popular color and a strong worldly flavor, and is closely connected with local music. According to the strong and weak quality of the scriptural tunes, vocal music can be classified into the forms of rhyme melody, chant melody, recitation melody, and the like. Instrumental music is classified into thread music and loud music. Thread music, which is called "soft music", refers to music played cooperatively by a band composed of the major instruments of bamboo flute, or pan and cymbals, and those auxiliary instruments producing soft sounds of small volume. Loud music refers to the music played cooperatively by major instruments such as the horn, the gong and the like, the auxiliary instruments producing strong sounds of high volume at popular Daoist altars. The forms of instrumental music adopted at popular Daoist altars are mainly applied to the popular rituals at altars and are taken to be the music for starting, performing, and ending altar rituals of different kinds of sacred rites. This type of music is similar to most of the types of tunes used on the stage in Sichuan opera or in folk sedans.