Schools of Daoist Music

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Daoist Music
Classification and Forms of Daoist Music
Vocal Music
Instrumental Music
Musical Instruments
Schools of Daoist Music
Music of the Orthodox Oneness Tradition
Music of the Complete Perfection Tradition
Compilations of Daoist Music Scores
The Ritual of Jade Tunes
The Daoist Musical Scores Composed by Imperial Order during the Great Ming Dynasty
The Orthodox Rhythm of the Complete Perfection Tradition
Daoist Music of Different Places
The White Cloud Temple, Beijing Suzhou Mt Longhu
Mt Wudang Mt Mao Shanghai
Mt Lao Shanxi Plain Sichuan
The Northeast Taiwan Hong Kong

Daoist music can be categorized into the music of the Orthodox Oneness Tradition ( 正一道 Zhengyi Dao ) and the music of the Complete Perfection Tradition ( 全真道 Quanzhen Dao ).


In terms of history, Daoist music can be traced back to shamanistic dance and music, and in terms of its geographic distribution, it is related to the spread of Daoism and is found everywhere in the whole country. Today, viewed in a macroscopic angle, the spread of Daoist music within China was initially established with the distinction of the two major systems of the Complete Perfection and Orthodox Oneness, and the respective styles of the two systems were perhaps formed with the formation of different Daoist sects in the Song and Yuan Dynasties. The confrontation of the regime of the Southern Song Dynasty with that of the Jin and Yuan dynasties between the south and the north resulted in the division of Daoist sects. As to what is stated above, generally speaking, Daoism in the south mainly consists of the Talismans and Registers Sects ( 符籙派 Fulu Pai ), which were unified into the Orthodox Oneness sect dominated by the lineage of the Celestial Masters Tradition ( 天師道 Tianshi Dao ), while the Daoist sects in the north included the Supreme Oneness Doctrine ( 太一教 Taiyi Jiao ), the Doctrine of the Perfect Dao ( 真大道 Zhenda Dao ), and the Complete Perfection Tradition. Among these sects, the Complete Perfection Tradition founded by Wang Chongyang in the Dading year of the Jin Dynasty is the most flourishing one. After the unification of the Yuan Dynasty, it spread to the south of the Yangtze River and was soon found in Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Hubei and Fujian. Thereafter, as the representative of the refining and nourishing sects, the Complete Perfection Tradition developed into a sect as important as the Orthodox Oneness Tradition of talismans and registers.


Owing to the different systems of the Complete Perfection Tradition and the Orthodox Oneness Tradition, the Daoist music of the two sects took shape accordingly and differences in style emerged. Influenced by the thought of the Integration of the Three Doctrines ( 三教合一 Sanjiao Heyi ) of Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism, the ritual music of the Complete Perfection of Daoism was developed by borrowing some forms from Buddhism. The establishment of the temple system and the perfection of the music for scriptural recitation marked the initial formation of the Daoist music of the Complete Perfection. Inheriting the Daoist music of the Tang and Song dynasties, the music of the Orthodox Oneness Tradition tended to be more integrated and regular. The Numinous Treasure Golden Book of Instructions on Aid and Salvation ( 靈寶領教濟度金書 Lingbao Lingjiao Jidu Jinshu ) compiled in the early Yuan Dynasty is not only an encyclopedia of rituals, but also an important scripture on Daoist ritual music. The thriving poetic drama of the Yuan Dynasty and the southern drama interacted with and kept in close relation with Daoist music. This not only constituted a characteristic of the development of Daoist music in the Yuan Dynasty, but also created a condition for Daoist music to be folk-oriented and popular in the Ming and Qing dynasties.