Daoist Music of Mt Longhu
Mt Longhu is regarded as the earliest birthplace of Daoism and as the Ancestral Court ( 族庭 Zuting ) of the Orthodox Oneness sect ( 正一派 Zhengyi Pai ) of Daoism, and enjoys an extraordinary standing among Daoist temples. There have been few systematic documentary records of the Daoist music of Mt Longhu through the dynasties, and the systematic study of it only began in the middle 1990s.
Content, form, and features
The Daoist music of Mt Longhu can be classified into scriptural rhythms and tunes ( 曲牌 Qupai ). The scriptural rhythms are subdivided into the Yiyang Tune ( 弋陽腔 Yiyang Qiang ) and the Highest Clarity Tune ( 上清腔 Shangqing Qiang ) in terms of the structure and content of the music. The Yiyang Tune is based on the dialects and folk songs of the district of Yiyang in Jiangxi. Its tunes and the singing and recitation of the scriptural rhythms has outstanding local features and folk style. It is a general pattern of identical tunes with different verses, in which the same basic tune is applied to different scriptures. This kind of tune is spread mostly among the Daoist priests who are Yiyang natives or natives of contiguous regions, and is used mainly in the village Enclosures of the Dao ( 道場 Daochang ). The Highest Clarity Tune, the major tune of Daoist music in the Celestial Masters' Mansion ( 天師府 Tianshi Fu ), is somewhat different from the "Yiyang Tune" in its style. Its tune often takes the note "Yu" as its mode, and its music form has the characteristics of the folk tunes of the south of the Yangtze River. The music of Tunes is not abundant in quantity, but it can be used flexibly and is quite changeable, and has a strong significant function.