Chinese Music

Chinese music is described as a unique form of art. Even today, the Modern Chinese music has a Western Modern Music style. The music has it's own characteristics and is very much distinct.


Chinese music dates back to 1000 BC. A man named Ling Lun created the first of the musical instruments in China. Ling Lun developed a set of 60 bells. From these bells, he created a mathematical method for creating pitch pipes to tune the bells. One of the first instruments created was a bamboo pipe. Composers and philosophers idea behind this music was to calm and relax people from the calming sounds. An ancient Chinese belief is the music is meant to purify one's thoughts.

Chinese Music The history of Chinese music and instruments discovered by Ling Lun.

The History of Chinese Music The history and development of Chinese music through different time periods from when it began.

Chinese Music Society at the University of Pennsylvania Descriptions and history of music.

Influence of Traditional Chinese Music Jiang Jing's article on the Influence of Chinese Music.

Facts all about China History of China's music and instruments.

Tone and Instruments

A single tone is more important in Chinese music than melody. The tone is the most important attribute for creating the music along with the other instruments. Theories say the Chinese tones help promote circulation in the body.

Chinese music is divided into eight classes from the materials the instruments are made from. These materials include gourd, bamboo, wood, silk, clay, metal, stone, and skin. These materials create the instruments of a sheng, panpipes, a percussion chu, a flute, a bell, and a stone. A huang chung is a type of reed or wind instrument and is made from a bamboo tree. The scale of Chinese music is pentatonic which is a scale with five pitches per octave.

Chinese Music The history of Chinese music and how China's orchestra was developed.

The Journal of Chinese Medicine Describing how the five tones of music regulate circulation of the body.

Sacramento Chinese Culture Foundation The history of how Chinese Music began.

Chinese Opera Details of the Chinese Opera from the history to present day.

Genres of Chinese Music

There are four popular genres of Chinese music. Traditional Chinese Music is the first type with the instruments of stone, chimes, bells, panipipes, and the sheng. This came from the Shang Dynasty 1766-1027 BC. Traditional Chinese Music is much different from Modern Chinese Music. This is due to the different sounds and style.

Second, is the Classical Instrumental Music. This music is meant to sound like a poem being read with harmony. There are some compositions that are centuries old. Composers add to them through time. The third type genres is the Chinese Opera Orchestra. The orchestra is made up of six to seven musicians. The instruments played in this orchestra are a fiddle, viola, lute, and a Chinese banjo. The string instruments accompanies the singing however it can also be used for special sound effects. The orchestra is given personality when combined acrobatics and choreography.

Finally, the fourth genre is Modern Chinese Music. This music is similar to modern Western music. The instruments include an electric keyboard, standard drum set, electric guitars, headsets, and microphones.

China: Classical Instrumental Music Samples of Chinese music with descriptions of the scales.

SACU-China in Focus A description of Traditional and Western Chinese music.

The Great Empire of China The Internet Chinese music archive. Chinese music samples of modern, popular, and traditional music.

AsianInfo Modern and Traditional Chinese Music

Contemporary Chinese Piano Music History of Wang Lisan and his impact of the Chinese music.

Chinese Culture A collection of Chinese folk songs.