Eight-sound Gongs and Drums | Foshan ICH · Charming Lingnan
Foshan China 2023-01-09 16:50

As one of the important origins of Lingnan culture, Foshan has many cultural symbols. The intangible cultural heritages in Foshan like the famous Cantonese opera, paper cutting, wood engraving pictures, Canton embroidery still shine brightly with the preservation of generations of inheritors after so many years.

From this January, Foshan News Network will present a new series of Foshan ICH · Charming Lingnan. Foshan national intangible cultural heritages will be introduced to people all over the world through pictures and English descriptions, displaying the charm of traditional Foshan culture.

In 2007, eight-sound gongs and drums was listed as the first batch of city-level intangible cultural heritage. In 2014, it was listed as the fourth batch of national intangible cultural heritage. It includes three performance forms: wind and percussion music, eight-tone singing, and gongs and drums cabinets.

Wind and percussion music is a festive and ceremonial music performed in folk festivals, competitions, funerals, fasting and official activities, etc.

The gongs and drums cabinet performance in the folk festival

Eight-tone singing is performed by eight-tone artists while singing a complete set of operas. It is called opening octave in Gaoming District and singing Xiqin in Shunde District.

The gongs and drums cabinet performance in Yasongshenglou House

The gongs and drums cabinets use large and small suonas to imitate Shengdan singing to play a complete set of operas. A wooden cabinet with gorgeous decoration and a rectangular pavilion with eaves and no lids must be prepared to place percussion instruments, so it is named cabinet.

Exquisite wood carving of gongs and drums cabinet

Wind and percussion music, gongs and drums cabinets are the predecessors of Cantonese music, and singing octaves came before Cantonese opera.

Eight-tone gongs and drums are divided into three categories: percussion, blowing, and pulling. The gongs and drums cabinets seen today are mainly played with pure percussion.

Suona performance

The eight-tone gongs and drums troupe performance in Qiuse Parade

Like other intangible cultural heritage items, there are many challenges in the inheritance of eight-sound gongs and drums in the modern era. With the unremitting efforts of the inheritors, more and more people come to help spread the eight-sound gongs and drums culture.

Author | May

Revisor | Eleanor, Eddie

Source | Foshan Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection Center