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Taipei Traditional Arts Festival Highlights on Musical Instruments


Grand works of art were on display at the 25th annual Taipei Traditional Arts Festival on March 31. This year, the event was focused on the role and significance of musical instruments in Chinese history.

Several groups from Taipei and the Chinese mainland performed numbers that feature traditional Chinese music, including the guqin, Kunju Opera and glove puppetry.

The highlight was a modern performance of the Bianzhong, which was discovered in the tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng and dates back to 433 BC. The bianzhong is an ancient Chinese musical instrument consisting of a set of bronze bells. They are hung in a wooden frame and struck with a mallet. Along with the stone chimes called bianqing, they were an important instrument in China's ritual and court music in ancient times.

The bells of Marquis Yi, which are still fully playable after almost 2,500 years, cover a range of slightly less than five octaves. But thanks to their twin-tone capability, the set can produce a complete 12-tone scale and can play melodies in diatonic and pentatonic scales.

This year's festival will feature a total of 31 performances at several different venues, including Chung Shan Hall. The Taipei city government hosts the festival every year. Chung Shan Hall and the Taipei Chinese Orchestra are the organizers.

Editor: Xu Xinlei