Peking Opera has an history of over 200 years. The main melodies originated fromXipiandErhuang, known as Pihuang, inAnhuiandHubeirespectively and over time techniques from many other local operas were incorporated.WithinXipiandErhuang,there are differentbanshi(modes), developed from a basic tune but varying a bit in beat, rhythm and melody.
BothXipiandErhuanghave different variations onYuanban(original mode),Manban(largo),Kuaisanyan(allegro),Sanban(lyrical and loose mode) andYaoban(swing mode).Xipialso has its own modes ofErliu(two & six),Liushui(flowing water) andKuaiban(allegro), all different from one another, but also related.Erhuang'sspecial modes include:Pengban,GunbanandFanerhuang. All this may serve either as independent pieces or can be played in sets to express different feeling.
Singing is prominent as a means of characterization in Peking Opera. Apart from the mainXipiandErhuangtunes, there are some other tunes, such asSipingdiao,ManbangaiandGaobozi.