Chinese archaeologists digging in central China in 1977 unexpectedly uncovered two of the earliest and most extensive groups of musical instruments in the entire ancient world, dating from nearly 2500 years ago. since these percussion, string, and wind instruments were in near-pristine condition - some still playable, others inscribed with musicological information - they provided hitherto unimagined possibilities for th study of music and the history of musical instruments in ancient China. Presented here are the insights of six specialists who describe these instruments' sophisticated tuning systems, techniques of manufacture and inscriptions revealing their musical and non-musical significance in ancient Chinese society. It has become apparent that different types of music existed in Bronze Age China (2000-500 BC) for state rituals as well as for private entertainment. The authors place this evidence in the context of recent archaeological discoveries and reassess it in light of classical history and the literature on Chinese music. The three main families of instruments are also examined in detail in individual chapters.
Lovers of art and music, as well as enthusiast of archaeology, musicology, and cultural history, should find this a compelling and readable presentation of the latest research and ideas on one of the world's oldest and most profound artistic expressions.show more