Cantonese Opera: Performance as Creative Process

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Cambridge University Press, May 11, 1989 - Music - 205 pages
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Cantonese opera is one of the grandest of the traditional musical theatres in China. This book investigates the creative process involved in the performance of these operas, in which as many as fifty or sixty singers/actors/dancers and a dozen or more instrumentalists take part. Based on fieldwork in Hong Kong and upon transcription and analysis of the music from live performances, this book investigates this extraordinary performance, focusing on social function, the script, the language and the individual singer's creative input. Bell Yung suggests a model of creative process that involves a set of rules according to which singers operate, improvise and interact. He also considers other theoretical issues, most importantly the relationship between text and music and the question of the variance or invariance of melodies.
 

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Contents

Introduction to Chinese Opera
1
Essential elements of Cantonese opera as performing art
11
Musical instruments
23
Social context
32
The opera script
42
Speech types
57
Aria types
67
Linguistic tones
82
Sin
106
Fixed tunes
128
Narrative songs
138
Three levels of creative process
145
Linguistic tones romanization system and pronunciation guide
158
Text of musical examples in Chinese characters
170
Sources of musical examples
176
Names of performers plays and opera companies
190

Padding syllables
92
An upper line of Bongji Maanbaan showing an added phrase
94

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About the author (1989)

Yung is a professor of music at the University of Pittsburgh and concurrently holds the Kwan Fong Chair in Chinese Music at the University of Hong Kong.

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