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Cantonese Opera Tutorial

Essential Terminology: GunHua, BaiLan, ShuoChang, ZhengXian, FanXian, BaZiErWang, ManBan, ZhongBan, KuaiBan, LiuShuiBan, NanYin, ShiZiErZiJuZhongBan

Alexandra Yu

on 31 October 2013

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Transcript of Cantonese Opera Tutorial

History of Cantonese Opera
Scale (GongChePu)
In Cantonese Opera, there are also names to the notes of scales, like Western Music.

1 = C / 2 = D / 3 = E / 4 = F / 5 = G / 6 = A / 7 = B
Note: Those with a " , " under the number means an octave lower.
There are mainly two sounds that provide the beats in the cantonese opera - Ding and Ban.
Varieties of the Ding & Ban
Beat Varieties
1) Yi Ban San Ding (4 beats in a bar)

2) Yi Ban Yi Ding (2 beats in a bar)

3) Liu Shui Ban (Only Ban is used)

4) San Ban (no percussion is used)
Cantonese Opera
- Traditional opera of China - known as Guangdong Drama

-Originated from the Ming Dynasty

-In the old days, people want to make use of Cantonese Opera as propaganda for voicing revolution

-Actors sing in Guangzhou Cantonese
Percussion Beats (Ding & Ban)
The Ban is used at the first beat. The Ding is used at the remaining beats. For example, if the piece is in 4 beats per bar, the percussion goes - Ban, Ding, Ding, Ding. However, in some structures, the percussion can vary or is omitted.
For the singer to correctly identify the beats of a piece, there are different varieties of beats that can appear on a score.
Voice Types
PingHou (Chest Voice)
ZiHou (Head Voice)

PingHou (Chest Voice)
ZiHou (Lower than chest voice)
Intros/Transitions' melodies used:
Other Characteristics of Gun Hua
- The Ding & Ban of Gun Hua:
* San Ba (i.e. no percussion is used)

- Zhui Qiang (i.e. the music of background instruments and the singer form a polyphonic texture)
First and Second Phrases
First phrases: indicated by a small circle

Second phrases: indicated by two circles
An example - ChunJiangHuaYueYe
How to identify a first phrase or a second phrase?
Yehu is used for a feeling of vicissitude.
GuZheng is also used.
The music is overall an octave lower than pieces of other structures.
Full transcript