Intangible Cultural Heritage Museum-Eight Tone Sitting Singing

Intangible Cultural Heritage Museum

Eight Tone Sitting Singing

by Live in Guizhou


Image Source: Eyesnews

Opera has been spreading in China for a long time, and in the southwest of Guizhou, there is an ethnic opera that was born in the court and grew up in the civilian, which is full of unique Guizhou ethnic cultural styles. It is the “Eight-Tone Sitting Singing” of the Buyi, also known as the “Buyi Eight-Tone”.

The “Eight-Tone” have a long history. As early as the Zhou and Qin Dynasty, people divided eight types of instruments into metal, stone, earth, leather, silk, wood, gourd, and bamboo by their different materials called “Eight-Tone”, which makes a general reference for all Chinese instruments later. Nowadays, the “Eight-Tone” of the “Eight-Tone Sitting Singing” contain Straight Flute, Cattle Bone Fiddle, Huluqin, Yueqin, Spiked Drums, Baobaoluo, Xiaomaluo, and Cha. With the development of history, the “Eight-Tone” performance of the Buyi also selected some Buyi instruments like Leyou and Muye for accompaniment.

The musicians of the “Eight-Tone” need sit in a circle with eight different instruments and sing alternately. They often tell the story by singing in the first person, and explain in the third person. The Buyi people have no writing language, and the form of the “Eight-Tone Sitting Singing” has been developed from pure music to sing performance. The “Eight-Tone Sitting Singing” and the other Buyi operas, which were born based on it, has been regarded as the “Buyi Music Family”.

In the singing process, musicians can create lyrics based on the tunes and surrounding things. They perform in freestyle and tell the stories by talking and singing. The “Eight-Tone Sitting Singing” of the Buyi, which is simple, smooth, beautiful, and pleasant, has been performing in various occasions in the daily life of the Buyi people. It’s very popular in the Buyi settlements.