Quyi (qǔ yì 曲艺) refers to folk vocal art forms (mín jiān kǒu tóu yìshù 民间口头艺术) such as ballad singing (mín gē 民歌), story-telling (píng shū 评书), comic dialogue (xiǎo pǐn 小品), clapper talk (kuài bǎn 快板) and crosstalk (xiàng sheng 相声).
As an ancient performing art in China, quyi is a general term that covers several different types of performances in which speech, singing or both are used. Stone sculpture unearthed in Sichuang Province shows that the art existed early in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220). As an independent art, it was formed in the middle Tang Dynasty and flourished in the Song Dynasty. Now more than 300 forms of quyi are popular among all ethnic groups throughout the country.
Deeply rooted in China, the art is divided into three style categories and subdivided into 400 parts the three major styles are story-telling, story-singing, and joke-telling.
Here our tour agency introduces some of the most popular forms of Quyi to you.（A quyi tour to China
Suzhou Pingtan is a general name of Suzhou storytelling and ballad singing in the Suzhou dialect. Flourishing in Suzhou, it also enjoys wide popularity in Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces as well as Shanghai. It can be performed in solo, duet or trio. The small three-stringed plucked instrument and Pipa are employed as accompaniment. The wooden clappers are used to produce various kinds of tone and melody. After a long time of development, Suzhou Pingtan boasts a great diversity of styles in singing and storytelling.(Suzhou tours
Pingshu is a Quyi art form of oral storytelling, enjoying the wide popularity especially in Northern China. The Pingshu performer wears a gown and sits behind a table, with a folded fan in one hand and a gavel in another. The gavel serves as a prop to strike the table to give a warning to the audience to be quiet or as a method of attracting attention and strengthen the effect of the performance, especially at the beginning or at the intervals. Pingshu performers talk in standard Chinese, basing on Beijing dialect. The storytellers often added their own commentaries on the subjects and the characters. Therefore, the audience was not only entertained, but also educated and enlightened while watching the performances.
Errenzhuan is a form of duet involving storytelling, singing and dancing. It originated in Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongiiang Provinces in Northeast China.
Errenzhuan has a history of about 200 years. With the script written in popular language,Errenzhuan is easy to understand, spread and full of local life style and flavor. The vocal music is based on northeastern folk songs. The singing is high-spirited and of an explosive type, sincere and moving. The dancing is derived from local farmers' dances celebrating sowing and planting. It also features the folk dance technique of waving fans or handkerchiefs.
Crosstalk, known as Xiangsheng in China, is one of the most popular and influential forms of Quyi. It took the shape as an independent art form during the Xianfeng reign of Qing Dynasty.
The first Crosstalk artists were Zhang Sanlu and Zhu Shaowen, the latter with the stage name of Qiong Bupa means fearing no poverty. His stage name originated from a poem inscribed on a pair of bamboo clappers, a kind of percussion instrument, which he had used.
Since the late Qing Dynasty to the early years of the Republic of China, Crosstalk art has made great advances both in content and in skills. There are three forms of Crosstalk. The earliest form is performed by one person namely Dankou Crosstalk. Its contents are mostly jokes and funny stories. Later, Duokou Crosstalk or ‘cross talk' appeared, which are performed by two people. The third form performed by three or more people is called Qunkou Crosstalk. It calls for one artist to say funny things, while others chime in and yet another makes them stray from the subject.
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