The demolition and singing of the octagonal drum was formed in the middle of the Qing Dynasty. Also known as "Brand Song Singing", "Octagonal Drum Band Small Opera", "Brand Opera". It was developed from the "Chaqu Belt Opera" during the Qianlong period of the Qing Dynasty (1736-1795). "Singing apart" means that the songs that will be sung by one person will be dismantled and sung by two or three to four or five people according to the plot and characters. There are four kinds of lyrics called "Pingcha Belt Opera" in the collection of popular songs in the Qing Dynasty, "The Sequel to Nishang": "Qingyun Lutong", "Taijun's Destiny", "Qi Feng in the Wilderness" and "Deep Sleep".
According to the preface of Wang Tingshao, who ordered the "Nison Sequel", at that time, this kind of Pingcha belt opera and various other ditties were sung by Youtong. The voice and attitude in a song, hand-painted orally, will be extremely beautiful, and then come out and praise the guest... The red scorpion is on the ground, the lamp returns to the light of the song fan; the colorful sleeves welcome people, and the voice sends the favor of bright eyes. Competing with Xiaofeng and Wanyue for beauty, that's why I dye the scenery, and it is the scenery of peace." The performance of singing the octagonal drum is about talking, learning, amusing, and singing, and among them, amusing is the most important.
Judging from the existing works, the jokes in the language used by the harlequin include "three turns and four shakes", "homonyms interrupt", "one-liners", etc., and the vulgar "ethical jokes" are also seen from time to time. Some people think that the clown jokes in the octagonal drum are directly derived from the gag of the clowns in Beijing's popular Gaoqiang opera.
The thirteenth chapter of the Qing Dynasty novel "Dream of the Moon and the Wind" describes the specific scene of the children of the banner performing in Yangzhou during the Daoguang period (1821-1850) to sing and sing the octagonal drum: "Three people came up, placed the table in the middle, and one held the A load of big drum strings sat in the middle; the one on the left with an octagonal drum; the other on the right with his hands crossed. The one sitting read a few opening remarks, said a few auspicious words, and strummed the strings of the big drum. The man on the left beat the octagonal drum. The man sitting sang Jingqiang, with a lot of jokes in between. The man on the right was interrupted by gossip, and was slapped in the neck by the man sitting, causing everyone to laugh; this is called To be a doujier (press to make a joke)." The above-mentioned person standing on the right is a harlequin, and the division of labor is a joke.
There are many performances of splitting and singing the octagonal drum with three people subcontracting to catch the horns. After the Republic of China, because most of the professional artists who performed double reeds also performed the splitting and singing octagonal drum, they were changed to two-person singing, that is, one person played the clown and one person played other roles. Accompanied by sanxian, the harlequin temporarily makes a simple dress on the stage.
During the performance, a lot of amusing content was interspersed in the lyrics to create a lively atmosphere. At the end of the Qing Dynasty and the beginning of the Republic of China, the demolition and singing of the octagonal drum began to be performed on the same stage with various techniques such as drums, cross talk, double reeds, and juggling.
Famous actors since the early years of the Republic of China include Guo Rongshan and Han Yongxian, Du Zhenfu and Guo Wanlin, Gu Rongfu and Yin Fulai and so on. The main repertoires include "Fenhewan", "Xiao Shangfen", "Shuangsuo Mountain", "Zhao Kuangyin Beating Dates", "Cowardly Fortune Telling", "Hu Di scolds Yan", "Family Breaking the Kitchen" and so on. Due to the small number of repertoires, the low interest style, and the few innovations in singing and performances, it gradually declined after the founding of the People's Republic of China, and there is no successor.
The Beijing Quyi Troupe has eight verses and recordings of "Fenhewan" sung and recorded by Xu Huansheng and Cai Yuanli in 1980 according to Gu Rongfu and Yin Fulai.