According to an interview with a reporter from the Workers' Daily, in Yunnan Province, the ethnic music culture has a deep foundation at the grassroots level. Faced with the danger of the loss of ethnic musical instruments, relevant scientific researchers and practitioners strive to leave precious memories for ethnic musical instruments.
Recently, more than 300 ethnic minority musical instruments have been intensively exhibited at Yunnan Normal University. Most of the instruments on display were collected by Professor Yang Chen of the School of Music and Dance and his team during field surveys. Over the past 10 years, Yang Chen and his team have visited over 220 folk artists from over 180 ethnic minority villages in Yunnan, Guangxi, Guizhou, and Sichuan, and collected these precious ethnic minority musical instruments.
During field research, Yang Chen found that many ethnic musical instruments in Yunnan are on the verge of extinction before they are known, and many young people do not have the opportunity to access these instruments. "Once many folk artists die, the musical instruments of this nation may be lost forever and disappear in the long river of history."
Whenever night falls, citizens gather in the square of Nansan Riverside Park in Zhenkang County, Yunnan Province, to relieve a day's tiredness with the melodious three-stringed sound accompanied by the local traditional folk music "A Shu Se". "I want to see the fairy go to the south umbrella, and sing the folk song to Zhenkang. A Shu Se is watching, and Luo Xi Se is swinging." The blurted out "A Shu Se" is accompanied by a cheerful trill sound, and local resident Min Guanghong is immersed in his happy old age.
Min Guanghong, 79, plays three strings and sings "A Shu Se" on the square every day, which is the happiest pastime in his later life. "Not only can you exercise your body, but you can also inherit traditional local folk instruments and music such as' Sanxian 'and' Azuze ', which is very meaningful," Min Guanghong said.
During festivals or leisure times for local people, people gather in a circle to sing and dance. This form of singing and dancing is known as "Ashuze". Its lyrics cover a wide range of aspects, including agricultural work, emotional entertainment, and daily life. The singers improvise according to the occasion and situation. In the "Ashuze" improvisation, the three strings are the main accompaniment instrument for the theme culture of "Ashuze" in Zhenkang County, It occupies an important position in the "A Shu Se" singing activity.
Wang Zhiyu, the head of the vocal band of the ethnic song and dance troupe in Pu'er City, Yunnan Province, has almost visited villages and villages in 9 counties and 1 district of Pu'er City. During the performance in the countryside, he met an elderly person in his 80s who came to see the performance. "After watching it, my grandmother filled with tears and couldn't bear to let go of our hand. She always thanked us for taking the performance to the mountains."
Wang Zhiyu was moved more than that. During a performance at a primary school in Jingdong County, Pu'er City, an actor's water cup fell on the school. The next year, when he went to the school to perform, the students in the school returned the cup intact to Zhao. "Parents and fellow villagers are very simple and enthusiastic, and they are eager for culture to come to their side." Wang Zhiyu said that ethnic minority musical instruments can penetrate the hearts of the people and infect the audience through excellent performance by performers.
When Yang Chen and his team conducted field surveys in places such as Yunnan, they found that most folk artists are over the age of antiquity, and only one folk artist in the entire nation can make national musical instruments, and their musical instrument making skills have not been passed on to the next generation.
In February of this year, Yang Chen met the Wa nationality artist Yan Cong for the third time in Natuoba Village, Mengka Town, Ximeng County, Pu'er City. He is one of the folk experts that Yang Chen has discovered capable of producing more than eight musical instruments. In 2016, when Yang Chen started studying ethnic wind instruments, the first folk artist he visited was Yan Cong; In 2018, Yang Chen and two fellow disciples recorded Wa ethnic musical instruments; This time, Yang Chen led his graduate student to collect records of Yan Cong playing "Orphan Tune" and "Dance Tune" with the newly made Wa musical instruments "De" and "Kuiyam".
Yang Chen found three such folk experts in Yunnan Province, the other named Ding Mapou. In Longchuan County, Dehong Prefecture, he can make 10 Jingpo musical instruments, and the other one is Zimula, an elderly Jinuo ethnic person. In Jinuo Township, Jinghong City, Xishuangbanna Prefecture, he can make 8 musical instruments, and the entire Jinuo ethnic group only has one person who can make national musical instruments.
"When I die, it's up to you young people to promote it." Yan Cong's words made Yang Chen deeply moved. "The inheritance and protection of ethnic minority music that is on the verge of extinction cannot be stopped in words. Our work is urgent," Yang Chen said.
Yang Chen told reporters that with the improvement of rural life, every family has built new houses, and the living standards of ethnic minorities have improved significantly. However, many musical instruments and some musical resources of ethnic minorities face a risk of being ignored and lost, and changes in the living environment have also made musical instruments lose their soil for survival.
In Wang Zhiyu's view, such risks are even more alarming in cities. Many people in rural areas still maintain the old tradition of meeting villagers to gather around after dinner and rest to play three strings and jump three feet. However, in cities, it is relatively difficult to meet like-minded people to sing and dance together. "Behind the culture is the attribute of humanity.".
At the same time, Wang Zhiyu also found that the Lusheng, a commonly used ethnic musical instrument of the Lahu ethnic group, cannot be tuned due to differences in shape and attributes. Each tone played is different, with deviations, resulting in no specific repertoire inheritance. It can only be interpreted through oral instruction, obedience to parents, and a combination of physical performance.
"Lusheng instruments rely on the gourd cavity to produce resonance and play simple tones, which are not melodic due to attribute constraints and are not widely used in ethnic song and dance performances," Wang Zhiyu said.
In the public space of the hall on the first floor of the School of Music and Dance of Yunnan Normal University, over 300 musical instruments, such as the Yao Niujiao, Zhuang Tianqin, Yi Erhu, and Lahu Hulusheng, are displayed. This is the first exhibition hall in China that focuses on ethnic musical instruments from various provinces in the southwest and radiates characteristic musical instruments from South and East Asian countries. This area is located on the only way for students majoring in music and dance to practice in class every day, It can subtly influence students day after day, producing a good chain reaction.
"Musical instruments are created by human beings. By visiting folk artists and recording and observing the entire process of their production and performance, we can understand and understand the basic rules of musical instrument performance on this basis, and learn and inherit them on the basis of respecting the performers' performance habits." Yang Chen said that the production technology of a musical instrument is an important part of understanding the underlying cultural genes of this instrument. After recording its skills, even if the instrument is lost in the future, However, later generations can conduct restoration research by collecting recorded data.
For Wang Zhiyu, when arranging program music, he often considers integrating and adapting various elements of national musical instruments, fully exploiting the highlights of national musical instruments through innovative music production and song and dance production. "The symbolism of ethnic musical instruments is particularly strong. When a piece of music has the same melody, the same harmony, and the selection of timbre in the arrangement is added to ethnic musical instruments, the overall color of the music changes suddenly," Wang Zhiyu said.
Wang Zhiyu told reporters that to inherit national musical instruments and national music, it is necessary to rely on outstanding works to empower, explore the attributes of each instrument, explore some of the rhythms and tones that can be expressed, and combine different instruments to create creative and good works.
"We want to prove that a musical instrument once left a rich and colorful legacy in such a glorious river of national culture, which is the only thing we can do," said Shi David, a member of Yang Chen's team.