Tang Music and Dance

The Singing of Spring Orioles (Grand Piece) 【Op.61】

  • Premiere: Part I “Yu Shen” and part II “Hsu” on April 8 (based on Japanese music and dance), 1967; Part III “ Sa Ta” and part IV “ Ju Po” on Dec. 29, 2001 in Chungshan Hall, Taipei; Part V “Nial Sheng” and part VI “Chi Sheng” on Nov. 22, 2002;Part II “Hsu” on Nov. 21, 2003 in National Theater, Taipei, Taiwan (based on ancient notation of music and dance)
  • Original Choreographer: Bai, Ming-da. A foreigner born at the turn of the 7th Century
  • Music: Grand Piece; Yiyue Tune
  • Music/Dance Reconstruction: Liu, Feng-shueh
  • Dancers: Lin, Wei-fen;Yang, Hsiao-fang;Lee, Ying-pien;Chang, Hui-chuen; Chou, Chien-lin
  • Hair Styling: Chen, Mei-hsiou
  • Costume/Hair Ornament: Weng, Meng-ching; Liu, Feng-shueh

The Singing of Spring Orioles is one of the grandest pieces of Tang ( 618~907 A.D.) court music. According to a description in the Yuefushiji (The Collection of Songs and Poems): “Tang Kao Tsung, the third Emperor of the Tang Dynasty, knew music and rhythm well. When hearing the wind blow and birds sing, he could dance with their rhythms. When he was sitting in the morning, he heard the orioles sing. The musician Bai Ming Da was then assigned to write The Singing of Spring Orioles. The music was later used for dance.” There was also a full description in the Jiaofanglu (the register of the institution for the training of musicians, singers and dancers in Tang Dynasty) describing the use of musical instruments in this piece. The name of the piece was also altered to Mei Hwa Chun Ying Chuan (The Plum Tree Blossoms and the Singing of Spring Orioles), or Tien Chan Bao Shou Yueh after being brought to Japan.

The music and dance notation was also registered in Japanese literature in the 9th, 12th and 13th centuries. The music and dance of this piece have been reconstructed by Dr. Liu, Feng-shueh, whose work was based on the inscriptions at Tunhwang, the ancient Japanese documents and the research and studies of Dr. Picken.

  • Music and dance structure: 1. Yu Shen 2. Hsu 3. Sa Ta 4. Ju Po 5. Nial Sheng