The China Project
Mountain Songs of Guangxi, China.
China research trip 2017 Mountain song from Zhuang (Vocal)
China research trip 2017 - Moutain song from Han (Vocal - with pumpkin Flute)
China research trip 2017 - Mountain song from Yao (Vocal)
The recordings of these three mountain songs are particularly fascinating because they show the subtle and nuanced musical differences between the three ethnic groups found in the Guangxi province: Zhuang, Yao and Han. Each group brings their own 'colour' to the music and equally their own very distinctive clothing - also largely distinguishable through colour. However the most revealing aspect of hearing this vocal music, regardless of which ethnic group, was to realise anew, the balance between that which we have lost through western classical music's push for perfection of sound production and that which we have gained.
Three points were most striking to me: Firstly, there is a very unique quality to the way the sound is vocally produced, with much less support from the diaphragm. Secondly, the miniature microtonal colours that are organically produced by the voice - much of these we discard through trying to sing 'clean' notes, or sing 'in tune.' This presupposes that certain colours are literally 'out of the tune' and as a result we place some limitations on ourselves. Thirdly, the way that single melodies are not perfectly synchronised, though rather exist at once independently and symbiotically, in constant play with one another.