Music in Taoism Essay

1220 Words Dec 9th, 2013 5 Pages
Taoist Music: The Great Depiction of Yin-Yang Philosophy
Taoism, also known as Daoism, is an indigenous Chinese religion with its origin traced to the sage Laozi (Lao-tzu), a philosopher of ancient China believed to have lived in the sixth century B.C.E (Little 115). In Chinese, Dao means "way" or "path,” which is the appropriate way to behave and to lead others — but the Daode jing also refers to Tao as something that existed "before Heaven and Earth," a primal and chaotic matrix from which all forms emerged. The Classic of the Way and Its Power (Dao de jing or Tao-te-ching) introduces the doctrine of the Tao and serves as a guide for Taoists’ behavior and experience. The Dao de jing teaches the importance of cultivating simplicity,
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In taoist music, the principal belief of the Yin Yang is reflected through the categorizing of vocal music. The two main forms of Taoist vocal music are the Yin tone and the Yang tone. The Yang tone is used in rituals mainly for the benefit of the priests, spirits and gods. On the other hand, Yin tone is music aimed at entertaining and engaging the general public. The ceremony is usually started with chanting in the Yang tone, following by the livelier and more melodic Yin tone (.......). The combination of both the Yin tone and the Yang tone symbolizes the balance Taoists strive to achieve.
Along with the two vocal tones, taoist music is also performed in form of instrumental music and songs. Instrumental music is played at the beginning and closing of ceremonies, and between songs to accompany the dancing of the participants. Instrumental music in Taoism includes three kinds: the formal tune, the informal tune and the ritual instrumental tune. The formal tunes are performed with deep religious values while the informal tunes are mostly the folk music, and the ritual instrumental tunes refer to the instrumental tunes performed by percussion instruments (.....). In its religious aspect, the functions of Daoist music expresses in spreading doctrines and purifying people while in its practical aspect, consists in respecting the gods and entertaining the audience. Rhythm and

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