Traditional Chinese music finds new life online

The concert Photo: Courtesy of the National Traditional Orchestra of China

With a history of thousands of years, traditional Chinese classical music is finding a new way to reach audiences – through live streaming platforms.

China’s National Traditional Orchestra and live-streaming platform Douyin launched a plan to provide an online stage for folk musicians, starting Wednesday.

More than a hundred folk music artists will be invited to the live streaming platform to bring folk concerts to millions of online viewers.

The plan will also help 1,000 folk musicians to earn a living through live broadcasting in the future.

“Through such a step, we hope that more people will have a chance to enjoy the beauty of traditional instruments, and the reward of live streaming can also be a benefit for the heirs who contribute a lot to the intangible culture of the China,” said Zhang Fuping, vice president. chairman of Douyin, said Wednesday at the launch ceremony.

Traditional Chinese music reached its peak in the Sui and Tang dynasties when wind and string instruments came into existence. It was a new era for Chinese music, and many poets also described the beauty of folk music.

As more and more art forms adapt to new trends, folk musicians across the country have also moved their performances online to reach more listeners.

For example, this year’s Lantern Festival saw a live broadcast of a concert by the National Traditional Orchestra of China, which recorded more than 24 million internet visits.

During the nearly three-year pandemic, the Shanghai Chinese Orchestra also launched an online performance series bringing dozens of live online concerts to Shanghai citizens during this difficult time.

“Performing online is a natural way to spread art. And there are more and more folk artists using live streaming platforms. Over the past month, various activities and competitions offered by the National Traditional Orchestra of China on online platforms have registered more than 11 million views,” Zhao Cong, conductor of the orchestra, recalled at the opening ceremony. launch.

As data from Douyin shows, the total number of views for folk music live streams reached 6.1 billion. Over the past year, live streams of folk music exceeded 1.78 million, with 4,200 folk music performances per day.

Due to the dual impact of the epidemic and social development, folk musicians have had fewer opportunities to perform offline in recent years.

Caojiaban, a performing group established by the founder surnamed Cao, from Xuzhou, east China’s Jiangsu Province, has long played Suona, a Chinese double-reed wind instrument.

Since the group went online from March, their livestream account has attracted 620,000 subscribers.

The group has performed for decades at weddings and funerals in rural China, but Suona performances have become less common in the modern world. However, playing online “has become a new source of income for us”, said a member of the group.

Industry insiders said the combination of online live streaming with traditional forms of music allows artists to use new media channels to spread art and culture.

The move online began in 2017, when some heirs of traditional Chinese opera held a live-streamed event through another live-streaming platform, Momo. They detailed the characteristics of the different operas as well as the costumes, attracting 627,000 spectators in just one hour.

Another platform, Douyu, held a series of activities in 2017 saluting the heirs of Chinese intangible culture. It held a Duanwu Festival and broadcast Cantonese Opera performances, gaining 10 million views from 30 live broadcast activities.

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