Guangdong music, also known as Cantonese music is a style of traditional Chinese instrumental music from Guangzhou and surrounding areas in Pearl River Delta of Guangdong Province on the southern coast of China. The name of the music is not an accurate description because Guangdong music is not the only music of the whole Guangdong area. Since the 1930s, the Guangdong music has become more commercialized by playing in teahouse and dance halls and thus more “upbeat”.
Most pieces of Guangdong music came from the folk music. It was not until the 1920s that a batch of composers of Guangdong music created about 500 works, greatly enriching the treasury of Guangdong music. For instance, at the beginning of the 20th century, folk artist Lu Wencheng changed the usual silk strings of Erhu to steel ones, raising its register four or five octaves, and giving it a brighter tone. During performances, he would hold the sound box between his legs in order to better control the pitch.
Guangdong music is good at depicting the minor facets of life, as well as being closely connected with revealing traditional emotions. To appreciate it, one should not be on the lookout for the great themes of social life, but for descriptions of natural scenery and objects, which bring a feeling of relaxation. Some of the finer pieces of music in this genre are as follows.
10 Famous Guangdong Music
Baihua Ting Nao Jiu (百花亭闹酒)
Bu Bu Gao (步步高, by Lü Wencheng)
È Mǎ Yáo Líng (饿马摇铃, possibly by He Liutang)
Han Tian Lei (旱天雷, by Yan Laolie)
Jiao Shi Ming Qin (蕉石鸣琴, by Lü Wencheng)
Píng Hú Qiū Yuè (平湖秋月, by Lü Wencheng)
Qīng Méi Zhú Mǎ (青梅竹马, by Lü Wencheng)
Sailong Duojin (赛龙夺锦, by He Liutang)
Xiao Tao Hong (小桃红)
Yu Da Ba Jiao (雨打芭蕉, possibly by He Liutang)
Yu Le Sheng Ping (娱乐升平, by Qiu Hechou)