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Current Location: Homepage » Chinese Culture » Culture Discovery » Main Body

Fuzhou pinghua 福州评话

Profile:Fuzhou pinghua 福州评话
Time: 2006
Category: Recitative, story-telling
Region: Fujian Province
Ref. No.: V-3
Nominating unit[s]: Fuzhou City, Fujian Province
Fuzhou pinghua is a kind of storytelling show performed in Fuzhou dialect and solo storytelling style with interludes of singing. It is quite popular in more than 10 counties and cities such as Fuzhou, Minhou, Yongtai, Changle, Lianjiang, Fuqing and Minqing in Fujian Province, as well as in the settlement places of overseas Fuzhou Chinese in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.
Taking shape during the late Ming Dynasty and early Qing Dynasty, Fuzhou pinghua is said to be passed down by Ju Fuchen, the first student of Liu Jingting. He accepted apprentices and passed on this art at Shuangmen Pavilion after coming to Fuzhou. During that time, Fuzhou pinghua had been very popular, and this is supported by the existing masterpieces such as "Qi Xing Bai Zhi Ma (White Paper Horse with Seven Stars)", the carving copy made in the reigns of Yongzheng and Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty.
The singing styles of Fuzhou pinghua involve Xutou, Yinchang and Supai. Specifically, Xutou is a kind of short prelude, similar to "Ruhua (introduction)" in ancient storytelling shows; Yinchang refers to the basic vocal music for Chinese opera, which can be used for singing as well as expressing the character's inner monologue or dialogue between characters. Its melodies include "Gao Shan Liu Shui (Lofty Mountains and Flowing Water)", "Lang Tao Sha (Waves Washing Sands)", "Lian Zhu (Jointed Beads)", "Di Di Jin (Drips of Liquid Gold)", "Lei Ju (Sentences with Tears)" and so on. Supai features strong musical expressive force, so it can be used for telling the life experience of a character or pouring out grievances against injustice. This style is accompanied by the performance of chopsticks hitting on the cymbal. Additionally, there are some folk songs combining with certain stories, such as "He Nian Ge (New Year Greetings)," "Zhen Wu Zai (True Fries)", "San Shi Liu Jiao (Thirty-six Times of Rhythmization)", and "Wu Zi Die (Five-character Chorus)".
Fuzhou pinghua have a great variety of shows and can generally be classified into long stories, short stories, medium-length stories, legal stories and family stories in terms of the genre. In particular, long stories are historical stories, such as "San Guo (The Three Kingdoms)", "Sui Tang (The Sui and Tang Dynasties)" and "Jing Zhong Yue Zhuan (Biography of Devoted Officer Yue Fei)". Short stories are Kungfu stories, such as "Qi Xia Wu Yi (The Seven Heroes and Five Gallants)", "Peng Gong An (Story of Judge Peng)" and "Shi Gong An (Story of Judge Shi)". Medium-length stories include "Shui Hu Zhuan (Water Margin)" and so on. Legal stories are about honest and upright officials presenting petitions for common people and redressing cases of injustice, which is unique for Fuzhou pinghua with local features. Its magnum opuses include "Wang Gong Shi Ba Pan (Eighteen Cases of Judge Wang)", "Zhen Zhu Bei (Peal Bed)", "Chang Tai Shi Ba Ming (Eighteen Homicide Cases in Changtai County)" and so on. Family stories reflect family ethics and vicissitudes of life, for example, "Gan Guo Bao (name of a famous officer in the Qing Dynasty)", "Shuang Yu Chan (A Pair of Jade Cicadas)" and "Yu Bian Fu (Jade Bat)". After the foundation of the People's Republic of China, artists of Fuzhou pinghua composed and performed some new programs, which had caused some influence and prevalence among people. The representative works include "Jiu Ming Chen Yuan (Redressing Nine Cases of Injustice)", "Liu Shui Huan Ge (Paean for Hydraulic Project)", "Xiao Cheng Chun Qiu (History of A Small Town)" and "Bao Wei Yan An (Guarding Yan'an City)".
Fuzhou pinghua is of great importance and value in history and culture in terms of instruments, way of singing, unique genres, traditional themes of storytelling etc. Therefore, it is regarded as a "living fossil" of the ancient folk vocal art. However, there have been great difficulties and challenges for the current survival and future development of Fuzhou pinghua. Hence, it requires forceful support and protection.
陈如燕 毛钦铭
Chen Ruyan and Mao Qinming

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