The earliest part of Chinese history before the Xia Dynasty, documented as the first Chinese dynasty, is shrouded in legend, known as the Mythical Period. The problem with this period, as Girardot (1976:294–95) points out, is that there was an extreme paucity and fragmentation of mythological accounts. Regardless, I will give some of the versions of the myths and legends I’ve found.
Fig.1. PanGu sculpture with horns and yin-yang axe Continue reading “Example 2 Research, Part 1: Mythical Ancient Chinese Music”
In the introductory post, I mentioned how the first pentatonic example I wrote, combined with the free flow of the melody, somehow ended up resembling a Western chant, which inspired me to start this research and brought me to a stream of scholarly thought, where pentatonic scale is seen as the underlying framework of the Gregorian chant.
This link is not surprising, since, as I’ve mentioned before, pentatonic scale is common to early cultures through the world. Beside the Far Eastern and Celtic cultures, Engel (1870: 138, 153-57), Gavaert (1875: 4-5), Helmholtz (1890: 257-258), Riemann (1916), Sachs (1943: 204, 218-221) and others suggest its relationship in the antiquity with the West and the Middle East, including the Greek, Assyrian and Egyptian music. Also, authors like Szabolcsi (1948: 309-13) and Sendrey (1969: 212) argue that early Hebraic melodies appeared to have been based largely on the pentatonic scale. Furthermore, Glantz (2008: 192-193) points out that the Nusach service for the weekday morning Amidah is based on the pentatonic scale – its original mode, and his theory asserts that Ashkenazi liturgical music repertoire is almost entirely under the pentatonic scale. Continue reading “Example 1 Research, Part 5: Pentatonicism in the Gregorian Chant”