Taoist Music


As implicit in all Taoist practices, music is essential to all ceremonial occasions as a way to help instill inner harmony, balance and simplicity in all things.  Here we have examples of ceremonial music. 


Di Zi (pronounced dee-ch) is the Chinese version of flute traditionally made of bamboo (occasionally of wood). It is believed to have been brought in from Tibet during the Chinese Han Dynasty and since then it has been used over the past 2,000 years in China. The Chinese character for this flute (Dizi) generally means side blown or transverse flute.

Morning Recitation (17 min.)

Morning and evening recitations are everyday religious activities in Taoist temples. This recitation tradition, legendarily originated in the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234) when Wang Chongyang, the patriarch of the Complete Perfection Tradition, founded the Taoist temple system, has a history of over 800 years. At the hour of Breaking the Quiet at 5 o'clock every morning, temple-inhabiting Taoists get up and clean the courtyard and halls. After washing up and breakfast, they assemble in the hall and recite morning altar scriptures . After supper every evening, on hearing the first drum calling to the altar, they again dress formally and assemble in the hall to recite evening altar scriptures.  This happens every day throughout the whole year. Music is performed in the Morning Recitation. It includes: 1. Pure and Clear Tune. The Pure and Clear Tune is performed to accompany the scripture recitation in the morning and evening. Its purpose is to purify the mind in preparation for cultivation. It is frequently performed in Taoist rituals. 2. Enticing the Heavenly Lord. 3. Diaogua. 4. Incense Offering. 5. Tigang. 6. Fan Batian. 7. Tigang. 8. Zhongtang Zan. 9. Minor Ode. and 10. The Three Refuges.

Ruan  A very ancient four-stringed moon-shaped lute with long and straight neck and various number of frets, dated back at least to Qin Daynasty (around 200 BCE).

Major Ode Tune (4 min.)

The scriptures of the odes to heavenly deities are usually recited to sing praises for such Taoist major deities as the Five Patriarchs and the Seven Perfect Ones . At that time, Taoists sing the Major Ode Tune to express their respect for the Immortals.

Five Offerings (4 min.)

This piece of music describes the incense-offering and deity-worshiping activities Hong Kong Taoism believers often hold. The melody of the Five Offerings Ode , performed repeatedly, is very fluent and beautiful. With rich Cantonese music features, it pictures believers kowtowing with sincere piety. The stately drums picture the prosperous field of people roaring with songs and bustling with activities.

Ode of Wishing for Longevity (6 min.)

This is a piece of music frequently performed in auspicious rituals in Taoist temples in Hong Kong. One of the major aims of Taoism is to achieve longevity and immortality and enjoy limitless bliss. This piece of music is both an ode to deities and an expression of best wishes for the common people

Guqin A seven-stringed zither without bridges, the most classical Chinese instrument with over 3000 years of history. It is literally called qin yet commonly known as "guqin" where "gu" stands for ancient. Confucius (around 600 BCE) was a master of this instrument. To learn to play qin used to be regarded as a very important element for education for the purpose of enriching the heart and elevating human spirit.


source: http://www.eng.taoism.org.hk/daoism&human-civilization/daoism-literature&art/music.asp\

return to schedule