The yaogu ( 腰鼓 , or "waist drum"), sometimes historically referred to as the hugu ( 胡鼓, or "barbarian drum" ) or xiyugu ( 西域鼓 "drum from the Western Regions" ), is a medium-sized, traditional Chinese drum.[2] It is the symbol of Chinese drums[citation needed]. It is used as part of a number of traditional customs and celebrations, including Chinese New Year and Lantern Festival.[3]

A Yaogu player (far right, mid-ground) depicted in a Daoist musical ensemble.

The drum is played at the musician's waist, being struck with the hands or with wooden sticks.[4]

HistoryEdit

In ancient times, in the Yellow River valley, the male in every tribe wrapped sheepskins around the trunk of a tree and carried it at his waist, to drive beasts away from the tribes.[5]

The first percussion instrument originated four thousand years ago in China in the neolithic Shang Dynasty. Percussion instruments were widely used in celebration of the dynasty and the conflicts.[6] Drums symbolized spirit and power and represented the universe.[7]

Dating to the Qing and Han Dynasties, the yaogu was used to send signals to frontier guards, to inform their leaders that enemies were approaching.[8] People played the Yaogu to celebrate the harvest.[9] It is believed that the sound of the yaogu brings luck to local areas during prayer.

 
Yangko (Yangge): Traditional Chinese dance performance

At the beginning of the 20th century, the yaogu was combined with dance when the peasants were working in the fields. In order to recover from fatigue and boredom, peasants in northwest China developed a dance named "Yangko" from fieldwork. Yangko (also named Yangge) remains a popular rural folk dance.[10]

ConstructionEdit

Yaogu have been described by texts as being a type of hourglass drum,[1] as can be seen in historical images like the one above[citation needed], but others, indeed many modern instruments, are instead tall and narrow with a slightly widened middle[citation needed].

As part of Traditional DanceEdit

Yaogu performances are energetic affairs; performers move their bodies with the beats of drums and musical rhythm to express particular passions. Performers shake their heads and wave their shoulders strongly, combining dance moves with their own personal experiences.[11][12]

As soloistEdit

Yaogu players have also taken the role of a "soloist" in the Western classical tradition, standing in front of an orchestra.[13]

 
Waist drums in Ansai, Shanxi, China

CultureEdit

The Yaogu is thought to originate from the Western Regions of China.[14]

The Yaogu has been associated with the simple and unconstrained character of the farmers in the northwest loess plateau, expressing the collective spirit of the Shanxi people, and wishes for a good life.[15]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Thrasher, Alan R. (May 28, 2015). "Xiyaogu". Oxford Grove Online.
  2. ^ "Chinese Waist Drum, Yaogu: A Chinese Musical Instrument". www.topchinatravel.com. Retrieved 2019-01-16.
  3. ^ "Celebrating Lunar New Year with the Chinese Waist Drum Dance". my.christchurchcitylibraries.com. Retrieved 2021-02-15.
  4. ^ Su-Il, Jeong (2016). The silk road encyclopedia (English ed.). Irvine, CA: Seoul Selection. ISBN 978-1624120763. OCLC 955004028.
  5. ^ Xi bu zhi lian., Yang, Shulin., Lu, Yuan., Guangzhou Shi xin shi dai, 2008, ISBN 9787885256180, OCLC 771858552CS1 maint: others (link)
  6. ^ scholar), Jin, Jie (Music (2011). Chinese music. Wang, Li., Li, Rong. (Updated ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521186919. OCLC 671710042.
  7. ^ Asian American religious cultures. Lee, Jonathan H. X.,, Matsuoka, Fumitaka,, Yee, Edmond, 1938-, Nakasone, Ronald Y. Santa Barbara. ISBN 9781598843309. OCLC 895731298.CS1 maint: others (link)
  8. ^ Luo, Qi (2015-05-27). Sports Engineering and Computer Science : proceedings of the 2014 International Conference on Sport Science and Computer Science (SSCS 2014), Singapore, 16-17 September 2014 & the 2014 International Conference on Biomechanics and Sports Engineering (BSE 2014), Riga, Latvia, 24-25 October, 2014. Luo, Qi,, International Conference on Sport Science and Computer Science (2014 : Singapore), International Conference on Biomechanics and Sports Engineering (2014 : Riga, Latvia). Boca Raton, FL. ISBN 9781315755717. OCLC 910237206.
  9. ^ Survey of China Mainland Press. American Consulate General. September 1971.
  10. ^ James, DeMare, Brian (2015-04-02). Mao's cultural army : drama troupes in China's rural revolution. Cambridge. ISBN 9781107076327. OCLC 897510462.
  11. ^ "The Joy of the Chinese Waist Drum Dance - Vision Times". www.visiontimes.com. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  12. ^ 1981-, Wilcox, Emily. Revolutionary bodies : Chinese dance and the socialist legacy. Oakland, California. ISBN 9780520971905. OCLC 1043052885.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  13. ^ Chime : newsletter of the European Foundation for Chinese Music Research. Shanghai: European Foundation for Chinese Music Research. 1990. p. 43.
  14. ^ Su-Il, Jeong (2016). The silk road encyclopedia (English ed.). Irvine, CA: Seoul Selection. ISBN 978-1624120763. OCLC 955004028.
  15. ^ "The Joy of the Chinese Waist Drum Dance - Vision Times". www.visiontimes.com. Retrieved 2018-11-02.