Xipi and Erhuang


Beijing Opera has an history of over 200 years. The main melodies originated from Xipi and Erhuang , known as Pihuang, in Anhui and Hubei respectively and over time techniques from many other local operas were incorporated. Within Xipi and Erhuang, there are different banshi (modes), developed from a basic tune but varying a bit in beat, rhythm and melody.

The tune of xipi is relatively vivacity, bright and powerful in aria, intensive in rhythm, which manifests the mood of pleasant, firm and resentful. And the slab modes for xipi include Yuanban (original mode), Manban (largo), Kuaisanyan (allegro), Sanban (lyrical and loose mode), Yaoban (swing mode), Erliu (two and six), Liushui (flowing water), Kuaiban (allegro), Huilong and so on.

Another major tone in Beijing Opera is erhuang and erhuang used for express the lyric mood, such as mild, placid and gentle. Erhuang is smooth in rhythm, fluent in aria, which is able to express the dolorous, grief and pensive emotion. Therefore, it is widely used in tragedies. The slab modes for erhuang include Yuanban (original mode), Manban (largo), Kuaisanyan (allegro), Sanban (lyrical and loose mode), Yaoban (swing mode), and suona (Chinese oboe) and so on.

Singing is prominent as a means of characterization in Beijing Opera. Apart from the main Xipi and Erhuang tunes, there are some other tunes, such as Sipingdiao, Manbangai and Gaobozi.