Kunqu opera is one of the oldest extant forms of Chinese opera. It was originated from the Kunshan melody in Suzhou in 14th or 15th century and is an acting arts combined with singing, reciting, acting, movement, dancing and martial-arts. Kunqu has influenced on many other Chinese theatre forms, so it is known as ‘the mother’ of a-hundred operas. A small ensemble of wind and string instruments and percussion instruments accompany the singing and stage action. The music instruments that used for Kunqu is different from Beijing Opera. Perfectly matching the poetry style of the play, bamboo flutes and three-string play the lead part in its music. Others are bamboo-pipe-composed Sheng, Er Hu and Pi Pa (P"i P"a). Two notably different prosody styles were developed then, namely, the faster Northern style which uses sing instrument, and the mellower, slower Southern style which uses wind as the major instrument. Kunqu Opera is listed as one of the master pieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO since 2001.
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