OF THE ACCORDION IN CHINA
| The Sheng,
a Chinese free-reed mouth organ, is played by blowing through
a mouthpiece at the side. Of east Asian origin, it is one of
the oldest Chinese instruments and one of the oldest known mouth
organs. It was in common use before the time of Confucius (551-479
BC), and was played in Confucian ceremonial music up to the
20th century. It was also played in secular contexts
to accompany folk songs, as a solo instrument and in operas.
three most common types of modern Sheng have 17 bamboo pipes
mounted on a wind-chest usually made of copper. An individual
pipe sounds only when its finger-hole is stopped. The Sheng
is the only Chinese instrument which usually sounds more than
one note at a time, making it useful for solo performances.
introduction of the Sheng into Europe in 1777 by Pere Amiot
stimulated the use of the free reed principle in the construction
of organs and other instruments, including the development
of the accordion.
OF THE ACCORDION
the accordion was not introduced into China until 1926, there
are now far more accordionists in China than in any other
country, and possibly all other countries combined. When first
introduced, it was used for entertaining; collected in exotic
collections, given to children as presents, or usually used
for promotions in commerce in order to attract customers.
At that time, there was no material for accordion teaching,
nor were there teachers or schools that taught the accordion.
the Second World War broke out in 1939, many people left for
other countries. They were anxious to find a settled place
for life in the world. Many Russian accordionists and teachers
moved into Northeast China, giving professional performances.
They also taught the accordion throughout China and helped
standardise teaching methods. The Chinese accordionists readily
took up this opportunity, which helped in the first generation
of Chinese professional accordionists. They in turn passed
on their knowledge, and the accordion continued to grow in
popularity and expertise in playing.
the late 1940's, the PLA (Chinese People's Liberation Army)
had a strong influence in the development of the accordion
in China. In the 1950's and 1960's, military musicians always
performed in many places to enrich the cultural life of the
they toured China, the big bands and orchestras used the accordion
instead of the piano, because the piano was very inconvenient
to transport. At this time, the equipment they used was by
far better than those of the local people. Therefore, the
military accordionists organised numerous training classes
to help the local people improve their accordion playing.
These pioneers made great efforts to spread and introduce
the accordion to the people in China.
| In 1949,
the Chinese Government made a series of policies to develop
art education in the country. Included in these policies,
they offered accordionists full pay for teaching and performing.
these military accordionists formed the "Beijing Accordion
Orchestra" (the first accordion orchestra in China) and
held their first accordion concert. In 1963, they founded
the first accordion organisation in China, called the "Accordion
Society of China". The first president was Mr Ren Shirong.
They composed music which became very popular with other musicians.
Because of this, more and more people became interested in
the accordion, were eager to hear more accordion music and
wanted to learn. The accordion captured widespread attention
the 1960's, the accordion was played in most places in China.
At that time, there were not many high-quality accordions,
due to the general economy. These accordions, however, were
made glorious and used for important effects in concerts and
PERIOD OF GREAT GROWTH
1980's was a period of great growth, formation of many local
associations and the coming together of teachers and performers
throughout China. Many overseas guests were invited to play
in China to further their ideas. More competitions were hosted,
and accordionists competed overseas in international competitions.
Recordings were made by many of them.
the Society of Chinese Accordion Lovers was established in
Beijing. Mr Jiang Jie was the founding President.
the First Exchange Conference of Accordion Teaching was hosted
in the Sichuan Conservatory, from 14th - 21st
of April. This was the first time such a meeting had been
arranged. Teachers, performers and students came from all
over China, and shared ideas and experiences.
the Chinese Accordion Teachers Society was established. The
first President was Mr Shun Denun.
Ms Joan-Cochran Sommers, an American accordion professor from
UMKC, was invited to give lectures and conduct the Shanghai
Accordion Orchestra in rehearsal in Shanghai Normal University
the First Young Accordionists' Competition of China was held
in the Sichuan Conservatory in Chengdu, 3rd - 8th
of March. This was the first national professional accordion
competition in China, with more than 150 accordionists participating.
the Air New Zealand Accordion Orchestra was the first ever
international accordion orchestra to tour China, performing
live on both television and radio. Ms Yshmeijang, a Japanese
accordionist, was invited to give lectures and concerts in
the first Amateur Accordion Certificate Examination of China
was hosted in the Sichuan Conservatory. This was not only
the first examination in amateur accordion playing, but also
the first examination of any musical instrument in China.
the Beijing Accordion Society, Society of Chinese Accordion
Lovers and Chinese Accordion Teachers Society were combined
to form a new society, called the "Chinese Accordion
Society". The President was (and still is) Wu Shouzhi.
There are more than 7,000 members in the Society. It is the
biggest accordion organisation in China at present. China
became the 24th member country of the Confederation
Internationale des Accordeonistes.
two International Accordion Festivals were hosted in Wulumuqi
and Beijing. Many foreign accordionists and teachers were
invited to give lectures and demonstrations.
the first International Accordion Festival was hosted in Beijing,
and incorporated the National Championships.
accordion is taught as a major course in many art schools,
vocational schools, colleges and universities. According to
incomplete statistics, there are approximately 14 standard
colleges, 9 conservatories, 6 art colleges, 6 universities,
4 art schools, and many art centers in which the accordion
is taught as a course. In addition, there are also a great
number of performance unites, such as the Song & Dance
Troupe in each city of China, in which the accordion is used.
musical field of China, the accordion plays an important role,
getting praised whenever it is played and is widely recognised
as an essential part of Chinese music. There are professional
accordion performers in theatrical companies, orchestras,
and other art organisations. Classes are held in many cultural
centers. There are regular accordion television and radio
programmes. Organisations that teach the accordion have increased,
which has increased the number of players.
1996 accordion statistics in China
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