Suzhou Pingtan is a general term denoting Suzhou Pinghua and Tanci, namely, storytelling and ballad singing in the Suzhou dialect. Flourishing in Suzhou of Jiangsu Province (famous tourist destination included in China best tours), it also enjoys great popularity in neighboring Zhejiang Province and Shanghai.
The art has a long history. Pinghua developed from the storytelling art of the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasties, and the performances are speaking only, there is no singing. . Pingtan evolved from Bianwen an art form that propagandized Buddhist teachings during the Tang Dynasty.
In the late years of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the early years of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911, learn more Chinese dynasties via China vacation deals), actors and actresses began to perform in the Suzhou dialect, from this Suzhou Pingtan emerged. Suzhou Pingtan reached its peak during the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1739-1796) during the Qing Dynasty. In the subsequent more than 200 years, the art form saw much improvement. It is still popular today.
Suzhou Pingtan is known for its story telling, joke cracking, music playing and aria singing. It is performed solo, in duet or as a trio, and involves singing and storytelling. The small three-stringed plucked instrument and Pipa (lute) are used as accompaniments. The Ban, or wooden clappers, produces various styles of tone and melody.
Pingtan has absorbed popular folk tunes. Due to this development, Suzhou Pingtan has a great diversity of styles in singing and storytelling.
Pinghua is mostly performed by a narrator that holds a fan and a piece of wood whiletelling s historical, judicial, heroic and epic stories. The most popular stories are The Tale of Yue Fei, Gallant Heroes, The Water Margin, and The Seven Gallant Men and Five Heroes from the Three Kingdoms, The Sui and Tang Dynasties. If you are interested in it, you can choose to watch to color your popular China tours.
Declarer：Suzhou City of Jiangsu Province
Tanci is mostly performed by two singer narrators, and occasionally by one or three narrators, accompanied by a three-string zither and a pipa lute, telling and singing stories from daily life and about love affairs. The most popular stories are The Pear Pagoda, The Jade Dragon flies, The Gilded Hairpins, and the Three Smiles.
After the founding of the People's Republic of China, the government set up Suzhou Pingtan School research offices and other institutes to protect and carry on this traditional art. After the 1980s, Suzhou Pingtan performers staged performances in Japan, Singapore, Italy, the US and Canada, where they introduced it to overseas communities with great success.
Suzhou Pingtan should not be missed during your travel to China
What is Suzhou Pingtan?