Speaking Percussion, Performing Language

Juxtaposition of staff notation, letter notation, and character notation representing a luogujing

Juxtaposition of staff notation, letter notation, and character notation representing a luogujing

"Speaking Percussion, Performing Language: Workshop on Peking Opera Percussion and Chinese Language Curriculum." The workshop introduces a special kind of “oral notation” or "language" in Peking opera percussion music named luogujing 鑼鼓經/锣鼓经, and explore how this dynamic music/language system, as well as other Chinese performing arts components, can be integrated into Chinese language curriculum. This workshop is designed for current and prospective language educators, program leaders, and curriculum planners.  

Luogujing is an onomatopoeic system that uses verbal syllables to represent percussion sounds, playing techniques, dynamics, rhythms and pitches. Similar to Chinese language, it applies different tones and needs to follow specific rules when constructing "sentences." Applied as a "phonic score" and mnemonic tool, luogujing serves as a pedagogical means and crucial performance aid. It is considered a special “language” for Peking opera practitioners to “talk” about the music, transmit musical concepts, and communicate with each other in rehearsals, discussions, and even daily conversations.

This workshop (a 75 minutes session, for example) begins with a brief introduction of percussion session in Peking opera ensemble, named wuchang, and introduces kouchuan xinshou 口傳心授/口传心授, the most important pedagogy in Peking opera’s oral tradition. And then, drawing upon my twenty years of experience with Peking opera in Taiwan, it will look into the content of luogujing, talk about the principles of its application, and discuss how this spoken percussive language can be an integral part in Chinese language teaching. Finally, I will lead hands-on practice of the luogujing and play percussion instruments if time is allowed.

For more details, please contact me.