[Musical Instruments] [Occasions Eight-Tone is Performed] [Samples]
The Origin of Eight Tone
The term "Eight Tone" comes from the eight different materials used to
make Chinese musical instruments: Metal, stone, silk, bamboo, fullhouse,
pottery, leather and woods.
Although the term "Eight-Tone" comes from the eight materials, the music
itself has its own origin.
During their centuries of wandering throughout the Chinese mainland, the Hakka managed to
preserve their original customs, yet in their travels from the north of the Chinese mainland to the south, they
absorbed the folk music of each region. This gradually became a distinctive type of music, known as the
Hakka Eight Tones.
During the fourth Hakka Migration(1645-1867), their Eight-Tone music was brought to Taiwan.
Musicians were known as Eight-Tone Troupes or Gong and Drum Troupes. Their performances were an
indispensable part of weddings, funerals, celebrations, and temple visits by the gods.
These are the musical instruments used in playing Eight-Tone. Click on them to listen to their
Occasions Eight-Tone is Performed
Major Lunar Calendar Temple Events
Performances During Celebrations
- Qi-Tien-Shen ceremony during the Latern Festival.
- Ceremonies receiving the goddess Ma-Zu between the first and third lunar months.
- Birthdays of gods worshiped by Hakka clans, such as Ma-Zu, En-Zhu-Gung, Wu-Gu-Da-Di,
Guan-Yin-Pu-Sa, San-Shan-Guo-Wang, Chen-Huang-Yie, and Yi-Ming-Miao, etc.
- Ghost month temple celebrations.
- Huan-Tien-Shen ceremony on the 15th of the 10th lunar month.
- Jien-Jiao Taoist ceremonies.
Music Theater Performances
- Pen-Chun performances, where Eight-Tone Troupes perform impromptu at households to celebrate
the lunar new year.
- Celebrations for obtaining high office or receiving a Ph. D. and Confucian temple celebrations.
In combination with Taiwan's Bei-Guan Luan-Tan music, providing off-stage musical accompaniment
for music theater performances.
Performances During Funerals
Performances at solemn funerals have become popular during the past decades, although the Eight-
Tone music is still considered to be appropriate for joyous and celebratory occations in the Miaoli
This is used to connect different songs in Eight-Tone. It is usually used
in Phen-Chun performed during the Chinese New Year.
It is performed by So-Na. It imitates the song sung by a man and a woman
when they are leaving each other.
It is from Old Mountain Song. It describes the difficulties a woman faced
when she is pregnant.
It describes what a little girl sees in the farm.
Adopted from "Musical Legacy of The Chinese Hakka People", Kwang Hwa Mass Communications
and Shuiching Sound Productions
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