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Dance of the Yi People and its Classical Guitar Adaptation

Aug 17, 2010

Written in 1965 by Wang Huiran, Dance of the Yi People was adapted from two Yi Ethnic (Yunnan Province) folk song “Seaweed Tune” and “Cigarette Box Dance”. The music has beautiful lyric melodies and powerful rhythm beat. It vividly presents the charming night scenery of Yi mountain villages and the joyful dance scenes of enthusiastic young men and women.


Yi people dancing | by {link:http://www.flickr.com/photos/freemindcard/4774822588/}free mind gallery{/link}

In the song, the Wang Huiran firstly introduced “four fingers tremolo” technique. Thus, based on the traditional buckle tremolo, pick tremolo, hook tremolo, “four fingers tremolo” separates the right hand thumb, and use the other four fingers to make tremolo. In the mean time, the thumb plays separate accompaniment parts to play the effect of polyphony or harmony.

“Dance of the Yi People ” has become one of the representative works of the fourth climax in the history of Chinese Pipa music.

Its classical guitar adaptation

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This music is rich in national characteristics, and has a strong flavor of the times. It is deeply loved many musicians, was adapted into Guzheng, Sanxian, Yangqin, Ruan solo and orchestral music.

A famous Guitarist, Yin Biao, turned it into a classical guitar solo. In 1987, he played it at China International Guitar Festival held in Zhuhai. Artists from France, Japan, Spain, Austria and Argentina praised it and it soon became one of the most influential classical guitar music in the guitar world.

Mr. Chen Zhi – a well-known guitar educator – praised “Dance of the Yi Tribe” that it is a valuable creative exploration in the nationalization of the classical guitar!

A Guzheng version is below:

Pop Song: 999 Roses – A Vocal Adaption

As with many Chinese compositions for traditional instruments, in the late 20th century Dance of the Yi People was also remade into a Chinese popular song entitled “999 Roses” (九百九十九朵玫瑰), sung by Samuel Tai (邰正宵). You can listen to the Chinese pop song on youtube here: 999 Roses.

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