Ya-Yüeh

(Chinese "elegant music")
   Refers to the court music of imperial China from 221 B. C. to 1911. This tradition came to incorporate the rituals of Confucianism in the Han dynasties (206 B. C.–220). The nature of the songs—text, number of performers, types of instruments, etc.—depended on immediate circumstances. The oldest notation dates from the late 12th century. Confucianists insist on a pentatonic scale (C, D, E, G, A) as the basic compositional material; auxiliary tones could ornament melodic patterns.

Historical dictionary of sacred music. . 2006.

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