Development of Kun Opera in China

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Development of Kun Opera in China
Created under the Ming Dynasty, Kun opera was popular throughout China, and was characterized by a series of elegant melodic songs or arias which formed the middle section of the piece, introduced by a vocal prelude and concluded with a vocal postlude and possibly a finale. The melodic style used material from both southern and northern Chinese music. In Kun opera, singers are accompanied by melodic instruments, including the di transverse flute, sheng mouth organ and sanxian three-stringed lute. Percussion instrumens include the wooden clapper, conductor drum and gongs. The earliest living tradition of Chinese opera, Kun opera is still performed in the twenieth century, although it was largely replaced by Peking opera. Nevertheless, Kun opera forms the basis of training for Chinese opera performers for all types of traditional operatic performance.