Beijing Opera tutorial from ISMIR 2014

Jingju music: concepts and computational tools for its analysis
Teachers: Rafael Caro Repetto, Ajay Srinivasamurthy, Sankalp Gulati, Xavier Serra
Location: ISMIR 2014, Taipei (Taiwan)
Date: October 27th 2014


Jingju (also known as Peking or Beijing opera) is one of the most representative genres of Chinese traditional music. From an MIR perspective, jingju music offers interesting research topics that challenge current MIR tools. The singing/acting characters in jingju are classified into predefined role-type categories with characteristic singing styles. Their singing is accompanied by a small instrumental ensemble, within which a high pitched fiddle, the jinghu, is the most prominent instrument within the characteristic heterophonic texture. The melodic conventions that form jingju modal systems, known as shengqiang, and the percussion patterns that signal important structural points in the performance offer interesting research questions. Also the overall rhythmic organization into pre-defined metrical patterns known as banshi makes tempo tracking and rhythmic analysis a challenging problem. Being Chinese a tonal language, the intelligibility of the text would require the expression of tonal categories in the melody, what offers an appealing scenario for the research of lyrics-melody relationship. The role of the performer as a core agent of the music creativity gives jingju music a notable space for improvisation. The lyrics and scores cannot be taken as authoritative sources, but as transcriptions of particular performances. 
In this tutorial we give an overview of Jingju music, of the relevant problems that can be studied from an MIR perspective and of the use of specific computational tools for its analysis. 


Jingju Demo

Demonstration of main concepts of jingju music and perfomance of one scene from 《四郎探母》 Fourth Son visits his mother by members of the Taiwanese 國光劇團 National Guo-Guang Opera during the ISMIR/WOCMAT 2014 Concert (Taipei's Grand Hotel, October 29, 2014) [video].


(To access the videos from China / 从中国访问视频: