Saturday, February 5, 2011

Well known music on shortwave

A few weeks ago I went out to dinner to a popular restaurant in Taipei. This 5 star restaurant serves very traditional Chinese food and is one of the most popular places around the time of the Chinese New Year. I've been to this place a number of times, but this time was different. We walked in, the waiter showed us to our table, we order a bottle of wine and the rest. All during this time my mind was else where. My friends kept asking me if something was wrong, and yes there was something wrong. The background music caught my interest.
The whole time I kept thinking I've heard it before, but was unable to place it. Until! Then I remembered where I heard it before. It was the music used by the Chinese on a number of frequencies to jam foreign broadcasters. Yes! The infamous FIREDRAKE being played in a restaurant in Taipei. The following day I contacted a friend who teaches in the traditional music department of Taiwan National University and played for him a recording of FIREDRAKE. And well he had heard the piece. What he told me was the following. The piece we know as Firedrake goes back to the time of Kong Qiu (孔丘) or as you might know him Confusius (551BC to 479BC) and the Zhou Dynasty (周朝) (1046BC to 256BC). The piece was traditionally played during the Chinese New Year, but through the years has changed. Beginning around the time of the Qin Dynasty (221BC to 206BC) to the Qing Dynasty (1644 to 1911) each of the Emperors influenced the piece as we know it today. As for a name? This has also changed multiply times.
I should mention this is only a short history. But I'm in the middle of working on a piece which will be used on Media Network Plus to look at it's history.
If you have never heard the full FIREDRAKE before click here for the full unedited version.

1 comment:

Dan said...

Thank you for your contribution to this site! I, for one, will enjoy the perspecitve of someone who is very respected within the Shortwave community! 73 Dan