Hangzhou Ci Commentary, commonly known as Xiaoshu, is the traditional art of rap and singing in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. It is a kind of folk art that tells stories in Hangzhou dialect, and belongs to the category of Tanci. It is popular in Hangzhou, Yuhang, Xiaoshan, Tonglu, Shaoxing and Zhuji.
In 2008, Hangzhou's commentary was approved by the State Council and included in the second batch of national intangible cultural heritage list.
Hangzhou Ci Commentary was formed at the end of Ming Dynasty and the beginning of Zhao Dynasty. It evolved from Nanci Ci and was called "document" at that time. It is also called "Qinshu" because it plays Erhu as its main accompaniment instrument.
This kind of music began to flourish in the middle of the Qing Dynasty. There were more than 80 artists in the late Qing Dynasty and the early Republic of China.
In the four years of the Republic of China (1915), the "Popular Education Society for Ci Comments" and "Guangyu Society for Ci Comments" were established, and several schools of art were formed.
In 1958, Hangzhou Ci-commenting artists all joined the Hangzhou Quyi Troupe.
Before the mid-1960s, the performance of Hangzhou Ci Commentary was still very active; from the late 1970s to the early 1980s, there were still two or three performers. At present, there are only two old artists in their eighties.
Form of performance
The form of Hangzhou's commentary is mainly composed of one person, Fans and handkerchiefs are used as props when speaking a watch, accompanied by huqin when singing, Dongxiang tune and seven-character sentences.
Hangzhou's traditional bibliography of more than 30 long poems is roughly the same as that of other kinds of poems. But the story happened mainly in Hangzhou's "White Snake Biography" and other bibliographies. The plot and details are quite different from other kinds of operas and performances. They have Hangzhou's regional characteristics. There are also unique bibliographies such as "Red Snake Biography" and "Green Snake Biography". There are also many unique "poems of mentioning Tang Dynasty" reflecting Hangzhou's local customs. Traditional bibliographies are mostly based on boudoir love, gifted scholars and beautiful women. For example, "Double Pearl Phoenix", "Pearl Tower", "Golden Seal", "White Snake Biography", "Pink Dressing Tower", "White Crane Picture", "Double Golden Flowers" and so on, a book can be said to be less than fifteen days, more than one month. Creating new books include Bitter Cauliflower, Plain Gunshooting and so on.
Hangzhou Ci Commentary has a long history. Its performance form, rap and singing skills, singing and accompaniment music, as well as book (song) catalogues, are unique in Chinese Ci and Quyi, and have great protection, inheritance and research value.