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Hechi Bronze Drums: Most beautiful harmony at Guangxi Sanyuesan Festival
Updated: 2024-03-20


A close view of bronze drums. [Photo/Hechi Daily]

For millennia, the rhythmic beats of bronze drums have echoed through the traditions of the Zhuang, Yao, Miao, and other ethnic groups in Guangxi, giving birth to the distinctive bronze drum culture. Hechi, renowned as the "hometown of the bronze drums," boasts over half of the world's preserved bronze drums.

In recent years, the bronze drums of Hechi have taken on a new look on the stage of the Sanyuesan Festival, a grand celebration of unity, harmony, and development among the diverse ethnic groups in Guangxi. Performers stand before more than 20 miniature bronze drums, striking them with small drumsticks.

The bronze drums produce clear and bright high-pitched tones, akin to the tinkling of spring water, and deep and resonant low-pitched tones, resembling the rumbling of spring thunder. Instantly, the bronze drums no longer seem like ancient and mysterious ritual objects.

In Donglan county, two sets of "male and female bronze drums" are combined to produce up to 24 striking sequences using four bronze drums. Coupled with changes in rhythm, the resulting musical notes are even more intricate and diverse.


Chinese actor Wang Dongshan practices with a set of miniature-tuned bronze drums in preparation for the upcoming 2024 Sanyuesan Festival. [Photo/Hechi Daily]

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