Photo 1: Suzhou Pingtan, Known as “Pearl of Jiangnan”
Suzhou Pingtan is a kind of local folk art sung and performed in Suzhou dialect. It is a kind of Talk-and-sing art originated in Suzhou. It is very popular in the Jiangnan area and is commonly known as “storytelling.” Suzhou Pingtan is a general term for Pinghua and Tanci. Pinghua only says but does not sing, Tanci says and sings, the actors play and sing by themselves, and Suzhou soft dialect is pleasing to the ear, with fluctuation and cadence. Some jokes are also interspersed in the performance, very interesting.
Photo 2: Pingtan Museum on Shantang Street
Suzhou Pingtan has a long history, originated from the telling and singing literature of the Tang and Song dynasties and was quite popular in the Qianlong period of the Qing Dynasty. Generally, there are only 1-2 people for each performance of Pingtan without sets and props, the performers don’t wear makeup. The language of Pingtan is refined, the tune is beautiful, speech and amusement are touching, meticulously depicts the inner activities of characters, and vividly portrays the lovely voice and happy countenance of characters.
Photo 3: Suzhou Pingtan Artist Wang Zhoushi, Once Sang for Emperor Qianlong.
Suzhou Pingtan has experienced inheritance and creation by artists of the past dynasties, and its performance techniques have been greatly enriched and developed. Nowadays, Suzhou Pingtan has various genres with different styles, which integrate and absorb many Qupai ( the Spreading Carrier of Traditional Music& the Distinctive Thinking of Chinese Traditional Music Creation) and Folk Ditties, forming a unique aria style.
Photo 4: Guangyu Shuchang(Shuchang is a Place Where Professional Story Tellers Perform)
There are many places to listen to Pingtan in Suzhou, more than thirty places in the urban area alone. Now ordinary leisure teahouses also have such performances, among which the more famous and traditional place is Guangyu Shuchang with archaize buildings on No.1 Tianmen Road, behind the pedestrian street, where storytellers have always been better in the circle.
Photo 5: In the Gentleness of Suzhou Soft Dialect, it is Definitely an Extraordinary Audio-visual Feast
Suzhou Pingtan won the favor of the masses with its light and flexible form, beautiful and melodious music, vivid and lively expression, and fascinating content. It has been hailed as “China’s most beautiful voice” by Yu Dagang, a famous master of Chinese culture. When you come to Suzhou and listen to the unique Suzhou Pingtan, you will have a deeper understanding of this historic city and appreciate the lingering charm of its long history.