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Asian Art Calendar of Events

Saturday, February 17, 2018


Exhibition Public - USA & Canada

Resound: Ancient Bells of China

Smithsonian Institution
1050 Independence Ave SW,
Washington, D.C., USA
Oct 14, 2017 To Dec 31, 2019


Detail: Bells were among the first metal objects created in China. Beginning over 3,500 years ago, small, primitive noisemakers grew into gongs and further evolved into sets of hand bells for playing melodies. Further, centuries of technological experimentation resulted in more sophisticated bells that produced two pitches when struck in different spots.

Variations in size, shape, decoration, and sound also reveal regional differences across north and south China. By the late Bronze Age large sets of tuned bells were played in ensemble performances in both areas. Cast from bronze, these durable bells preserve valuable information about the character of early Chinese music.

Today we can use technology to explore these ancient instruments and to explain their acoustical properties, but we know little about the sound of this early music. To bring the bells to life, we commissioned three composers to create soundscapes using the recorded tones of a 2,500-year-old bell set on display. Each of them also produced a video projection to interpret his composition with moving images that allow us to “see sound.”

Phone No.: 202.633.1000
Fax: 202.357.4911
Contact Email: publicaffairsAsia@si.edu
Site URL: https://www.freersackler.si.edu/exhibition/resound-ancient-bells-of-china



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