Jablonski, Marek (Michael)

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Jiang Yuequan

(b Shanghai, 4 Nov 1917). Chinese Suzhou tanci ballad singer. Jiang Yuequan was born into a theatrical family, encountering many styles as a young man, and being particularly influenced by Beijing opera. Jiang’s Suzhou tanci teachers included Zhang Yunting and Zhou Yuquan, and he was himself earning a living in this field by the mid-1930s, performing such traditional ballads as Zhenzhu ta (‘Pearl Pagoda’). In 1951 Jiang joined the Shanghai People’s Pingtan Troupe (Shanghai Shi Renmin Pingtan Gongzuotuan).

In the early 1940s, Jiang developed his own style by combining elements of Beijing opera (such as methods of pronunciation and breath control), Western singing and the basis of Zhou Yuquan’s teachings. Jiang has continued to develop this style, in response to the demands of the stories he has performed. For instance, in the early 1950s, he devised methods for representing the strength and heroism of various revolutionary characters, at the same time expanding his range of melodic variation, the better to express the many traditional romances characteristic of the tanci repertory. A representative ballad in the former category is Haishang yingxiong (‘Heroes of the Sea’), while Du Shiniang and Yu qingting (‘Jade Dragonfly’) illustrate traditional love stories reworked by Jiang. Jiang’s work in the development of an independent musical style has influenced singers in many other tanci schools.

See also China, §IV, 1(ii).

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