Zhejiang folk art has a long history. As early as in the Song Dynasty, a great variety of folk arts had become very popular in the eastern coastal province of China. As far as its musical characteristics are concerned, Zhejiang folk music falls into the following categories:
Hangzhou Tan Huang
Tan Huang, initially known as "An Kang" or "Hang Tan", was a folk art performance prevailing around Hangzhou. It featured four types of roles covering the male character, female character, character with a painted face and clown and the cast usually consisted of five to nine performers. Its lyrics were mainly composed of seven sentences and the singing was always accompanied by such instruments as San-Xian (Chinese trichord), Hu-Qin (two-stringed Chinese violin), pi-pa, Sheng (a reed pipe wind instrument), Xiao (a vertical bamboo flute), flute and Gu-Ban (clappers). It died out during the "Cultural Revolution". Now the only things left are the recorded 120 traditional acts.
Wulin Ban, previously known as "Hang Qu” (tunes of Hangzhou), was a folk band prevalent in the northern part of Hangzhou, the capital of east China’s Zhejiang Province. It featured a combination of singing and talking with performers sitting or walking around.
Xiao Re Hun
It was a kind of singing-and-talking art form prevailing in Hangzhou, Shanghai and the southern Jiangsu. The performance usually started with a man or two standing on a bench singing with the accompaniment of small gongs to attract the audience, and then was followed by "Mai Kou", funny jokes depicting twisted images of real life in an exaggerated way.
Si Ming Nan Ci
Si Ming Nan Ci, or Si Ming Wen Shu, is a kind of Tan Ci (story-telling) in Ningbo dialect. It was popular around Ningbo, Yuyao and Fenghu with the number of performers ranging from three to thirteen. Accompanying instruments like pi-pa, Er-Hu, Sheng, Xiao, Zheng, Gu-Ban are employed. The lyrics are of seven-character sentences or ten-character sentences with additional three characters in the head.