Prostitutes, chamber music and recording

 
Traditional Chinese singing girls, who used to make music in teahouses, brothels, etc. But look ! A gramophone player ! This would date the photo to the first decade of the 20th century, when  such things were still such a novelty that people would pay to listen to sound coming from a machine.  So these enterprising girls found a way to draw the punters while giving themselves a break from singing and playing.  Recording technology came early to China. There are quite a few cylinders of Beijing opera stars singing popular arias.  From the style of their clothing, (unusually high collars) these girls come from North China. Their feet are tiny – possibly the result of footbinding that fell out of favour after the 1911 revolution.  Generally footbinding was a middle class thing,  which suggests that these girls were “bought” as infants in order to be trained as prostitutes. (though “prostitution” in that context was a mix of different services, like geishas don’t just do sex)

The recording below is a Gaisberg cylinder from 1902, in Cantonese dialect, but there exist Beijing-made recordings from 1905-1908 made for the Chinese market

Original Source: Prostitutes, chamber music and recording

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s