Professional Storytelling (2)
The language of the modern quyi is closely related to the spoken dialects of the local areas. Some forms are exclusively in rhymed verse, some in prose, and some combine verse and prose passages. Acting and miming have an important place in most of these performing traditions, but the acting is generally—unlike the drama forms—characterized by 'one person acting out several roles' yi ren duo jue. The number of performers taking part in each session is usually restricted to one to three persons, and the stage props are likewise few and simple. Stringed instruments, drums and clappers are used for accompaniment with many of the quyi genres, while wind instruments are rare. Most of these genres can be traced back several hundred years in their literary and musical development, while some are of recent origin. Few genres have an individual history going further back than the 17th century. But telling and singing literature is found in a variety of older related genres which can be traced back to the Song and Tang dynasties, embryonic variants having been found in sources all the way back to the beginning of historical time in China. By the nature of this literature being primarily oral (and thus not literature at all in the etymological sense of that term), and formerly of low prestige, it is only to be expected that sources are often doubtful and much hidden in obscurity.
Next: Various forms of storytelling and Yangzhou storytelling