Poetry of Music, With Music, and Alienating Music

A New Perspective on the History of Yuefu Poetry


  • Rong YAO


With their lyrics and music closely connected, the yuefu poems in the Han Dynasty are mostly singable, thus are much influenced and restricted by music. Han yuefu descends from the structure of Qin yuefu, but its function and influence far surpass Qin yuefu. Yuefu functions as the office for collecting poems, composing, arranging music and singing. The Western Han yuefu poems are mostly yayue雅乐 (ceremonial music), enhancing the development of sanyan 三言 (three-syllable-line) and qiyan 七言 (seven-syllable-line) poems. The Eastern Han yuefu poems prosper with suyue俗乐 (secular music), with which folk yuefu poems greatly develop.

Keywords: Yuefu Poetry, Yuefu, Music, Ceremonial Music, Secular Music


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