Traditional Chinese Music and Beyond

How music creates a 360 degree lantern festival experience

Photo by Jeff Fusco.

The glow of Tianyu Arts & Culture, Inc.’s larger-than-life lanterns of magnificent and varying colors is awe-inspiring and catches visitors’ eyes, but the music that fills the air is an integral part of the visitor experience.

We have created memorable festivals across the United States and Europe for over 3.12 million visitors, and a frequently asked question is where to find the music heard at the festivals. From traditional Chinese folk music to contemporary atmospheric music, many of our musical selections are customized and unique to individual festivals and previously could not be found online … until now!

Listen to Samples of Tianyu's Festival Music

Music plays an important role in our festivals, but China did not traditionally view music as an art form designed for entertainment purposes. One ancient Chinese belief is that music is meant to purify one’s thoughts — not to entertain1. This traditional Chinese cultural view of music has only changed in very recent times.

We work with our venue partners not only to create custom lantern designs, but also to determine the pitch-perfect musical choice to create the right atmosphere. We first provide our in-house musical selection for partners to choose from, or we can license music that fits their needs. Partners are also able to provide their own music.

A Tianyu Lantern Festival can have four to five different themes, and our team uses unique music for each of them from traditional Chinese music to more abstract music. (This is possible only when the venue footprint is large enough to accompany multiple musical choices without bleeding into each other.)

A few common themes in our festivals are Asian/Chinese cultures, Animal Kingdom, Ocean World, Dinosaur World, and Interactive Play Zone. We use Chinese and Asian folk music for the Chinese/Asian culture section and soundtracks of other ambient music for the other sections.

Musical instruments in China are classified by composition, including metal, bamboo, clay, and wood. Older Chinese instruments include long zithers, flutes, panpipes, drums, gongs, and more. Later instruments include lutes and fiddles, introduced to China from Central Asia1.

The Tianyu team can remix original music or add sound effects to make it truly one-of-a-kind and unique. Most of the music at our festivals is Chinese folk music, but we are also experimenting with other genres like electronic music to add diversity to our experience.

For stage performances during our festivals, performers typically bring their own music for their acts. However, visitors have told us that they also enjoy music during virtual performances, so we are working on making that possible! Stay tuned.