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A mural from the tomb of Xu Xianxiu in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, dated 571 AD during the Northern Qi Dynasty, showing male court musicians playing stringed instruments, either the liuqin or pipa, and a woman playing a konghou (harp) Archaeological evidence indicates that music culture developed in China from a very early period.

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Symphony orchestras were formed in most major cities and performed to a wide audience in the concert halls and on radio.

The Imperial Music Bureau, first established in the Qin Dynasty (221–207 BC), was greatly expanded under the emperor Han Wu Di 汉武帝 (140–87 BC) and charged with supervising court music and military music and determining what folk music would be officially recognized.

In subsequent dynasties, the development of Chinese music was influenced by the musical traditions of Central Asia which also introduced elements of Indian music.

The answer was that it only mattered that the ruler loved his subjects.

In ancient China the social status of musicians was much lower than that of painters, though music was seen as central to the harmony and longevity of the state.

Music in the Zhou Dynasty was conceived as a cosmological manifestation of the sound of nature integrated into the binary universal order of yin and yang, and this concept has enduring influence later Chinese thinking on music.

"Correct" music according to Zhou concept would involve instruments correlating to the five elements of nature and would bring harmony to nature.

During the Zhou Dynasty, a formal system of court and ceremonial music later termed yayue (meaning "elegant music") was established.

Note that the word music (樂, yue) in ancient China can also refer to dance as music and dance were considered integral part of the whole, and its meaning can also be further extended to poetry as well as other art forms and rituals.

The word "dance" (舞) similarly also refers to music, and every dance would have had a piece of music associated with it.

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