Traditional music is a cultural phenomenon that is closely tied to a society's daily life, culture, and history. Performed in a group, Nanguan and Beiguan are the two main traditional music forms of Taiwan. Nanguan was popularized in the more prosperous coastal cities of Taiwan, and was practiced as a form of leisure. On the other hand, the scope of Beiguan is broader, and its performance formats more complex. People are more likely to experience Beiguan's percussion and wind instrument music and theatrical performance at folk activities.
In recent years, traditional music has been facing the jeopardy of disappearing due to social changes; therefore, TNUA's Department of Traditional Music shoulders the great responsibility to preserve, pass on, and promote this invaluable form of art. They will perform Beigun and Nanguan in a casual outdoor setting to emphasize the local and daily-life aspects of Nanguan and Beiguan. A new generation of musicians will perform in a small yet elegant concert format that sheds a new light on these two types of traditional music.
The Department of Traditional Music was founded in 1995 to serve the needs of heritage, scholarship, development and education of traditional music in Taiwan. The Department offers undergraduate and graduate (M.A. and M.F.A.) programs. The undergraduate studies have a four-year curriculum in which students may choose to major in Chhin (Qin), Phi-pha (Pipa), Lâm-koán (Nanguan), Pak-koán (Beiguan) or Music Theory. Among these fields of studies, the Chhin and Phi-pha are representative instruments of traditional Chinese music with rich repertoire requiring deep artistry; Lâm-koán and Pak-koán are the most characteristic Taiwanese traditional music; the Theory major, added in 1998, enforces the studies of traditional music.