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Chinese music is based on the ancient Chinese pentatonic, five-tone musical system.

The five
tones are classified as: Kung, Shang, Chiao, Chih and Yue.

According to the Chinese theory of the Five Elements, related to Chinese music, the tones
are connected to a myriad of cosmological concepts, as well as the inner workings of man.

Chinese do not see it as coincidence that human beings have five internal organs: heart,
liver, lungs, kidneys and spleen; and five sensory organs: mouth, nose, eyes, ears and tongue;
and five fingers on each hand.

According to Chinese tradition, any of these five tones can affect a human being's internal
organs and might act as a regulatory mechanism. Music can increase metabolism, open
thought processes, and regulate the heart. Because everyone's makeup is different, one
person’s internal organs are different to the next person’s, and the music touches people in
different ways.

According to the five basic tones, one can detect different influences in the human body.
For instance, Kung-based melodies are classified as noble, Earth-related, and affect the
spleen. Often listening to such music makes one tolerant and kind.

Elements Metal Wood Water Fire Earth
Tones Shang Chueh Yue Chih Keng
Directions West East North South Center
Seasons Autumn Spring Winter Summer Change of
seasons
Planets Venus Jupiter Mercury Mars Saturn
Emotions Grief Anger Fear Over- Anxiety
excitement

Shang melodies are heavy, like metal, unbending. This music affects the lungs; and frequent
listening makes one righteous and friendly.

Chueh-based music heralds the arrival of spring and awakens all life anew. This kind of music
affects the liver. Listening to it makes one kindhearted and conciliatory.

Chih music is highly emotional, like fire. It affects the heart. But listening to it makes one
generous.

Yue-based tunes are melancholy, like placidly running water. They affect the kidneys.
Listening to these tunes makes one mentally balanced and gentle, "sad but not hurt," and
"content but not to excess," as the ancient Chinese saying goes. This is what the culture of
Chinese music attempts to convey.

No matter which emotions the music expresses, taken to the extreme, it can harm the body
and the flow of qi energy.