Chuanju is a regional genre in the xiqu form, which is popular in Sichuan, part of Yunnan and Guizhou provinces. The genre contains different musical systems: kunqiang, gaoqiang, huqin, tanxi and dengxi, which originated in other local genres of the big xiqu family. From about the mid-18th century, the repertoires of different musical systems started performing together but it was not until the early 1910s that practitioners decided to bring the five different musical systems together and to make them into Theatre of Chuan (chuanxi). It is now officially known as chuanju (Chuan Drama). Even within chuanju, there are further ‘sub-styles’ that show their own distinguished features in different areas.
The five musical systems all contain their own traditional repertoire. This clip of Forcing the Nephew to Enter the Imperial Examination is from gaoqiang. Newly created plays are normally composed within one musical system but can sometimes use musical phrases from other systems as a kind of decorative device.