At the end of Yangshao Culture (about 3000 BC), two tribes, Yan and Huang, appeared in the Yellow River Basin. According to legend, Emperor Yan was surnamed Jiang, while "Jiang" and "Qiang" were two forms differentiated from the same word, which were often used in oracle bone inscriptions. Xu Zhongshu, a historian, argues that Qiang is one of the most primitive tribes in Western China. Zhang Taiyan also pointed out in his short story of Yi in Southwest China: "Jiang's surname comes from Xiqiang." In ancient times, the Qiang people mainly lived in the Northwest region, so they were called Xiqiang.
Early Shang Dynasty
The Qiang people had paid tribute to the Shang Dynasty. At the end of Shang Dynasty, the Qiang people had participated in the war of Zhou Wu King's expelling Qiang.
Early Qin Dynasty
In 221 B.C., the emperor of Qin ruled over six countries, the capital of which was Xianyang, known as the First Emperor of Qin Dynasty. Qin Shihuang's hometown is Tianshui in Gansu Province, and Tianshui is the hometown of Qiang people. Historian Meng Wentong confirmed that Qin's clan belongs to Qiang. "Qin's name is Rong, and there is no doubt about it." Qin Shihuang also issued a decree prohibiting the use of troops against the Qiang and Rong tribes in the west. Up to now, in Songpinggou, Maoxian County, Sichuan Province, the Qiang people's settlement still has its ancestor, the Qin Shihuang.
Early Han Dynasty
Xiongnu is strong, Qiang people's clothes belong to Xiongnu. Some of them request to move inward. Liu Qi, Emperor Jingdi of Han Dynasty, allowed them to study Didao (Lintao in Gansu Province), Anguo (Lintao in Gansu Province), Lintao (Minxian County in Gansu Province), Shidao (West and Northwest of Gansu Province) and Qiangdao (Minxian County in Gansu Province). In order to fight against the invasion of Huns, Emperor Liu Che of Han Dynasty opened up four counties in Hexi, cut off the connection between Qiang and Huns, and sent troops into Huangzhong to build an imperial garrison in Yongdeng, Gansu Province. Later, he set up a county in the Huangshui River basin and set up a guard officer, who was in charge of the affairs of Qiang.
The Qiang of Hexi, Wudu and Yinping were descended to Wei and Shu respectively. Wei and Shu attacked each other and recruited the Qiang Army to fight. Many of the Qiang people moved to Longzhou, Shu, Qin and Yong. That is mainly distributed in Western China (now Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan area). The Qiang tribes living in the upper reaches of the Minjiang River (called Ran and Qiao in Han Dynasty) have been under the jurisdiction of the Central Plains Dynasty since the Han Dynasty. Most of them have gradually assimilated to the Han and Tibetan nationalities, and some of them have survived to form today's Qiang.
Qiang flute is an ancient single-reed gas singing instrument in China. It has a history of more than 2000 years. It is popular in the Qiang people's residence of Aba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in northern Sichuan. Qiang flute has two pipes with several holes (five holes in the past and six holes in the present). It is made of oil bamboo grown on the local mountains. The bamboo knots are long and the pipes are thin. The two pipes are twined and connected side by side with wires. Lifetime full length 13 - 19 cm, pipe mouth diameter about 2 cm, flute tube upper end with 4 cm long bamboo blowing mouth. The front of the blowing nozzle is flattened with a knife, and at the upper end about 3 centimeters, a thin sheet is cut with a knife as a reed. It is mainly used for Solo performance, with more than ten ancient music cards. The content of the music is quite extensive, mainly to convey the yearning of the Qiang people.
The Qiang flute is played vertically with two pipes of the same pitch, clear and loud tone, and with a sense of sadness, "Why does the Qiang flute complain about willows, the spring breeze does not pass through the Yumen Pass" is the best portrayal of its expressive force, so it is most suitable for solo, but also for singing and dancing accompaniment. Ma Rong in the Eastern Han Dynasty had a description of "double flutes from Qiang in modern times" in Flute Fu. In modern times, the Qiang flute has become six holes. Qiang flute has existed for at least two thousand years.
The tone is clear and bright, with a slight sense of sadness. The voice of the Qiang flute often gives people an illusory and moving feeling. The Qiang people often use it to express their feelings of joy, anger, sadness, joy and separation. The repertoires often played are "Folding Liu Ci", "Ideological Song", "Sharon Song" and so on.
The performance of Qiang flute will not be interrupted, and this kind of performance skill is not to pass on male to female, not to pass on from inside to outside. So far, there are almost no people who can play the Qiang flute completely and correctly.
On May 20, 2006, the performance and production skills of Qiang flute were approved by the State Council and listed in the first batch of national intangible cultural heritage list.