Various song and dance dramas developed during the Six Dynasties period. During the Northern Qi dynasty, a masked dance called the Big Face (大面, which can mean \"mask\", alternatively daimian 代面, and it was also called The Prince of Lanling, 蘭陵王), was created in honour of Gao Changgong who went into battle wearing a mask. Another was called Botou (撥頭, also 缽頭), a masked dance drama from the Western Regions that tells the story of a grieving son who sought a tiger that killed his father. In The Dancing Singing Woman (踏謡娘), which relates the story of a wife battered by her drunken husband, the song and dance drama was initially performed by a man dressed as a woman. The stories told in of these song-and-dance dramas are simple, but they are thought to be the earliest pieces of musical theatre in China, and the precursors to the more sophisticated later forms of Chinese opera.
In the Ming dynasty, southern yiyang tunes fused with Kunqu and spread widely. Yiyang tunes lacked formal rules, was more uninhibited and exciting, therefore more appealing to the local classes and easily fused with local musical styles and produced many high-pitched tunes in numerous local operas. Another important development was the emergence of Shaanxi Opera in the Northwest with a two-phrase structure and clapper-based instrumentation, introducing a new form of musical style called banqiang (板腔). Its spread was facilitated by a Shaanxi rebel Li Zicheng who ended the Ming dynasty, later influencing the development of Peking Opera during the Qing dynasty. 1e1e36bf2d