Beijing (Peking), the capital of China, has been the site of various cities with different names. Under Kubla Khan, who established the Mongolian Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), a new city, Khanbalik (Cambaluc) was built, to be destroyed by the Ming Emperors, the second of whom made Beijing once again the capital. Many of the historical remains come from the period of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), and the following Qing (1644-1911). These include the former imperial palace, known as the Forbidden City, and other palaces, parks and dwellings. The Great Wall is represented by the well known sight of the Jinshanling section of this ancient structure, built during the early years of the Ming dynasty.
The music chosen for this tour of Beijing is played on Chinese instruments, and makes use of traditional works and more modern arrangements, in traditional style. The instruments to be heard include the Chinese flute (dizi), the zither (qin), the Chinese lute (pipa), the three-string lute (sanxian) and the two-string Chinese fiddle (erhu). The Shepherd and His Flute, for example, is played on the Chinese dulcimer (yangqin), The Moon Over Guanshan on the sanxian and Song of the Tea-Pickers, taken from Yue Opera, is arranged for an instrumental ensemble. As with Chinese traditional visual arts, the titles of pieces explain their mood and origin.