Chinese Music Instruments

In this research paper I will introduce four Chinese music instruments: Chinese drum, Guzheng, Qin and Chinese lute. Chinese drum is still very popular in china for the old generation, and they use drum as an exercise for body training. GuZheng is a Chinese traditional instrument; furthermore, I remember when I was in the secondary, one of my classmate played GuZheng very well. In every public holiday, she will show GuZheng; moreover, it’s really specially. The third one is Qin; we still can see this instrument display in some Chinese drama, but this instrument does not have lots of people know how to play it.

Last one is Yu Pipe that is a very ancient Chinese instrument; in addition, I don’t think lots of people heard this before and I cannot find more information about it. So I choose Pipa to instant of Yu Pipe. Pipa is rarely instrument and never see it in western country; however, Pipa is not that rare almost all the classic music group will have the people who play Pipa in the group. History of Chinese Drum The drum occupies a prominent place in Chinese culture. Though the exact origin of the Chinese drum is still subject to debate, ancient literatures show that it is about as old as Chinese history itself.

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The earliest documentation of its application in ancient China occurs in Oracle Inscriptions (Jiaguwen “Jiaguwen is an ancient Chinese word, it usually write on animal’s shell”) of the Shang Dynasty (16th-11th century BC), that is, inscriptions carved on tortoise shells and animal bones. As an old and wonderful form of art, the drum finds application in almost every aspect of Chinese social life, including sacrificial and worshiping ceremonies, farming, and warfare, and throughout the centuries it has been imbued with profound cultural implications.

The history of the popularization of the Chinese drum is also the history of its continuous borrowing and assimilation of other artistic forms and expressions. During the process, Chinese drum performance arts have undergone a lot of regional as well as ethnic variations. As a result, today they produce different visual impacts and bring to the viewers different senses of beauty some are masculine, giving off a sense of invincible might; some are more delicate with nimble and graceful dancing steps; and there are still others that possess both qualities.

This rich array of artistic expressions from the Chinese drum culture gives full expression to the vitality of the Chinese nation. History and Introduction of GuZheng The modern-day guzheng is a plucked, half-tube zither with movable bridges and 21 strings, although it can have anywhere from 15 to 25 strings (a customized version exists with more than 34 strings). the guzheng‘s strings were formerly made of twisted silk, though by the 20th century most players used metal strings (generally steel for the high strings and copper-wound steel for the bass strings).

Since the mid-20th century most performers use steel strings flat wound with nylon. The guzheng has a large resonant cavity made from wu tong wood (paulownia tomentosa). Other components may be made from other woods, usually for structural and decorative purposes. For the introduction, the guzheng has existed since the warring states period and became especially popular during the qin dynasty. The ancient guzheng had 12 strings, which gradually evolved into it current forms. Until 1961, the common guzheng had 18 strings.

In 1961 xu zhengao together with wang xunzhi introduced the first 21-string guzheng after two years of research and development. In 1961, they also invented the “s-shaped” left string rest, which was quickly adopted by all guzheng makers and is still used today, whether in the shape of the letter “s”, “c”, etc. the 21-string zheng is the most commonly used, but some traditional musicians still use the 16-string, especially along the southeastern coastal provinces of china and in taiwan. The guzheng is tuned to a pentatonic scale; the 16-string zheng is tuned to give three complete octaves, while the 21-string zheng has four complete octaves.

Playing styles and performers there are many techniques used in the playing of the guzheng, including basic plucking actions (right or both hands) at the right portion and pressing actions at the left portion (by the left hand to produce pitch ornamentations and vibrato) as well as tremolo (right hand). These techniques of playing the guzheng can create sounds that can evoke the sense of a cascading waterfall, thunder and even the scenic countryside. Plucking is done mainly by the right hand with four plectra (picks) attached to the fingers. Advanced players may use picks attached to the fingers of both hands.

Ancient picks were made of ivory and later also from tortoise shell. The guzheng‘s pentatonic scale is tuned to do, re, mi, so and la, but fa and ti can also be produced by pressing the strings to the left of the bridges. Well known pieces for the instrument include yu zhou chang wan (singing at night on fishing boat), gao shan liu shui (high mountains flowing water) and han gong qiu yue (han palace autumn moon). Two broad playing styles (schools) can be identified as northern and southern, although many traditional regional styles still exist.

The northern styles are associated with henan and shandong while the southern style is with the chaozhou and hakka regions of eastern guangdong. both gao shan liu shui (high mountains flowing water) and han gong qiu yue (han palace autumn moon) are from the shandong school, while han ya xi shui (winter crows playing in the water) and chu shui lian (lotus blossoms emerging from the water) are major pieces of the chaozhou and Hakka repertories respectively. The GU Qin While the music of the Gu Qin represents Chinese culture at its most historical and refined, its sound can be challenging for Westerners to appreciate on first hearing.

Many students are struck If you were to experience it live, you would also wonder how an audience could possibly hear such music, because it is extremely quiet. The qin is one of the most ancient instrument in the world to have remained in continuous use. Known also as guqin ( meaning “ancient zither”), it is a roughly 51-inch-long rectangular board zither made of paulonia wood painted black, and has seven stings, traditionally of twisted silk, running lengthwise from end to end, without frets or bridges.

There is also a series of 11 inlaid mother-of pearl circles along one side marking the acoustical nodes or vibration points for each string. To the player’s left, the strings pass over the end and are tied underneath to two small peg-like feet attached to the instrument’s lower board. At the right end the strings run over a slight ridge that acts as a bridge, then pass through holes to the underside where each is tied to a small wooden peg. The instrument is tuned by twisting these pege to loosen or tighten the string’s tension.

The player, seated on a chair with the instrument on a table or frame, plucks the strings with the fingers of the right hand and stop the strings with the fingers of the left hand. History of Pipa The pipa is a plucked Chinese string instrument. Sometimes called the Chinese lute, the instrument has a pear-shaped wooden body. It has been played for nearly two thousand years in China, and belongs to the plucked category of instruments. Prototypes of the pipa already existed in China in the Qin Dynasty (221 BC – 206 BC). At that time, there were two types of pipa.

One was straight-necked, with a round sound box constructed from lacquered Paulownia wood, and two faces mounted with leather. The other was believed to be inspired by the primitive forms of zheng, konghou, and zou. It also has a straight neck, a round sound box, and also four strings, along with twelve standards of notes. This model was later developed into the instrument known today as the ruan. The modern pipa is closer to the instrument which originated in Persia/Middle-East (where it was called barbat) and was introduced into China beginning in the late Jin Dynasty (265-420 A. D. ).

I am not very sure how this instrument works on every rhythm, but I know that song is good. No matter it plays alone or plays with other rhythm, you always can hear its special sound. There are still a lot of different music instrument in this huge world. Although, the instruments are from different place, it place same music and music don’t have different nation. Hopefully, we never lost any music instruments and pass it to the next generation. Music instruments also are culture, and they are important in our life.