Music is part of our everyday life and it has a great role in culture as well. What a better way to be introduce to a country,by doing it through their music? Today we’re going to talk about the Chinese traditional instruments. When you watch some Chinese movie, you maybe expect to hear those instruments right? So for today, let’s have a look to 2 main instruments used in Chinese traditional music.
Chinese instruments are often used to evoke the nature around you, like for example the sound of water falls, thunder, or just describe the country side life style. Going to a concert of Chinese traditional music is like travelling around China! There’s always different style of playing according to the region. If you want some nice music background as you’re learning new vocabulary of Chinese, you can listen to that concert of Chinese traditional music.
So let’s travel a bit with our first instrument the Gu Zheng (古箏).The Guzheng is an over 2500 years old instrument. It is the ancestor of other Asian instrument of the kind like the Kayageum(가야금) that appeared in the 6th century in Korea,the Japanese Koto(箏) that Appeared around the 7th – 8 th century or the Vietnamese Dan Tranh(đànthậplục) that appeared more lately in the 15th-16th century.
If in our western countries, we have lindseystirling to use the Violin in most contemporain way, you can also listen some actual songs played by the Guzheng and I guarantee that the result is here!
As we were talking about violin, let’s move on to the Er Hu(二胡).Here the er (二) is supposed to come from the fact this instrument only have 2 strings, when the Hu(胡) represent theHuqin Family. Which would means that’s the Hu instrument. The instrument maybe appeared in the north or west of China. This instrument at the contrary of the Violin, doesn’t have a fingerboard, so they play by applying some pressure on the strings, but the strings will never have to touch the neck.
I believe that Er Hu is a really emotional instrument. I always thought music have a strong magic power on people! And the day I met this guy in some Er Hu Shop in Chengdu, I never felt so happy by listening him play and won’t deny that tears were even coming to my eyes. Did it ever happen to you?
There’s so many Chinese instrument that it would be impossible to talk about all of them in one article. If you want to learn more about Chinese life you can have a look about Chinese breakfirst, Did you ever eat a Baozi?
Coming soon: Chinese traditional instrument PART 2: the Chinese “guitars”