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Thread: Chinese classical

  1. #1
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    Default Chinese classical

    Well, I come from China,probably you have never heard of Chinese music before.Although music in China can't be as highly developed as western classical music.But there are also many masterpieces which you will really enjoy after carefully listening.The main instruments of Chinese music are called zheng and erhu.Zheng is very elegant and misty(?) while erhu is melodious just as the violin.You may try these websites if you are interested in it.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fs7Bse4Q4BQ
    I am not sure it'll works.Maybe you can try this.
    [URL="http://box.zhangmen.baidu.com/m?word=mp3,http://www.artx.cn/file/mp3/maNgmaebqLGqMg$$.mp3,,[%B6%FE%C8%AA%D3%B3%D4%C2]&gate=1&ct=134217728&tn=baidumt,二泉映月%20%20&si=%B6% FE%C8%AA%D3%B3%D4%C2;;%B6%FE%BA%FA%C7%FA;;767721;; 767721&lm=16777216&mtid=1&d=9"]
    The name of it is "two springs under the moon".
    It's so moving that I even cried the first time I listened to it.I hope you'll like it.

  2. #2
    Andante
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    It sounds quite pleasant' but for me at least it is as much about the structure of the music as the sound and I am not at all familiar with the structure of your music, can you shed some light on that side of your music

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andante View Post
    It sounds quite pleasant' but for me at least it is as much about the structure of the music as the sound and I am not at all familiar with the structure of your music, can you shed some light on that side of your music
    I am afraid not.Though Chinese has a long history and there are large amout of excellent music of course.But as time goes by ,much of them were lost.And people who took in music was humble.So only pieces of them handed down.The melodies in yourtube are seperate ones which have nothing with each other.Did you try the second URL?It's a Chinese website ,I am afraid you can't open it .It said that after Seiji Ozawa,a world famous Japanese conductor,heard this song,he said ,you had to kneel down to listen to it.The right translation for it is Two Springs Reflect the Moon ,maybe you can google it .

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    C.Bach! You have started an interesting thread which I hope will not soon be deserted, as I too have a compassion for Chinese music.

    However, I don't necessarily agree with you on saying that traditional Chinese music is not as highly developed as the western classical, since each culture's development must serve its own purpose and reflect its own values. Being cultivated in one that sees writing (including handwriting), painting, composing and instrumental playing as inseparable arts/disciplines, surely Chinese music should have some if not many unique qualities.

    Chinese music mainly uses five-tone scales and it's not particularly advanced in harmonics. People with more knowledge will also notice that its notation system isn't very effective in documenting exact music. Instead of using five-line staff and symbols to mark note values and tempo, Chinese music "scores" use a special set of characters to indicate the details of when and how to produce a specific sound, which, in reality, is open to interpretation. As a result, many music was seemingly "lost" through time. However, preserving the music in its original form is never of the utmost importance for Chinese musicians, it is the images, the spirit residing in a certain piece that needs to be handed down (therein lies the development). Unlike the improvising Indian classical (needless to say, also different from western classical), Chinese music, as I understand, is all about controlled interpretation and it's basically the musical incarnation of Tao which believes that the universe and mankind are most intimately connected.

    Guqin (or simply "qin") is the most ancient and revered of Chinese instruments and a true Chinese invention. It appeared in historical narration some three thousand years ago. While it looks no more than seven strings extended over a piece of wood, the guqin technique utilizes both hands to the full extent. The instrument is so responsive that every nuance of movement, whether it's plucking or stroking, gives the sound a different color, a different shade. It truly embodies a Chinese artistic belief that the simplest is in fact the richest. The zheng (a relatively modern instrument) piece cited in C.Bach's post is originally intended for guqin. Here I provide another link to a clip of the second half "flowing water" played on guqin by master Li Xiang-ting. The music depicts the journey of water from its highland source to the ocean. And this performance tells another story about rises and falls in life as well.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZtx4MH2r5Y
    Last edited by xuantu; Jan-14-2010 at 13:07.

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    Senior Member HarpsichordConcerto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C.Bach View Post
    Very serene and peaceful.

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    My Dad used to do work for a company in Louisiana that made valves, so he traveled to their factories in China to inspect the quality of their products. He was in China for months at a time, and he came back with many things. He brought me many CDs that had classical music. One of my favorites is a collection of works for Zither.

    I hope to go someday, but as of now I just have books and photos.

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    To be frankly, I think all the traditional Chinese "classical" music add up to no more than a Chopin, or a Bartok.

    We were simply not very good at music, but we own poetry.

    All haiku add up to no more than a Wang Wei, or any other top 10 poets from the Tang Dynasty.

    You can check out some more interesting Chinese contemporary classical music here:

    http://www.spotifyclassical.com/2010...cal-music.html

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    Senior Member Argus's Avatar
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    Traditional Chinese music is an area I have not yet explored at depth would like to get to grips with in the future. I have been listening to a few pieces today and quite enjoyed them. So far the instruments I have enjoyed most are the guzheng, the guqin, the pipa and a flute like instrument I can't remember the name of. Could anyone with more knowledge on the subject recommend any good pieces or performers that feature these instruments?

    Also, in China, are some instruments considered more feminine than others, as I have noticed all pipa players seem to be female.

    And how much of it is improvised?

    To be frankly, I think all the traditional Chinese "classical" music add up to no more than a Chopin, or a Bartok.

    We were simply not very good at music, but we own poetry.

    All haiku add up to no more than a Wang Wei, or any other top 10 poets from the Tang Dynasty.
    I think it would be fair to say the Chinese were not very good at manufacturing glass but comparing thousands of years of musical heritage as amounting roughly to one Western composer is a difficult statement to defend.

    That being said, I'd take one single piece of music by Chopin or Bartok over all the poetry ever written.

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    Very beautiful, any more recommendations? There's more uploaded by the same user on youtube that I like.

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    Andante
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    Quote Originally Posted by Argus View Post



    And how much of it is improvised?
    I would think it is all passed down as was all folk music but the important thing is where is it going now?

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    Senior Member Argus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andante View Post
    I would think it is all passed down as was all folk music but the important thing is where is it going now?
    I was meaning the individual performances. Does the performer have a full piece in their head, do they just play certain melodies and improvise the rest or is it like an Indian raga where there is a set mood and mode to a piece but otherwise entirely improvised.

    Listening to some of it, it sounds quite improvised but that just might because I am unfamiliar with the form.

    As for where it's going now, it's probably not really going anywhere. A lot of it sounds like it could have been written hundreds of years ago and it probably was. It'll have to either either assimilate into more European and American styles or stay the same.

  12. #12
    Andante
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    Quote Originally Posted by Argus View Post
    I was meaning the individual performances. Does the performer have a full piece in their head, do they just play certain melodies and improvise the rest or is it like an Indian raga where there is a set mood and mode to a piece but otherwise entirely improvised.
    I donít know perhaps C.Bach can tell us I would think that the performers try to keep to the original but whether they improvise on that is another question
    Listening to some of it, it sounds quite improvised but that just might because I am unfamiliar with the form.

    As for where it's going now, it's probably not really going anywhere. A lot of it sounds like it could have been written hundreds of years ago and it probably was. It'll have to either either assimilate into more European and American styles or stay the same.

    But the present day composers are producing some kind of music but you and I are not familiar with it, just on a personal note I really only concentrate on Western Classical is that a bit sad

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    Quote Originally Posted by Argus View Post
    I was meaning the individual performances. Does the performer have a full piece in their head, do they just play certain melodies and improvise the rest or is it like an Indian raga where there is a set mood and mode to a piece but otherwise entirely improvised.
    I believe it is the former.

    Let me clarify yet another thing: the apprenticeship of Chinese classical music is not exactly the same as that of folk music (China has its own folk traditions too). A Chinese instrumentalist must also learn poetry, ancient prose, painting, calligraphy and philosophy to develop his/her taste in general arts and bring that into music. It is indeed a very demanding discipline.
    Last edited by xuantu; Jan-15-2010 at 01:31.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ulyssestone View Post
    To be frankly, I think all the traditional Chinese "classical" music add up to no more than a Chopin, or a Bartok.

    We were simply not very good at music, but we own poetry.

    All haiku add up to no more than a Wang Wei, or any other top 10 poets from the Tang Dynasty.

    Curiously enough, many traditional Chinese musicians tend to think that a single piece of Chinese classical is on a par with (if not more than) the total achievement of a western composer. I'd say both your thoughts and the opinions of these Chinese musicians are wishful thinking. Let's do not compare music from different cultures in such discriminating fashions, shall we? You did, however, mentioned Chinese poetry. I'm very much in doubt that you couldn't sense the "poetry" stirring at the very heart of Chinese music--Wang Wei the poet himself is believed to have composed the famous pipa piece "the conquerer removes his armor". How could you love Chinese poetry on one hand and not love the poetic Chinese music on the other!

    It may be true that the tradition of Chinese music is dying because of the huge influence that the western music system has on its education. As I heard, few Chinese instrumentalists could now read scores written in the traditional format. I imagine practicing a guqin piece nowadays is not unlike learning a Chopin etude in Chinese conservatoires. There is little we can do, but I think Chinese music (and the traditional music of many other cultures) needs your attention and your love to survive the sweep of cultural internationalization.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZmAgFyVo48

    The clip above shows a tasteful performance of "the conquerer removes his armor" by Liu Fang on pipa, arguably the the sexiest music instrument that China has to offer (to answer your question Argus, yes, there are many famous male pipa players as well, such as Lin Shi-cheng, Liu De-hai and Fang Jing-long). This piece is actually very masculine and is rendered here by a very special woman. The music illustrates the final battle between the two rival rulers Liu Bang and Xiang Yu in 202BC at Gaixia, where Xiang Yu was defeated and became the tragic hero. The first half has the smashing power and tension of a cold-weapon battle scene; the second is the heart-breaking farewell between Xiang Yu and his wife Yu Ji, since the penalty of defeat at the time was death (this story is also the basis for the famous Peking opera “Farewell My Concubine”). Without question, Liu Fang is a rock star!

    Good Chinese music recordings can be very rare and expansive in the U.S. (I don't know the situation in UK). If you happen to have some Chinese friends (especially music-loving ones), do ask them to send you some CDs when they go back, especially the CDs made by a Hong Kong-based company called Hugo (http://www.hugodisc.com/). This is the most professional music company I know that's specialized in Chinese music. Each product is meticulously engineered and has very good English translation of all the written material. Hugo invite great artists from all over China to record for them and they have a fantastic guqin collection featuring the masters from both the earlier 20th century and the present. I particularly love the discs made by Zhang Zi-qian and Cheng Gong-liang, two major figures of the Guangling School of guqin music, a school that's widely known for its delicate "humming" technique and wild expression. Try this clip of "three variations on the plum blossom theme", a remarkable solo-instrument symphony, played by Zhang Zi-qian in his 80s (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYtbXnLnkPA). The state-owned China Record company also has a lot of memorable old recordings. Just be aware, the Chinese market is flooded with uncredited crappy recordings. Don't be fooled by lovely cover art.
    Last edited by xuantu; Jan-15-2010 at 04:26.

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    I already try to bring this talk maybe a year ago, but glad now it is on again.

    Music is one of the four arts in Classical China, they are qin (琴 qin), qi (棋 qi=CHESS), shu (書 calligraphy) and hua (畫 painting). (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Ar...hinese_Scholar)

    The Qin is a chinese zither and represent music.

    So it is must be highly appreciated overthere as well as western appreciated music. In Singapore we have a respectable Singapore Chinese Orchestra which performs regularly. It is a serious discipline which if you browse in Youtube you can see how virtuosic these music can be.

    But more of my interest is how the Western idea can go into this style. because I really have a blur knowledge about how the Chinese music goes. As it is like all the instrumentalist played their instrument as fast as they can... as emotion as the can. Are they fall into virtuosic performance rather than compositional?

    Also can these instrument versatile to play non-oriental scale? the most famous blend on Chinese instrument to popular audience is done by TWELVES GIRLS BAND. A kind of Vanessa Mae thing. See here :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWmH4oStrgc

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