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8.225817 - VIOLIN MEETS PIPA - Popular Chinese Folk Melodies (Takako Nishizaki, Dehai Liu)
English  Chinese 

Violin Meets Pipa – Popular Chinese Folk Melodies


The pipa is one of the most popular Chinese instruments. In form it resembles a pear-shaped lute, but the use of Western instrument names to describe Chinese instruments can be misleading. The term “lute” is, incidentally, also used by some to describe the horizontal plucked instrument, the Qin, an instrument for the scholar and gentleman in earlier times.

The pipa is said to have derived its name from its sound. The pi was played from right to left, the pa from left to right, upwards. This form of instrument was foreign in origin but by the time of the building of the Great Wall of China had come into fairly wide use. The earliest surviving example is from the eighth century A. D., and certainly in the time of the Tang Dynasty (A. D. 618–906) it enjoyed very great popularity.

The pipa generally has four strings and sixteen frets, in the manner of a four-stringed guitar, but there are other varieties, with numbers of strings varying from 2 to 13, and a variable number of frets. As is usual in Chinese music, there is symbolism even in the four strings, which represent the four seasons. It forms an important element in the group of instruments traditionally classified under “silk”, from the material out of which its strings are made.

The combination of Western violin and Chinese pipa is an unusual one. Nevertheless the timbre of the bowed instrument and of the plucked strings of the Chinese lute go well together. The programme includes pieces originally for pipa solo or for violin solo. These pieces have been arranged by the well-known Chinese composer Huang Xiaofei for both instruments.

A Distant Land
Qinghai Folk Song

The singer tells of his love for a girl, now far away, his yearning aptly captured in the violin and pipa transcription.

Dou Da Er and Ma Li Ya
Xinjiang Folk Song

Dou Da Er and Ma Li Ya is a popular Xinjiang love song in a style characteristic of this Turkic region of China.

A La Mu Han
Xinjiang Folk Song

A La Mu Han, originally a folk song from western China, describes the beauty of a young girl.

Reflection of the Moon on Er-Quan
Hua Vanjun (A Bing)

Reflection of the Moon on Er-Quan is the work of the blind street musician known as A Bing. It has in the present transcription all the pathos and feeling of the original version.

Missing the Beloved
Shanxi Folk Song

Missing the Beloved is a Shanxi folk song in which all is explained by the title, although the subject is treated lightly.

Wuxi Scenes
Jiangsu Folk Song

The Jiangsu folk song Wuxi Scenes has been adapted into Jiangnan style, with a consequent elaboration of style and feeling.

Picking Reed Flowers
Jiangsu Folk Song

Picking Reed Flowers is a lively and light-hearted Jiangsu folk song.

When Will the Locust Tree Blossom
Sichuan Folk song

The Sichuan folk song When Will the Locust Tree Blossom tells of a girl, yearning for her absent lover, who tells her mother she is waiting for the locust tree to bloom.

Happy Spring Evening

Originally written for pipa, Happy Spring Evening, also known under the title Drum and Flute at Sunset, has been transcribed for violin and pipa. The music shows the evening scene by the river, with the moon shining over the hills and the boatmen singing as they return home.

All Red the Melon Seeds
Hunan Folk Opera Melody

All Red the Melon Seeds is taken from the Hunan Flower Drum opera, a cheerful song on the subject of the title.

The Flowers
Qinghai Folk Song

The Flowers is a typical Qinghai folk song, also well known In Gansu and Ningxia provinces, a combination of two kinds of songs from this region.

Embroidered Purse
Shanxi Folk Song

There are a number of songs on the theme of Embroidered Purse, a present embroidered by a girl, to her beloved, from whom she has been separated by circumstances. This song is from Shanxi.

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