Saturday, September 14, 2019

Mid Autumn Qin playing and talk at BU

Thursday September 12, 2019 from 2:50 to 4 pm, I gave an introduction of the guqin to Prof. James Burns' Music 112 class at Binghamton University.

Prof. Burns decided to make it as a yaji (elegant gathering). He bought Chinese black tea to share with his students through the class.

The calligraphy teacher Xiuwen and calligraphy classmate Andy came to listen to my presentation as well. I was very happy to see them.

It was the day before Chinese full moon festival, so I decided to play "Song Of A Pleasant Night"  to start my presentation.

Outline of my presentation.

I played and sang the Wenjun Cao 文君操 (Melody of Wenjun)  while introducing qin song.

total 30 slides 
At the end of my presentation I performed the Shi Shang Liu Quan 石上流泉 (Spring Water Over Pebbles).

The last 25 minutes was Q & A and some of the students shared their poetry reading and music presentation such as one student used the mouth to make the sound of different percussion instruments (beatbox) like it is from an electronic keyboard, very impressive.

The questions students asked included:

Is this instrument difficult to learn?

How old were you when you started learning this instrument?

Does it play chords?

If the harmonic dots are a mirror image, why do you have to play same tone in different position?
and the student asked this question also commented that she thinks it creates a choreography style for the hand movement. 

Do people play modern music on the qin?

How do you carry the table and qin if going out?

Is the sliding difficult for the fingers?

How about the tuning?

Andy commented that he heard a blue jazz guitar player the other day, and the guitar player said that playing vibrato, when you reached the note, you wait a second then do the vibrato and Andy sees that is happening on the qin playing too. 

I took two qins, one was silk string, the other one was nylon string. I performed on the silk string qin with an amplifier. At the beginning I was trying not to use the amplifier. Although it can be heard, the audience has to concentrate without making any noise. After the first piece, I decided to use an amplifier for the rest of the playing. Many thanks to my husband's help on the slides and sound settings.

In the last 5 minutes, prof. Burns asked me if I could play another piece on the nylon string qin? So I played the Yu Lou Chun Xiao 玉樓春曉 (Jade Mansion Spring Dawn) to finish the elegant gathering.

I was very happy to be with Prof. Burns and his students at this mid autumn day and to share my music with them.