Sunday, November 18, 2018

First International On-line Guqin Yaji

We had a very successful the first ever international on-line Guqin yaji by Skype group meeting. Many thanks to Ralph's suggestion of doing this, the technical testing and guidance. Thanks for everyone's participation, music sharing.

Time: Sunday the 18th, 2018 3:00 - 5:00 pm USA Eastern Time. 

我們成功的第一個國際在線古琴雅集 - 
2018年十一月18日星期日美國東部時間下午3:00 - 5:00。

The yaji started with everyone's self introduction, following by the Qin playing:

Peiyou from Vestal NY - 幽蘭 Yolan (Solitary Orchid), which is about 1400 years old, the oldest surviving guqin melody.
Joe from Washington State - 歸去來辭 Gui Qu Lai Ci (Ah, homeward bound I go!),Taigu Yiyin 1511 edition.
Ralph from New Jersey - 慨古引 Kaigu Yin (Lament of Antiquity), Madame Tsai's (1905-2007) edition
Sebastian from Austria - 秋風辭 Qiu Feng Ci (Ode to Autumn Wind), Mei'an Qinpu (1931) modified by Juni Yeung and Peiyou
Andre from Brazil - His own composition. ( ). Andre is a left handed qin player.

Culture Sharing

Ralph talked about Chinese paper shadow puppetry 皮影戲. He used "sharing screen" to have his ppt presentation which everyone can see very clearly and easily to follow:

Why Shadow Puppets now?
Found old set I gave to my kids when cleaning up
They are cool!

What are Chinese Shadow Puppets
Traditionally carved out of leather
Oil lamp cast their colored shadows on a darkened screen
Stories – religious overtones originally?  Now comedy and adventure more common. 

Been around since at least the Song but maybe Han Emperor Wu?
In steep decline in the 20th century – but still survive (Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity)

Performances in NYC
Chinese Theatre Works
Also lots of youtube examples are available.  (Emperor Wu) (Intangible video)

Around the world

Books in English
Fan Pen Li Chen - Chinese Shadow Theatre: History, Popular Religion, and Women Warriors
Fan Pen Li Chen - Visions for the Masses: Chinese Shadow Plays from Shaanxi and Shanxi
Grant Hayter-Menzies Shadow Woman: The Extraordinary Career of Pauline Benton
Also overviews and other traditions 
American Museum of Natural History has Laufer’s collection online. Also other traditions
Museum in China – maybe someday!  200,000 puppets
Also the Cui Yongping Shadow Art Museum in Peking

Working on performing
Making my screen and fake flame light
Bought Journey to the West puppets – more? 
Have a few more from other traditions
Plan to make my own using computer printer transparencies and plastic

Ralph showed the three  paper puppets he has that are the three major characters from Journey to the West, the Tang monk, the pig, and the monkey. Many thanks for Ralph's sharing. 

Peiyou learned from Ralph, using the "sharing screen" as well, and talked a little bit about the International Guqin Conference at SOAS, hosted by London Yolan Qin Society in August 2018. She focused on The Qianlong 乾隆 Emperor's Guqin: Craftmanship, Nostalgia and Virtue presented by Mr. Edward Luper (Chinese art specialist at Bonhams auction house) and showing the link from Sotheby's website of this "Clear Autumn Skies Above The Xiang River" which has nice pictures that one can enlarge each image to see details.

Question and Answer

Andre shared his philosophy of music composition after Joe raised a question after Andre's playing of his own composition on the guqin. Andre says that this piece is dedicated to one of his friend. When he composed this piece, he was not thinking music construction, but any feeling naturally came out of his body. 

Peiyou shared some information about the oldest surviving guqin melody Yolan, which is now store in Tokyo National Museum (please click 'Yolan' to see the original music sheets).  And the process of her studying of this piece -- 

First study the original "literal notation 文字譜" ( about 10 pages) phrase by phrase and write down the "abbreviated notation 減字譜" phrase by phrase, there is a lot of research of fingering techniques during this process . 

Making into three pages of music sheet.

Peiyou also mentioned about the film of R.H van Gulik's story, and the book "The Lore of the Chinese Lute" 

(2019/12/01 -- The film of R.H van Gulik was introduced by R.H van Gulik's grand daughter, Marie-Anne Souloumiac-van Gulik at the 2018 London Yolan Qin Society first Guqin Festival.)

The meeting ended around 5:20pm. We plan to continue doing this periodically. The next time will be in mid January. (most likely on Sunday 1/20/2019, 2 - 4 pm or 3 - 5pm USA Eastern time)


I had collected some feedback:
A, 5-6 people is a good size, feel more intimacy.
B, individual questions can be control under given minutes.
C, more qin playing on melody comparison.
D, ppt presentation on sharing screen is a good way to do
E, Sound quality in general is pretty good, if using a better microphone and wearing a headphone, that should work.