Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Summer at Eastman - Music Without Borders

Ready for the performance

At the back stage stand by

The soloists 



On July, 17, 2019 I was invited by the Chinese Music Ensemble of Rochester to participate this Summer at Eastman Music Without Borders event. It was a wonderful experience. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Qin, Shakuhachi and Tea

七絃古琴在中國已有三千年以上的歷史, 自古就被列为中國十大修煉之首, 是古代文人修身養性不可或缺的樂器。古琴的三种音色,其泛音飄逸如天籟, 散音宏大渾厚, 按音細膩圓潤。彈琴與聽琴者, 都需心静气沉, 心靜則指下出清音,氣沉方得心之韵律。

尺八, 以竹根制作,中通無底 , 因一般吹奏的尺八其竹身長一尺八吋, 而名為尺八。尺八最早出现在隋唐的宮廷雅樂,於1300多年前東傳至日本。其音色蒼涼遼闊, 空靈恬靜, 也是修身養性的樂器之一。 

茶文化成於中國的唐朝, 所謂”不可一日無此君,” 乃道出茶早已成為中國人的國飲。煮茶與品茶,都要用心關照煮水的聲響,聞茶葉的芬香,品茶湯的清和, 是一種修身養性, 亦是中國人的十大修煉之一。古來琴茶為伴,品茶聽琴,兩種禪意,自然相融。一杯香茗,一曲清音,使身心靈舒暢。

Guqin, the seven string zither, also called the qin,  has existed in Chinese culture for 3000 years. Since ancient times, the qin has been listed as the first rank of the Chinese top ten cultivation practices. The qin became the favorite instrument of the literati class for meditation. There are three types of sound of the qin: the elegant harmonics sound as the sound from heaven; the immense and profound sound of the open string; and the exquisite and mellow sound of pressing. Both the player and listener will have to play and to listen with a calm mind and peaceful energy, so the fingers of the player will create pure sound while the heart of the listener will feel the rhythm and subtitle nuances. 

Shakuhachi is a bamboo flute, made from a bamboo root without opening end. It is named for its regular length of the flute which is about 1.8 feet long. Shakuhachi originally came from the Tang dynasty court music of China, and was introduced from China into Japan in the 7th century. Its sound is lofty, ethereal and meditative.

Chinese tea culture was established in the Tang dynasty. There was a saying : "one cannot live without this mister for a day" which pointed out that tea has become the national drink of China. While making tea and drinking tea, the tea master wants to fully concentrate to distinguish the timing of the boiling water, to smell the fragrance from the tea leaf, and to taste the pure and smooth flavor of the tea. That is why tea is also one of the top ten cultivation practices of the Chinese. 

There is a long history that playing qin and drinking tea accompany each other well, as they both share the same meditative idea naturally.  

Thanks to Hongmei inviting me and Glenn to this event on Sunday 16 June 2019 in Edison New Jersey. The qin had an opportunity to reunite with the shakuhachi after so many years.



演奏曲目 Performing pieces

According to Glenn, Kyorei could be the oldest piece of Shakuhachi.  Peiyou arranged the guqin part for the duet. 

Qin solo piece

Shakuhachi solo piece

The 2nd duet piece.


照片 Photos

Tuning 調音

Art Director: Hongmei 

The setting of slides for the music 

主持人 The host

主辦人 Mr. John Suduer

Peiyou plays the Qin Solo piece Shi Shang Liu Quan 石上流泉.

Shakuhachi Master Mr. Glenn Shouyuu Swann plays Kakumon 鶴門.

with the organizers  


I only had a chance to drink a cup of tea at the day. Luckily, I was really pleasant with that cup of Puer tea from Yunnan province China. No wonder they won the award. 

幸運的是當天僅有一次機會喝到一杯瀾滄的普洱茶, 茶香甘恬毫無苦味, 也不會讓我產生心悸, 胃也感覺很舒服, 我喜歡. 

--------------
6/25/2019 Report from World Journal
The report has a mistake on the name of the qin as zheng.
但錯將琴當箏

6/21/2019 Report from 僑報, The China Press 



Monday, June 03, 2019

The 4th International On-line Guqin Yaji

Time: Sunday, June 2nd, 2019, 
2:00 - 4:00 pm USA Chicago Time
3:00 - 5:00 pm USA Eastern time
4:00 - 6:00 pm Brazilian Time
9:00 - 11:00 pm Austria, Belgium and Germany Time

Participants
Jo Matthies from Germany
Sebastian from Austria  
Xiaojie from Chicago
Victor and Andre from Brazil
Ralph from New Jersey, the US
Peiyou from New York, the US

Qin Playing


Jo - Xian Ong Cao (Melody of The Immortal) 仙翁操 ( Standard Of The Guqin 4th Edition)
Sebastian - Wild Geese Landing On A Sandy Shore 平沙落雁 (Wu Zhao-ji's version) 
Xiaojie - Wenjun Cao (Melody of Wenjun) 文君操 (1539)
Peiyou - Innocent Seagulls 鷗鷺忘機 (1721)
Victor - Shen Ren Chang (The Song of King Yao) 神人暢 
Andre - Parting at Yang Guan Gate 陽關三疊 (Guan Ping-hu's notation)
Ralph - Deer Call 鹿鳴 (1618)

Qin talk:

Jo  -  The making of his own qin. (20 min including Q&A)
Victor -  Discussion on how different table materials affects the qin's sound as well as how to properly microphone the Guqin. (20 min including Q&A)

Yaji Clips




Jo Plays Xian Ong Cao on the qin he made


We found that when listening to someone's playing, if all the listeners mute their mic, everyone can hear the qin sound better without hearing any noise from our surroundings.   

I have recorded the whole meeting with Skype. I will add more clips when I have more free time.

The 4th International On-line guqin yaji is so far the longest one. It took 2 and a half hours and we still have a lot to chat about. We will continue the great conversation at the next one. Thank you all for your participation. The next yaji will probably be on Sunday September the 8th.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

3rd International On-line Guqin Yaji

Time: Sunday 3/24/2019
3pm USA Eastern time
8pm Austria time
2pm USA Chicago time
12 noon USA West coast time

Qin Playing -- order by music pieces' composing time from earlier to modern

Xiao Jie - Song of Golden Oriole (Huang Ying Yin 黃鶯吟) from late of Song to early Yuan Dynasty qin book "Shi Lin Guang Ji 事林廣記" (published around 1330 - 1333)

(Xiao Jie just started learning the guqin one and half month ago)

Ralph - Floating on the Canglang River (Fan Canglang 泛滄浪) from Shengqi Mipu 神奇秘譜 published in 1425

Joe -Spring Water Over Pebbles (Shi Shang Liu Quan 石上流泉) from Qin Xue Ru Men 琴學入門 published in 1864

Sebastian - Lament of Antiquity (Kaigu Yin 慨古引) from Yin Yin Qinpu  愔愔琴譜 (qin music played by Madame Tsai Deyun 蔡德允, 1905-2007)



Peiyou - Zhangzi Butterfly (莊子蝴蝶) 21st century modern composition by Mr. Shuishan Yu 于水山


This was recorded by Skype so there is a little instability of sound quality.
You can also listen to Peiyou's sound recording which was recorded on March 2, 2019.


Free Chat -- 10 minutes
We chat about silk string, since Sebastian switched metal/nylon string to silk string recently and he thinks silk string is softer and more comfortable to play on his qin.  Peiyou talked about what makes her to learn the modern composition Zhuangzi Butterfly composed by Mr. Yu.

Qin Talk - 20 minutes per presenter

Joe - History and Symbolic Nature of the Guqin (See the video below)



Peiyou- Stories of Qin Players of Ancient China Zhong Yi 鍾儀, Shi Kuang 師曠, and Shi Xiang 師襄

The yaji finished at 5:09 pm. Many thanks to everyone's participation and sharing interesting qin culture and Chinese music  related information.  We had another successful on-line guqin yaji. The next yaji (the 4th one) will be at the last Sunday of May or the first Sunday of June.

Thursday, February 07, 2019

2/15/2019 Guqin Lecture and Performance at Yale ISM


Visualizing Sound 
A Lecture and Demonstration on the Notation System and Music of the Chinese Qin

Friday evening 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm, 2/15/2019 
at Yale Institute of Sacred Music. Marquand Chapel

Many thanks to Yale Institute of Sacred Music and Miss Seymour invited me to join her. It was my honor to participate this wonderful event. Working with Miss Seymour has been a really pleasant experience.

The only photo of me and Kelsey from our camera. 

I had tried the nylon string WP qin and the silk string Zhang Yong beginner qin and finally decided to use the silk string beginner qin, after the sound test.

This event has 4 parts:
1, Brief Introduction of the qin, and its notation, by Kelsey Seymour.
2, Demonstration in detail how the qin notation works, by Peiyou Chang
3, Discussion some of the questions raised by a notation that represents action, by Kelsey, and Peiyou gave some insight into how she uses this notation in her own practice as a performer.
4, Qin music performed by Peiyou of three famous pieces.

And we had the last 10 minutes for audience to ask questions.

Very nice printed music program notes



The three pieces I played: 幽蘭, 平沙落雁, 梅花三弄

Miss Seymour is a very prominent scholar.

Many thanks to everyone who made this event successfully, including the sound technique expert.


There are three photos from Yale ISM instagram





The ISM Marquand Chapel was a very nice and tranquil place for this event.  The audience was very lovely, as well. I love all the questions they asked, and the nice response from them, only wish I could have answered better.

Here I try to record the questions I can remember...
On what occasion is the qin played?
There is a question that I think I did not answer well, a gentleman was asking: when you study a piece, how long will melody come to you?
What is the gender ratio now of qin players? Are there more female qin players now?
How to recognize a pair of hands of a qin player?
Why is there a preference for aged qins?
How to tune the qin?
What kind of string is this?
The qin table looks old, is it an old qin table?
Does learning piano help for learning the guqin?
How did people learn the qin from a teacher in the old day?

There is a senior gentlemen came up to talk to me after the event. He said that he learned the qin back in the 60's in Taiwan but he did not continue and this event brought his memory back. I asked him if he remember who the qin teacher was, he couldn't remember. 

I love to meet people this way. There is always some special minds to encounter.




Visualizing Sound: A Lecture and Demonstration on the Notation System and Music of the Chinese Qin

Video from Yale ISM Youtube channel 

Monday, January 21, 2019

2nd International On-line Guqin Yaji




On Sunday 1/20/2019, 3 - 5:30 pm USA Eastern Time. We had another successful international on-line guqin yaji. Everyone's qin playing was very joyful and the talk and conversation were very interesting and mindful.

Thank you to all the participants. The next meeting will be around the later week of March (perhaps one of these days,16, 17, 23 or 24) and we might move 1 hour earlier if it is on Sunday and 2 hours earlier if it is on Saturday.

Yaji Content:

Qin playing -  (The first hour) 

Joe B-  Guī qù lái cí   歸去來辭 (Ah, homeward bound I go!)
Peiyou C -  Guǎnglíng sàn 廣陵散  (Song of Guang Ling)
Ralph K - Méihuā sān nòng 梅花三弄 (3 Variations on the Plum Blossom)
Sebastian P - Wén jūn cāo 文君操 ( Wenjun Melody)
Andre R - Shí shàngliú quán 石上流泉 (Spring Water Over Pebbles)
Victor V- Chūnxiǎo yín 春曉吟 (Spring Dawn Intonation)

Qin Talk - (10 minutes each presenter + 5 minutes Q&A to each presenter )

Andre - The visit of Taipei Qin Hall and Master Jung-ping Yuan.  
Sebastian - The hurdy-gurdy, an European string instrument developed since the 11th century.
Peiyou - A brief talk of her presentation which will be held at Yale ISM in 2/15/2019. (Visualizing Sound: A Lecture and Demonstration on the Notation System and Music of the Chinese Qin,) (due to limited time, Peiyou's talk was omitted, but shared two questions)
Joe -  "Playing the Guqin - A Tool for Self-Realization in Chinese Culture"

Some photos and video captured from Skype:


Joe was playing Gui Qu Lai Ci

Peiyou Played Guang Ling San (partial)

Ralph was playing Mei Hua San Nong

Sebastian, from Austria, played Wen Jun Cao (more info about WJC 
can be found in John Thompson's website)



A short clips of Andre and Victor's qin playing.
Victor and Andre both are from Brazil. Victor initially learned the guqin from Miss Wu Xiabai in Shanghai. 

Qin Talk-

Andre talked about his trip to Taiwan last December and the visit of Taipei Qin Hall, Master Jung-ping Yuan, Taipei Bai-yue music store (where he bought his new qin), and the Qin maker Mr. Lu Dan at Miaoli Taiwan. He also briefly talked about the concert at Taipei National Music Concert Hall where Master Yuan had his qin performance that Andre and his father in-law had attended. 

Sebastian introduced the Hurdy Gurdy and a power point presentation for the brief history of hurdy gurdy. Victor mentioned that there is a TV show Black Sails using hurdy gurdy in many of their music. If anyone is interested in hearing the sound of hurdy gurdy, this video, La Volta is a nice one to listen, suggested by Victor.



Due to running out of time, Peiyou decided to omit her talk and let Joe present his talk. Joe shared his thought of this paper "Music as a Tool for Self-Realization in Chinese Culture: Based on the Practice of Playing the Guqin" by Rafai Mazur.

Joe concluded that This paper illustrated the distinction of thought based knowledge and of sensual experiential understanding and how the experience of playing the guqin can help one maintain this experiential based understanding in life. For him this understanding brings a peaceful, calm clarity, which helps him in his daily activities.

The last two minutes before 5pm, Peiyou brought a question to everyone 
What is the role of a teacher? 

Andre had to leave, the rest of us then talked 20 more minutes and the yaji ended at 5:30pm.




Just want to mention that Ralph was wearing the Dragon and Qin T-shirt  designed by Peiyou Thank you Ralph for your support. :)