• Drake Silver

An Ancient Instrument Plucked From Heaven

Hello Music World! I'm back here to give another blog on beautiful sounds from beautiful instruments. Today a thought came to me. While watching Chinese Dramas I heard something beautiful. Something that had me seeing colorful ripples in the water. Every string pluck was like seeing orange, yellow, and red water when you skipped a pebble in. It sounded so peaceful, so relaxing, and yet when the song picks up pace. Was to describe it as going from a jog to a full sprint.

It stuck with me so I had to follow up on this. I had to search for this instrument. I know others also made the song what it was. Those we will talk about later because now. Now I will take you to the east to talk about this half a pear-looking instrument and how wonderful it sounds.

The Four String Plucked Lute

The Chinese Pipa comes from the west and central Asian prototypes. It appeared in China during the Northern Wei dynasty which would be 386–534. At first, the musicians held it like a guitar. Its twisted silk strings was plucked by a large triangular plectrum. Which were helded in the right hand(Picture shows an example). Yes, it looks like a guitar and like me you would think "this is a guitar, nothing special". They are very different in their way. A guitar is from the string family, has 6 strings, and is usually played with a guitar pick. As the name says it all, the "pí" is to strike outward with your right hand and "pá" is to pluck inward towards the palm. At first, the plectrum came with the pipa, but later it was replaced and improve with fingers. The technique "Tantiao" centers around using your index finger and thumb on your right hand. Now there are many, many techniques. I am not an instructor! So I told you the most basic one. We all know how key the basics are anyway.

How Hard Is It To Learn To Play The Pipa

Since you ask the question must mean you're ready for a good answer. I wouldn't get your hopes up. On a scale of 1 - 10, I'd say this is about a 20. Although if you practice the pipa and play it . As a beginner, this would take some time to master, unless your a child. The pipa is the most challenging traditional instrument to do. This instrument were made for patient people who say practice makes perfect. Even when you think you have the basics down, you still don't have the foundation master. You have to learn 75 different sets to master this instrument. The only thing that might sound good is that it is not loud. The designs of the soundbox was not meant to be heard by 100 or more without a microphone. Now I said I love the sound, not I want to learn it.

The Colorful Ripples In The Water

The way I see it, there are at least hundreds of people who play the pipa instrument. Whether it be solo, in a band, or an orchestra. The pipa has been living on for 2000 years, so why would anyone let this colorful-sounding instrument die out? I understand it's hard to learn but with these times it's ok to challenge yourself. If you are looking for a long-term relaxing hobby to keep you thinking and concentration. Trust me when I tell you this instrument might be the one you choose. I'm pretty sure we have all heard that long sound at the beginning of those kung-fu movies. Or might have even heard it while doing yoga. This instrument is perfect for relaxing. Now I'll be going back binging my C-Dramas...don't disturb me...bye

Click Here to check out real Chinese Pipas

Click Here to check out Pipa music and music books


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