Chinese Instrument: Pipa

2012-11-26 16:45:27    m.cri.cn    Web Editor: Hanyueling


琵琶 [Photo: china.com.cn]

琵琶,和中国古琴一样,是最具中华传统文化代表性的中国古典乐器之一。琵琶大约在中国秦朝时期就出现了,至今已有二千多年的历史。"琵琶"的名字来自所谓"推手为琵,引手为琶"(琵琶最基本的弹拨技巧),故名为琵琶。后来发展至唐朝,琵琶一度为中国弹拨乐器的总称。中国琵琶在唐代也传到东亚其他地区,发展出现在的日本琵琶、朝鲜琵琶和越南琵琶。琵琶今天也被称为"民乐之王","弹拨乐器首席"。琵琶为木制,四弦,原先先用丝线,现在多用钢丝、尼龙线制成。演奏时竖抱,左手按弦,右手五指弹奏,可独奏、伴奏、合奏。《阳春白雪》是中国十大著名琵琶古曲之一。相传,此曲是春秋时期晋国乐师师旷或齐国刘涓子所作。现存琴谱为《阳春》和《白雪》两首乐曲。《阳春》取万物知春、和风荡漾之意;《白雪》取凛然高洁、雪竹琳琅之音。后来,"阳春白雪"也逐渐变为一个成语,用以比喻"高深、典雅、不通俗的音乐、书画或文学艺术"。

The Pipa, like the Chinese Guqin, is one of the most representative classical Chinese instruments of traditional Chinese culture. The Pipa first appeared in the Qin Dynasty in ancient China and has a history of over two thousand years. The name of the Pipa comes from the two main plucking skills needed to play the instrument. "Pi means finger pushing, and Pa means finger pulling".
As far back as the Tang Dynasty, the Pipa was used as a general name for all Chinese plucked string instruments. At the same time, the Pipa was also introduced to other East Asian countries. Today you can see similar instruments in Japan, North Korea and Vietnam. The Pipa is also known as the "King of folk musical instruments", and the "Chief of plucked string instruments". Often made of wood, its four strings were originally made with silk thread, but now wire or nylon is normally used. Often held vertically, the Pipa can be played solo, with an accompaniment or an ensemble. "Sunny Spring and White Snow" is one of the Top Ten most famous Chinese ancient classical pieces of music for the Pipa. According to legend, the piece was composed by either Shi Kuang from the State of Jin or Liu Zijuan from the State of Qi during the Spring and Autumn Period. The existing melody consists of the two parts, "Sunny Spring" and "White Snow". The former renders the meaning of a sunny spring day when everything comes back to life, enjoying the warm breeze, while the latter is a piece that depicts cool and highbrow melodies from snow covered bamboo. Later, the term "Sunny Spring and White Snow" also became a metaphor for highbrow art forms such as classical music, calligraphy, painting and literature.