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The Influence of Pipa on Chinese Classical Music

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The Influence of Pipa on Chinese Classical Music In Chinese classical music, Pipa is one of the most popular traditional musical instruments in China and known as the “king of plucked string instrument.” It is a plucked four-stringed musical instrument having a pear-shaped wooden body with a varying number of frets ranging from 12 to 26. It has been played for about two thousands years in China and many Chinese ancient literary works and poems are related to pipa praising its refinement through its bright timbre and rapid rolling tremolo. Unlike nowadays situation that everyone could learn how to play pipa or enjoy the pipa performance in the concert, people from upper class in the ancient time rarely played classical instrumnets such as pipa and guqin (a plucked seven-string instrument of the zither family) in public or for commercial purposes. And they always refused to be regard as musician because performing artists in ancient China are usually considered as the lowest social class. “In traditional China, most well–educated people and monks could play classical music as a means of self-cultivation, meditation, soul purification and spiritual elevation, union with nature, identification with the values of past sages, and communication with divine beings or with friends and lovers” (Liu) However, the development of pipa in the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) let it became popular in both court music and ordinary people. Indeed, pipa music has a profound impact on the Chinese classical music with its unique historical and artistic value. Actually, pipa is not originated in China and there is a diversity of different pipas existed throughout history. The first records of lutes in China date only from the 3rd century BC and the word “pipa” was first used in China for a variety of plucked chordophones introduced from that time until around the beginning of the Tang…...

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