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goodridge_winners

Composing for Chinese Instruments

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Hey Guys!

One of my ambitious compositions at the moment is in response to a selection of Photographs from the exhibition LI ZHENSHENG (Red-color News Soldier).

I of course would like to use a selection of chinese instruments (which will probably reduce the possibilities of a performance significantly) in the piece along with western instruments but actually have little or no clue on how to write for ethnic instruments.

So I am asking two things:

1) Do you have any tips for composing for the Erhu, Zhonghu, Bawu or Guqin?

2) Know of any books that focus on composing for Chinese instruments?

Any help would be greatly appreciated :)

P.s. Yes, I know there is nothing better than actually working with the instrument itself...but...thats not possible for me.

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One option off the bat: western approximations of style, technique, or another idiom from a Chinese music. Many instruments are strikingly similar to western instruments and skilled or virtual players.

Another: Guqin notation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia is what I know best as "go to" chinese music. There's a references section that might be useful.

This book: Amazon.com: A Chinese Zither Tutor: The Mei-an Ch'in-p'u: Pin-Lu Wang, Fredric Lieberman: Books might be of some use. Good luck finding it.

YouTube - chineseculture's Channel Has some modern compositions, dunno about traditional.

I've been wondering similar things,,,,

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Hey!

Thanks for that. Yea, i considered writing in western style as its very true the instruments are kind of similar.

But thanks for the references! Will definately check them out :D

Ta!

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My tips are:

1. Never regard Erhu as a Chinese Violin. The high registers of Erhu is not reliable. But there's something more you can do with a Erhu than Violin since it lacks fingerboard.

2. Zhonghu is an esemble instrument used mainly in Chinese symphony orchestra. And don't regard it as a Chinese Viola either ;).

3. Bawu is a reed instrument... that's all i can tell you

4. If you know only a little about Chinese Culture than i suggest you not to write for Guqin. the tuning can dizzy you already

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