The Art of Music

Musical instruments, in the right hands, can gift our ears with heavenly sounds and elicit in us strong emotional responses. Musical instruments, especially the ancient ones, can delight the eyes as well, because they are exquisite works of art. The Hulusi, Guzheng, Sheng, and Erhu are four such ancient Chinese instruments that both look and sound beautiful.

I heard extraordinary music from two young people at my Feicheng friends’ home. Their son, who is a gifted musician, brought tears with his brief piano concert (Lang Lang will have serious competition in a few years.) and for his finale played the ancient Hulusi. Their young neighbor played the Guzheng with breath-taking skill and artistry.

The Hulusi, or Cucurbit Flute, has three bamboo pipes passing through a gourd wind chest.

The Guzheng or Gu Zheng is something like a zither. It is a beautiful instrument and would be a showpiece in any living room. Under skilled hands, it becomes the language of angels.

When walking along a river park in Feicheng, I discovered a group of musicians performing for a small assembly of citizens. It’s a shame because they were so good and should have been in a large venue.

This instrument, the Sheng, is one of the oldest Chinese instruments, with images in artwork dating back to 1100 BC. It is one of the primary instruments used in the Chinese opera.

The Erhu is a two-stringed bowed instrument, sometimes called a “southern fiddle.” It is now used in both traditional and contemporary music.

This is the pagoda (taken a few days before) where the musicians shared their music with a few people in the park. The shot shows the juxtaposition of the old architecture (although I’m sure that the pagoda is new) with the sleek new high rise.

21 thoughts on “The Art of Music

  1. What a fascinating trip, and post! Thank you so much for the photos and details, Mona. I imagine the audio to be heavenly and so intriguing. I very much enjoy my vicarious travel with you. ~ Lily

    • I wish that I had recorded it (video & audio) … but am thankful that I heard it … and the beautiful and haunting melodies are living in my memories.

  2. Chinese music has a different quality – a haunting sound – and these photos capture that, with a little bit of the life that children impose on things. Beautiful. Hope you’re reacclimating to the US.

    • YES! That’s IT! Haunting …. you are so right. That describes it perfectly. When I watched the girl alternately attack and caress that beautiful piece of wood and wire … I was moved by the haunting lyrical essence.

      Reacclimating? Absolutely! I was so happy to land in the US .. SO HAPPY!

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