zheng

Zheng is an ancient Chinese musical instrument for which the earliest written account is in the Record of History Shiji in 237 B.C. Different models of zheng with numbers of strings varying from 5 to 48 have emerged over time. The 21-stringed model invented in Shanghai in 1961 is by now the most popular model. There is a movable bridge under each of the strings. Traditionally only right hand is used to plucking strings, while left hand is used to press the section of strings left of the movable bridges to produce glissando, vibrato and slides, etc. Nowadays two-handed techniques are getting popular and modern zheng techniques are becoming more similar to that of the Western harp. Tuned pentatonically, one of the hardest parts of playing zheng is to deal with chromaticism. Some of the contemporary models of zheng have their strings tuned chromatically, however, traditional flavors of zheng such as glissando would be significantly reduced. It becomes a great challenge to players to play contemporary music on this musical instrument.

箏是一件古老的中國樂器,對於箏這樂器最早的記載,可見於司馬遷的史記。二千多年來,出現過許多不同型制的箏,由五弦至四十八弦,也有各種不同的物料。今天最普遍使用的是於1961年由上海民族樂器一廠開發的二十一弦箏。 其中一個箏的結構特色,是每根弦之下有一個可移動的雁柱(或稱碼子),傳統上古箏以右手手指撥弦,而左手則在雁柱的左方按弦,以做出各種「吟揉綽注」等變音。上世紀五十年代後的現代箏曲,則多用雙手彈奏,技法上於西方豎琴有很多相似之處。 箏基本上以五聲音階定弦。一些新箏以半音階定弦,以便彈奏一些無調性的作品,但傳統箏樂的「吟揉綽注」則大大減少。如何在箏上演奏現代音樂,是每個箏樂手要面對一大難題。

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