The Art of the Chinese Harp, Guzheng

Music Recommendation: Xiao Ying performs the guzheng in a 2004 recording.

Weekend Music Recommendation by Music Press Asia

The Chinese traditional instrument – Guzheng – is one fascinating piece of art. In another word, it is the Chinese’s most elegant creation ever existed. Over centuries, guzheng remains the symbol of great beauty mainly because of the prominent role it plays in the royal courts. Its rich tapestry of art inspired by the zheng continues to be documented even to the present times. The ancient instrument has travelled the Silk Road headed West. Today, this four-octaved instrument continues to be one of the greatest and acknowledged beauties of the ancient product of export of the Chinese.

Who is Yam Xiao Ying?

This week we are recommending some of Yam Xiao Ying’s few recordings using the Chinese harp – the guzheng. After graduating with merit from the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music (CCOM) in 1982, Yam joined the Guangdong Traditional Instrumental Orchestra in Canton.

After the debut of her career in Guangdong, Yam went on to win distinctions for Guzheng solo in the Guangdong Yancheng Concert Fair of Traditional Instruments Competition. In the process of acquiring the techniques and performing styles of the Northern and Southern school of Guzheng, Yam has developed and formed her very own unique form.

The Music: The Art of the Chinese Harp – Guzheng

The tremolos in ‘Spring on Snowy Mountains’ is a dizzying effect of the trembling cold blanketing the mountains in this fictitious storytelling of ours. It takes pleasure in depicting cascading waterfalls, thunder and scenic mountains of all seasons. As Yam strums the strings with great technicality, her style goes beyond the distinctive Southern and Northern styles.

In commemoration of the ‘Liu Yang river’, this track with the same name is a prominent dedication to an extreme piece of geography in Hunan Province, China. Its ability to express flowing water shows the vitality of the guzheng and its strength. Arpegio-like in form copying the sound of rain.

ARC Music, the music label for this recording established in 1976, has aim to preserve the ethnic music of world. The label now offers the largest selection of traditional and contemporary ethnic music from all corners of the world. In 2019, NAXOS acquired ARC Music simply for its rich recordings of ancient music.

Related music: ‘Inside Afghanistan’ a recording by Deben Bhattacharya. Click here for ARC Music’s catalogue.

Artist: Yam Xiao Ying
Composer: Traditional
Composer: Shun Zi Wang
Provided to YouTube by NAXOS of America.
Music Recording Released on 1 Jan 2004

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