Like last weekend, we went to the Botanical Garden of Singapore to attend a public open air concert. This time a Chinese Youth Orchestra, the SYCO Youth Rhapsody, performed. It was a novel acoustic experience - kind of classical arrangements, but different instruments and other tunes. Amazing, how the sound recalls the movie "Kung Fu Panda". And if the amateur thinks "Hmm. Somehow everything sounds the same". Most probably, a Chinese person not familiar with Western classical music would think about Beethoven the same way.
We learned that the Chinese orchestra - like the Western orchestra - is composed of four segments. You find (for me up to that moment unknown) instruments like the liuqin, the yangqin, the pipa, the zhongruan, the daruan, the sanxian, and the guzheng as plucked string instruments. You also find bowed string instruments ("huqins", distinguished into erhu, zhonghu and gaohu - the last two are rarely used). Erhu are distinguished into erhu I and erhu II, comparable to our first and second violins. Furthermore you find a few cellos and even two double basses, which are very common in Western orchestras. On the other hand many wind instruments that create this very special and extraordinary Chinese or Asian atmosphere found its way into the orchestra: the dizi flute, the sheng instrument, and the suona trumpet (of whose you only need one as a solo, because of its narrow and very unique sound). A great role play the percussion musicians: Bangu drums, bo instruments, luo instruments, tanggu drums, muyu and bianzhong, the lion drum, and a yun luo.
And now I expect all of you to have looked up every link and to know the instrument names by heart. 3, 2, 1... Joke - I don't even know if all these instruments were playing today, I didn't even understand a single instrument name when the moderator read them down, I just looked up "Chinese orchestra" on Wikipedia - pardonnez-moi.
|Evening scene in the Botanical Garden under a Bougainvillea|