This piece is called Impression of Hutong, Sanxian cover, performed by Yu Wang. Hutong is a term to describe the narrow streets among the Siheyuan, which is the historical type of residence around Forbidden City in Beijing. Because so many elders liked to walk around Hutong leisurely and listened Jing Opera from the radio in the past. This piece integrates Jing Opera and Quyi, which is a Chinese performance art consisted of narrative storytelling using staged monologues and dialogues, to interpret Impression of Hutong.
Sanxian (三弦, literally "three strings") is a Chinese lute, and it’s a form of spike lute, may have its origin in the Middle East. Similar instruments may have been present in China as early as the Qin dynasty (221 - 206 BC) as qin pipa (琵琶), which was introduced in my previous blog. Moreover, this instrument was transmitted to other East Asian countries, for example to Japan as shamisen (しゃみせん). Even more closely related is the Okinawan sanshin, which is also covered in snakeskin. The Mongolian shanz and the Vietnamese đàn tam are also very similar to the sanxian.
Although the sanxian has historically been one of the most popular Chinese folk instruments (particularly for accompanying singing), a major decline in the number of sanxian players in classical contexts has been the cause of great concern among enthusiasts of the instrument. As many Chinese orchestras exclude the sanxian, many people are unwilling to learn this instrument. Even in China, very few conservatories offer majors in sanxian, and the small number of students of this instrument, as compared to the guzheng (古筝) or pipa, for example, have led to further concerns that the instrument's rich playing traditions may be lost forever. One reason for this is the fact that, unlike the shamisen in Japan, the sanxian lacks an original solo repertoire of its own, with most sanxian solo pieces being arrangements of pipa melodies. For the most part, use of the sanxian in the Chinese orchestra is as a provider of a de facto bass line.
#sanxian #lute #tanbur #shamisen #shanz #đàntam #dantam #pipa #guzheng #しゃみせん #forbiddencity #opera