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The Pipa
The lute discovered on the next pages historically was three basic ideas of the same lute converging into the actual Pipa. The first lutes like this were mentioned in the second century BC. It knew four strings and not so many frets like today.

After a common agreement by the artists, t
he four strings are nowadays tuned:        


This tuning is sometimes struck through, accompanying the melodies played on the highest chord.
The Pipa is not hold horizontally like a guitar but vertically, with the chords showing away from the belly. Compared to the guitar, the Pipa has no sound hole and is made of one piece of wood with only small resonance, thus sounding like a Banjo.
The right hand plucks the chords with finger plecs, while the left hand pitches and modulates the tone in between the 24 playing frets (of which the upper ones, called xiang, are black painted pyramid cuts inside the neck), thus giving the Pipa a range of four octaves.
Pipa artists are well known for their virtuos playing skills, and a wide variety of literature. and its deep link back  into the classical and ancient music of China.

If you are interested in playing tips and further informations about the classical Pipa music, please read my article:
"Playing the Pipa"

Pictures (Click to expand):


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