I was lucky enough to attend the first concert in UoP Music Department’s World Music series this week, a performance by the Silk and Bamboo Ensemble. This world-renowned Chinese string and wind group, based in the UK, was my first introduction to live music of this kind. The Ensemble comprised 4 musicians, Cheng Yu playing the Pipa, Xiao Ran an accomplished guzheng (21-stringed zither) player, Chen Decan playing a number of wind instruments including the bamboo flute and Wang Xiao playing the erhu. Where can I find out more about Chinese music? The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music Online – is just the resource. It is really useful for any student studying music-related courses and because its available online you can quickly and easily find what you need.
To help me find out more, I’m turning to volume 7 of the 10 volume set: Garland Encyclopedia of World Music Volume 7: East Asia: China, Japan, and Korea. Part 3 of this volume is devoted to China and, as you might expect, includes lots of information related to the complex history and culture of Chinese music in all of its formats including classical, folk and religious. You can find out more about the instruments played by the Silk and Bamboo ensemble too. I particularly enjoyed the sound of the erhu a two stringed instrument which reminded me of a very small cello – (I’m a lapsed cellist, so I wondered if two strings would be easier than 4, but I’m not so sure!).
As well as the text articles, Garland Encyclopedia also provides audio recordings. Select Volume 7 under the audio heading to hear 1 hour of music from East Asia. Why not expand your musical knowledge by visiting the other volumes too. You can even create a separate login to store your favourite tracks in a playlist. Enjoy!