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Pipa Playing Technique of Pudong School

Source: CRIHAP

Pipa Playing Technique of Pudong School

Since the Ming and Qing dynasties, the Southern Schools of Pipa, especially in Shanghai, have developed rapidly. The originator of Pudong School Ju Shilin, of Qianlong's reign (1736-1795) known as“Pipa Ju”, was famous for his supernatural performing technique. His pupil, Wang Dongtian was honored as “The No. 1 Pipa Player in the Jiangnan Area” by the musical experts. The third generation player of the school Chen Zijing was called into the capital and granted official belt of the third class to teach Chun Prince to learn pipa. He was awarded as the“Champion Pipa performer Under Heaven”. His pupil Shen Haochu collected the skills of his predecessors and learned widely from others, to compile a book entitled Yangzhengxuan Pipa Tablature, which promoted the transmission and development of Pipa of the Pudong School. During the era of Republic of China, Hu Guiming, the fellow apprentice of Shen Haochu accepted the invitation from the Osaka Pipa Institute of Japan to perform Pudong style Pipa in Japan and won great honor. In 1956, Chen Haochu’s pupil Lin Shicheng was appointed professor by the Central Conservatory of Music and trained a group of excellent students such as Liu Dehai and Ye Xuran. He also taught students to learn Pudong School pipa in various universities and institutes to popularize the technique.

The main artistic features of Pudong Pipa School is prominent: its militant tunes are magnificent and powerful, while its quiet tunes are fine and minute. When playing intense tunes, the performers usually play with large Pipa which cares much about bowing fully with strong power, a preservation and development of the traditional Shanghai style. Their fingering features are “Play four strings alternatively, merge the strings (four strings, or three strings or two strings), play four strings at the same time, continuously stroking, all kinds of plucking and sweeping, various singing ways, alternation of rhythm and percussion”.

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