Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Video 14: 梅梢月 MeiShaoYue (Take 1 of page 1 to end of page 6)

梅梢月 MeiShaoYue Take 1 page 1 to end of page 6. There are a total of 8 pages in this piece. So far I have only memorised until the end of page 6. At this point, I have attended 19 lessons with Guqin master John Thompson (www.silkqin.com), who lives in Singapore.

There are more mistakes in Take 1 than in the Take 2 video. But the playing in Take 1 was slightly more "carefree", which is good.

Spontaneity and being carefree are desired qualities in Chinese arts like calligraphy, painting, and of course in the playing of guqin. But that only comes after many rounds of practising, possibly after a thousand times.

A very famous Japanese shakuhachi flute teacher once told me, "it's the job of the performer to play with correct pitch, and focus on doing the job well. It's the job of the audience to imagine while listening to the music and day-dream. It's not the performer's job to day dream with the music. The performer's job is to focus and play with correct pitch, and do the job well." Valuable words of wisdom indeed. I like that very much.

In the videos, it may seem that I am playing with a light touch, but I am actually pressing down with quite a bit of strength with my fingers onto the silk strings. The rough texture of the silk strings can sometimes also cause tiny "rope burns" on my left thumb and fingers. haha LOL

The 1st string (thickest) was tuned to G-sharp (also known as A-flat). To be able to drop-tune like that, thin gauge silk strings cannot be used, because they would become "floppy". Only the thickest gauge silk strings should be used if you want to drop-tune your silk strings guqin, so that there would be enough tension in the silk strings when you play them.

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