Friday, June 1, 2012

Halfway Point

Today makes just about halfway for myself on this trip.  Most days as of late consist of lessons on our respective instruments in the morning.  Instruments we have had lessons on thus far include:  Erhu (two stringed Chinese violin, Brinn plays this one in the band a fair amount), Guzheng (a prominent furnishing of MATTEO concerts), and LiuQin (a new addition to the band, something like a Chinese mandolin).  In addition to lessons we have had crash courses with limited success on Dizi or 'Chinese Bamboo Flute' and Pipa or 'Chinese Lute'.  Sunday there will be another crash course on Sheng, which is like a panpipe on steroids.  

 Usually we walk off campus after lessons to get some food.  I can only speak for myself, but I alternate between ordering the hottest things on the menu, then hours later wishing I hadn't, then ordering the same thing somewhere else next meal.  We play music together in our dormitory.  We have two rooms one has quite a lot of baby stuff, the other has a lot of rented instruments and recording equipment.  The usual jamming suspects consist of myself, Chip, and Luke.  Brinn is usually next door.  Sometimes with a happy baby.  Sometimes with a.... baby.  Anna got a shot before the trip, so she has been a little more fussy than usual. 

 As of yesterday and this morning, the main thing we are bringing back as souvenirs are a bunch of books very interesting and very specific to us.  I'm trying my hand to read the Ancient Chinese Music Encyclopedia.  I'll move on to the books on Theoretical Analyzations of Chinese music and another on Chinese Music History next.  Luke's purchase no-less practical:   a two-volume manual on the GuQin, the most ancient of chinese instruments.  These books are copies of a handwritten Zither music notation that takes a lot of deciphering from natives, let alone Chip, Brinn, myself, and let alone Luke.  And then there's the three volumes that Chip just bought this morning:  the Great Illustrated Classic versions of Chinese classics.   


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