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The Metropolitan Museum Assignment
Pipa is a Chinese musical instrument which was made in the 19th century by Jiu-Cheng in Guangzhou (Canton), China. The product is made of gut, bone, ivory, and wood. It is classified as chordophone-fretted-plucked-lute (The Met 1). The instrument has a short-necked appearance and it was normally used as a solo instrument or opera orchestras. It is composed of a wooden belly, pear-shaped and shallow body as well as double crescent-fashioned sound holes. The instrument is used in solo song or in blend with orchestra and chamber ensembles (The Met 1). The word pipa originated in the 3rd century BC. It initially explained the playing movement of the right and left hand. Precisely, the right hand produced a movement “p’i” which means “to play forward” while p’a, refers to the practice of “playing backward.” Additionally, it was used in story telling bands and in the opera. The musical instrument has a solo collection of virtuosic and highly programmatic music (The Met 1).
Guqin is a Chinese musical instrument which was made in the later 17th to the mid-18th century in Lake Tai, Suzhou. Its medium includes mother-of-pearl, silk, and wood. Its dimensions include 120.7 x 18.7 x 7.5 cm. It is classified as plucked-zither-chordophone (The Met 1). It is empowered with metaphysical and cosmological significance and designed to articulate the deepest feelings. Giqun is the most prominent tool in China. Writers in Han Dynasty (206 B.C. – 220 A.D) noted that the Qin assisted to nurture character supplicate demons and gods, comprehend morality, and enhance knowledge (The Met 1). Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) literate who demanded the entitlement to play the instrument proposed that it should be played in a small pavilion or a garden, in a mountain setting, or close to an ancient pine tree in the course of incense burning in the air (The Met 1). The performance was conducted in a quiet moonlight night. Every part of tool is recognized by a zoomorphic or anthropomorphic name while cosmology is usually present. The instrument has been in existence for three millenniums and signifies the leading solo musical tool in Chinese tradition. The instrument was largely known as ‘qin” but the term was usually used in many musical tools in the twentieth century (The Met 1). The guqin is normally a noiseless instrument with an array of four octaves while its open strings are adjusted in the bass register.
The Egyptian harp was produced at a time between the early new Kingdom and the second intermediate period. The musical instrument originated from Carnarvon Excavations, Asasif, Thebes, and Upper Egypt in 1907-1914 (The Met 1). Arched harps of such kind were already utilized in the Old Kingdom and continued to be the prominent string tool used until the collapse of the Middle Kingdom. Subsequently, other kind of harps was introduced in the New Kingdom which was of diverse sizes and shapes. The Egyptian harps lack fore pillar to reinforce and strengthen the neck as compared to the contemporary European versions. The ancient harps were composed of four strings. Harp players formulated most common kind of musical group that performed in temple rituals, funerals, banquets, and festivals. The arched harp normally was composed of leather soundboard, strained over a resonator, often of Cedar woods (The Met 1). Underneath the leather skin, the instrument is designed in such a way that the string moves right into the resonator, linked to a horizontal pole. The strings’ tension on the pole underneath the skin makes the soundboard taut.
Comparison between Chinese Guqin and Egyptian harp
Egyptian harp and Chinese Guqin are similar because they are stringed. Both were also used in religious functions or occasions in various parts of Egypt and China. In addition, both musical instruments were made of wood among other materials (The Met 1). The length of the two instruments is less than 120 cm. both instruments are plucked using the fingers.
One of the most prominent features of the Egyptian harp was that it has a curved neck which serves as a sound box. Unlike the Chinese musical instrument such as the guqin, the strings rise diagonally from the sound box. In addition, the Egyptian harp differs from the Chinese guqin because it creates a bow-shaped curve especially on the neck (The Met 1). The Chinese guqin has no neck and it was played when placed vertically.
The Met. “Guqin”. Metmuseum.Org, 2018, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/506800. Accessed 3 Dec 2018.
The Met. “Harp”. Metmuseum.Org, 2018, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/561518. Accessed 3 Dec 2018.
The Met. “Pipa”. Metmuseum.Org, 2018, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/500625. Accessed 3 Dec 2018.