Monday, June 20, 2016

Guqin’s Rhythm

有關琴曲之節奏[與古齋琴譜補義]這麼 說:

“琴 曲原具有自然之節,初試照譜彈,未易得成奏,習熟乃合節,漸至於神妙,此則存乎人。節即是板拍,《國語》所謂,“木以節之”也。琴曲譜不定板拍者,恐因定 固執而失入神化,非為初學者之但得其節奏而己也。然至入神化,亦莫不由於節奏而致矣。夫琴曲之音,因分長短緩急之度而成奏,拍即節其度之所以分也。有於音 初出之際即拍,曰頭板。於音已出未歇,適其中際而拍之,曰腰板。於音剛歇之際即拍,曰底板。是則於一音而分初中末三者之拍法也。又有於音已歇後再拍,曰閒板,須待其板聲已過,再接出其下之音,此無音而有拍也。曲中句末多一二閒板者,免緊接下音,而急促其奏,俾得展頭板,以舒其呼吸。更有於音宜舒轉而放慢拍 之,曰慢板;於音宜結束,而催緊拍之,曰緊板。皆由曲奏至此際,必爾而以成,亦自然而然者矣。其緊慢之板,均必得勻拍,總謂之節奏

琴 曲有一二音,或三五音,於同弦或各弦,而作數次者,音雖似繁複,為前後氣蓄,必如是乃成。須於此中分緩急,以合其節奏。初試細審聽,應如何得合,法在分別輕重疾徐之先後,與分幾聲之續上,幾聲之接下,得靈活留蓄,於其連斷頓挫之間,總以上下來去句讀,得呼吸氣息之自然為妙。”

My attempt translation...

Qing Dynasty Qin Handbook [YuGuZhai Qinpu Buyi] has talked about Qin Rhythm:
Qin music has natural rhythm. When starting playing a new piece by looking at its tablature, one might feel it is not easy to have the melody to sound good. After many practicing and get very familiar with the piece , the rhythm will then fit in. Gradually, one will find how wonderful it is, and will understand it.

Rhythm means the beats. Ancient people use wood to make the beating sound. Qin tablature does not indicate beats, that is because qin tablature is not made to limiting the player’s free mind.  Beginner might not be able to get the rhythm right, but once one gets it, a wonderful music will come out.
A piece of music has combination of different degrees of long, short, slow and fast sound . Beating system is to control all those degrees. There are different kinds of beat:

Head Beat: When a sound just come out on the beat, called the Head Beat.

Waist Beat: The beat happen right at the middle of a sound coming out and not yet finished.

Bottom Beat: The beat happen right at a sound just finished.

These three beats located at the beginning, middle, and the end of a sound.
Other than that, there is the “Idle Beat” which happen within two sounds, that the first sound has ended, then the beat happens, and then the next sound comes out. Also means there is beat(s) but no sound. Idle Beat happen often at the end of a phrase, in order not to have the next phrase coming out too soon to create a rush energy, also giving a room to breath.

There are also Slow Beat and Tight Beat.

Slow Beat : is to smooth down the music and turn into a slower temper.

Tight Beat: To hasten the sound from the previous ended sound.

Both Slow Beat and Tight Beat still need to be balanced within the music. And all the beats have to occur naturally.  All of that is called Rhythm.

A good music is based on the rhythm, no matter if it is one or two sounds, three to five sounds, in one string, or in several strings. Sound might be complicated, but based on the rhythm, it can accumulate the energy through the end. One must distinguish where to slow down, or hurry up and how many sound to stop or to continue, by carefully listening and analysis. Then flexible using it in connection and combination. After all, the best is to have natural breathing energy through the music.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

上絃膠 Putting silk string glue onto the string



古琴有些牌子的絲絃如中國產的虎丘, 今虞等等(不含素心) 用一段時間會出現脫膠現象, 因此需要上絃膠. 但不適用日本絲弦丸山橋本及鳥羽屋, 此視頻僅限中國產的絲絃.

膠量為指尖上感到黏黏的就可以開始塗到絃上. 塗到指尖上的膠沒了就在抓一點膠沾一點水, 重複做幾次即可. 不用塗太多. 也不用常常塗, 有脫膠時才塗.

This video is showing how to put silk string glue onto the string. A little bit of Glue (Baiji or E-jiao/A-jiao) and a little bit of warm water can help the loosen silk fibers get back together again. First take a little bit of glue and dip in warm water with your finger tip. Then rub your fingers until glue melted and then rub onto the string as the video showing.

This is only useful for silk strings produced in China, not including Suxin and Japanese silk strings. Also do not over do it. No need to rub too much glue onto the string. It depends on how loose the fibers are. You can coated to the whole string (Yue Mountain to Dragon Gum) or just the portion where the fibers are loosen.

Only do this when there is fiber loosen, no need to do it too often.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Fixing a damaged qin

Dragon Gum missing

Dragon Gum missing

add a piece of hard wood (oak)


5/5/2016- 5/12/2016 fixed the missing dragon gum
拿到這琴時龍齦已經不見了. 用一塊硬木慢慢磨出應有的高度與形狀, 黏上去之後, 上絃試音, 彈是可以彈了, 聲音請見下面連結.

5/5/2016 the lacquer cracks at the bottom board

removed the lacquer, wood cracks with holes can be seen

while putting black lacquer on, found one more hole that has penetrated the wood already.

I set the humidity too high so it dried too quick and caused wrinkles on the surface of the black lacquer I put on. 


sand it, put another thin layer of lacqur, and sand it, put another thin layer of lacquer, now it looks like this. I finally learned some experience of how to deal with Chinese lacquer. 





5/12/2016- 6/3/2016 Learning how to fix cracks of lacquer at the bottom board. All the process of learning is gloomy, but when I see the result, I learned something new. That makes me happy.

6/6/2016 This qin handed over to its owner. Discussed with the owner, we think the wood of  this qin might had been bitten by rats. Then someone tried to fix the damaged wood by covering small wood pieces then paint over with unknown paint. Because it qin bag has a big hole and around the hole, it looks like marks of animal teeth, very possible they are bitten by rats, and the location of the hole is where the qin tail was. But this is just guessing, still don't know the real reason what caused the damage. 

所有的學習過程皆是苦悶的, 特別是需要耐心與毅力的活. 一直以來都想嘗試玩玩大漆, 但早已聽說並不好玩, 要各方條件器具都符合, 又要身體強壯耐得住漆過敏, 與耐心等候漆乾的毅力與恆心. 我還不夠有耐心, 所以結果並不那麼完美, 希望琴主人見諒, 可我真的很感謝這學習的機會. 當學生拿來這張破損的琴, 我猶豫了很久到底要不要幫修, 可自己又沒有真正修過琴的經驗, 最後還是自告奮勇, 願幫免費修琴當作是學習. 很感謝學生願意給我這個機會. 

在北美因沒有大漆來源, 方圓百里基本也沒幾人知如何玩大漆, 我只能用僅有的台灣買的一小條黑生漆來自學自玩. 所有學習都是從失敗中學取經驗, 網上收尋各方有關上漆的資料, 也與網友交流經驗, 以前也跟Glenn 學過一點, 如今這麼玩下來還真的是學到很多. 最關鍵就是親身體驗. 否則理論只是理論. 

Listen this qin sound: 請聽此琴的聲音