Pipes In China...

Liu Hongjun
China: Pipes of The Minority Peoples



1. 先人哀思
2. 可邊嬉戯女
3. 風之序舞
4. 怒江霧雨
5. 慕影
6. 古道吟
7. 吶号
8. 星空夜話
9. 夢梭女
10. 山林夜舞
If you ever see Liu Hongjun's Pipes of the Minority Peoples (JVC), be sure to pick it up. I heard an excerpt from it on a JVC sampler back in 1994 or so, and have always quietly kept a lookout for it, but had no luck until, out of nowhere, I spotted it. It's an enjoyable and tuneful disc, appealingly recorded and with an air of calm and tranquility about it.

The track that sucked me in, "Hebian Xi Xinu" (which translates to "The Dancing Girls Frolic by the Riverside"), features a wind instrument with a sound the likes of which I'd never heard before, and which I can only characterize as like a cross between a wood flute and a synth clarinet. It's apparently a huluxi flute, which is described in the liner notes as "recorder-like". Neat stuff, and a very pleasant .


Archaeologists have found the world's oldest playable flute in China. 
It's a 9,000 year-old, 8,6 inch instrument in pristine condition that has seven holes and was made from a hollow bone of a bird, the red-crowned crane.

It is one of six flutes and 30 fragments recovered from the Jiahu, a remarkably rich but little-known archeological site in the Yellow River valley in Henan Province in central China. Radiocarbon dating shows the site was occupied for 1,300 years beginning around 7000 B.C., during the early Neolithic period in China.

A fragment of a 45,000 year-old flute was previously found in Slovenia but it could not be played.
Nine millennia after lips last touched it, the flute was played again and its tones analyzed. The seven holes produced a rough scale covering a modern octave. It is impossible to know what relationship, if any, the tones have to six- or seven-tone Chinese scales first documented 6,000 years later (the other intact flutes have five to eight holes, but are not playable because of their condition). But the fact that the playable flute had a carefully selected tone scale indicates that the Neolithic musicians may have been able to play more than single notes, but actual music. 



arvind said...

Fantastic! Thanks Dear Miguel! :)

kokolo said...

How pleasent, needed it, thanks!

Miguel said...

At your service...

Ah... wait, I can hear the sound of the zurna ;)