Thursday, September 11, 2014

S'merhu (some more erhu)

I figured it's about time for another video to mark my erhu progress, so here we go:

The piece is called 江南春色 or "Springtime in Jiangnan," and was written by composer Zhu Changyao pretty recently (not sure of the exact year, but within the last fifty years, if not the last twenty--he's still alive and performing, if that tells you anything). Jiangnan is a region containing Shanghai and Hangzhou, where I visited a few weeks ago, and the area has its own characteristic erhu style that I find quite lyrical. It's also difficult to pick up from the score, as there are lots of semi-improvised ornaments and embellishments (such as trills and slides) that aren't written in. As someone learning the style from scratch it's hard to anticipate unless you have someone telling you where to put all the add-ins! My trills are still a work in progress--they are too Baroque and not Jiangnan enough. A huge highlight from my Hangzhou trip was getting to see one of the local erhu masters we met perform the piece--a Jiangnan person playing a Jiangnan piece in Jiangnan!