October 7, 2010

A Busker and His Friend

 Shenzhen, 2010

This busker is playing an old Chinese instrument dating back at least to the Qin Dynasty (200 BC) called the ruan. This old form of pipa with straight-neck and round body was named ruan after a master player of this instrument, Ruan Xian, one of great scholars among "The Seven Gentlemen" in the 3rd Century. 

The Ruan is used in Peking opera, as well as in modern Chinese orchestras. There is a family of ruan of various size with zhong (middle) ruan and da (big) ruan used similarly as the viola and cello in western orchestras. 

If you'd like to hear the sound of the ruan, here is a lovely melody.

Posted for Mary's Sepia Scenes.

12 comments:

jeannette said...

That's so interesting Francesca! My son gave me an album of CD's with Chinese music, and I really like it. On the video you linked to one can see the emotions of the musician -which surprized me when in China -much more expressive than in the US it seems.

Kay L. Davies said...

The video is beautiful, Francisca. I enjoyed it very much and, to paraphrase Jeannette's comment, the body language of the musician shows how much she loves her instrument.
The two old men in your photo are wonderful. The one in the wheelchair seems to be starting to smile in spite of himself, possibly because of his friend's music.

Kay, Alberta

jennyfreckles said...

It's lovely looking at your picture and listening to the instrument. It has a pleasant resonant sound.

EG Wow said...

I'd like to know what the ruan sounds like so I'm off to listen to your link! Thanks so much for including it. :)

Evelyn said...

It looks like his friend noticed you.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I love this post Francisca -- I can almost hear the music without going to the link -- the look as if they are playing their hearts out. Wonderful. (I have to come back and actually listen another time -- too late for sound in our tiny travel van).

Kaori said...

Call me crazy...but I see a face on the instrument! The music is really beautiful. And I love how you took this photo in black and white. Perfect composition :D

Jacob said...

Loved that video. It's interesting how similar instruments developed unbeknownst to one another around the world...

This sounds very much like a banjo ... listening to the girl play I thought of "classical banjo."

She was terrific; great expression!

Love your photo, too. A wonderful portrait of two older men still doing what they do...and I notice that while the busker may be an old instrument, he's got it hooked up to a "modern" amplifier!

Jacob said...

Me again! Re your question on Colorado in Color...

Our son-in-law was driving and I took the photo out of the front window. That usually works OK if the window isn't full of bugs. Trying to take photos out of the side window of a moving car is a really dicey proposition. Very difficult to get anything sharp.

Our daughter lives about 8 miles from "downtown" Cotopaxi...4 miles of paved road, then 4 miles of gravel up a very twisty, narrow, scary (no guard rails), steep road to her home at almost 9,000 feet!

I'll no doubt post a photo of their house in the future...

cieldequimper said...

Perfect photo. I wonder if the ruan sounds like I imagine it.

Anita Johnson said...

With all the places you visit I don't know how you can find time to visit any blogs, so I really thank you for your comment today. I love the sound of that instrument. I passed the link on to my guitar playing son. I just love to travel through your photos!

JM said...

Great portrait.