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Nottefonda

A stressed Pipa beginner

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Nottefonda

Ok, I'm not sure this is the right section for a topic like this. Neither I'm sure if someone of you can play Pipa, nor if it's a good idea to write about my troubles about this instrument. Why "troubles"? 1.Because I live in Italy (here I really think I'll never find a Pipa teacher) 2. because I know very little of musical notation 3. because I'm trying to learn this instrument by me. Even if I knew how hard would be, 15 days ago I ordered a Dunhuang starter sprucewood Pipa a a good price and last week I received it. Even if now I'm too confused and I don't know how to start, I really love this instrument, and I don't want to abandone the possibility to learn something about it. So, I don't mean to be bother or silly, but there's someone that can tell me where to find Pipa sheets and maybe online tutorials? (I find very useful one tutorial founded on youku) ;_;

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abcdefg

I think Meng Lelan plays the pipa. If she doesn't see your post in a day or two, try sending her a message.

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Meng Lelan

Here I am. Yes I have been studying pipa almost a year now. You really have to have a teacher. My teacher plays in the Chinese orchestra here in this community where I live, that is how I found her. Try asking throughout the Chinese community in Italy to find a teacher. Eason is where I get my pipa supplies and books.

http://www.eason.com.sg/products/products_new.jsp

There also seems to be a classical Chinese music forums online that can probably help you more, but it is not extremely active all the time and the forums are divided into pipa, erhu, dizi, etc:

http://starvoid.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=Pipa&action=display&thread=986

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Nottefonda

So Lelan, do you really think I cannot make it without a teacher? A little maybe? With a lot of practice? ;_; Anyway I know Eason, some days ago I ordered from their site a pipa VCD, hoping this will help me. Searching on youtube I found a Pipa tutorial from a guy who can play also ukulele, in chinese language but it's very clear to understand. just another two questions: I think it's time to learn something about chinese musical notation and jianpu, but how difficult is to read a pipa sheet? (I don't think I'll need a teacher even to learn it...) and...in how much time did you learn how to do tremolo, that technique with 5 fingers?...

Yes, surely you all are growing tired of me D:

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Meng Lelan

No one here is going to get tired of you. Now that I think of it you and I may be the only pipa players in here but I could be wrong. Some time ago there were maybe a couple others in here interested in the pipa but they have not been here in a long while.

As for having a teacher I don't know what to tell you except I studied piano for ten years previously and there was no way I could have ever taught myself even with youtube. My father was self taught on piano and he was overpedaling everything and played all chords with no sightreading, so I thought it was ghastly. So I had a really tough piano teacher from East Europe and that was a great experience.

I have a good pipa teacher, but the pipa is hard to learn so I have to practice at least 20 to 30 minutes a day to do well in the lessons. You will need to learn Chinese musical notations if you want to go on to more and more complicated and traditional pieces. Pipa has some of its own notations. Chinese music notation is very different from Western. The tremolo, I know what you are talking about. That is a basic skill that is not going to be mastered in one day. I can do a slow to medium tremolo but not fast yet and even then my smallest finger (the fifth finger) keeps missing or sliding off the string >:-(

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G_String

Hi,

I'm new here and also learning. Have you given up?

Here's one website in English:

http://pipalearning.tumblr.com/

There's a lot of videos of people using guitar technique to play pipa. It's best to get lessons if you can. VCDs and books can help only so much.

Meng - I have the same problem with the lunzhi (tremelo) although I can do mine very fast up or down stroke I make too much clack noise.

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Meng Lelan

I was indeed wondering what happened to Nottefonda, I am still with the pipa, almost a year now. Teacher is now away helping with the new grandbaby so I am on my own now for a while until she comes back. I think I have got the lunzhi now but can't get my thumb up to same speed as little finger. My goal is to play 霸王卸甲 (or some parts of it) in ten years, if I am still functional. Yes, I know it is hard, but so is every new thing in life.

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G_String

maybe Nottefonda got stressed out and gave up :(

What do you think of the pipas on taobao? They have some nice Dunhuang models and xomd Xinhai ones in rosewood.

I don't have a teacher to tell me off like you ;)

What does a + above a note mean? The ★ is for lunzhi and ○ is open string right?

I like the challenge of the pipa. If I wanted an easy instrument I would learn to play triangle lol

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Meng Lelan

The triangle, ah ha ha, no, actually I saw a Chinese orchestra perform and there was indeed a lady in the back playing the triangle. Still I don't feel that would be a lot of fun. The plus sign over a note is the four point lunzhi, I think that one does not use the thumb. You are correct about the other symbols. If you can read Chinese you can buy a pipa student book and the front will usually have a table of all the symbols you need to know. Mine does. As for pipas, mine was a gift from a friend in Suzhou, in fact it was made in a Suzhou workshop. I know about Dunhuang pipas, they are supposed to be ok. I think my pipa teacher wants me to get a high quality one after a couple more years of lessons. For that I probably will go back to China or maybe Taiwan. Maybe. We will see. My teacher is really tech savvy with the iPhone. When I practice my assignments, I record on an iPhone whatever I have mastered and text it to her and she texts back in Chinese what I need to correct.

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G_String

cool...so That.s what I.ve been doing for the + sign :)

I tested some suzhou ones and they were all very nice. Only the top Shanghai Dunhuang ones like the 54x series made me sit up and think WOW.

I couldn't be sure I would be good so I got a student Shanghai Dunhuang 561. Now I think I was too cautious and should have got a 561C at least.

Do you know the Xinhai brand at all? My friend in Beijing likes this brand. Their rosewood models are very crystalline for lunzhi.

I have plenty of pipa books. Just need to practice more diligently ;)

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G_String

ps can you show us your Suzhou model? I like the way these and the Xinhai models have the frets all starting from the same position on the left. Only the Shanghai Dunhuang models and copies stagger the bottom 9 frets.

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Meng Lelan

Suzhou is a pipa paradise! At least that is what I think. Have you been there? I was excited to go to the Suzhou gardens and see pipa players in costume in almost every nook and cranny and boat :-)

I can post a photo of my pipa and pipa related stuff on my blog this weekend. It's just that today and tomorrow I have a lot of meetings and won't be online much until this Sunday or so.

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abcdefg

I'll be in Suzhou next week and will keep an eye peeled for pipa players in the gardens.

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G_String

wow. never been to Suzhou. my main worry is how I could carry so many pipa back :)

I have a rosewood one which is very heavy (4kg).

Taobao and buychinanow websites sell Dunhuang fakes which are 2kg. No good pipa can be made that light

with rosewood or ebony wood. I tested some in Beijing and got so cross they sound so fake too. I bought mine

from a reputable authorised dealer buy they charged the high end of its price range.

It would be nice to try some Suzhou ones :)

Which are these?

http://photo.blog.sina.com.cn/list/blogpic.php?pid=68dafd47gfa29c0b258bd&bid=68dafd4701012myw&uid=1759182151

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Meng Lelan

Ok, go to the entry dated 4/14/2013 in my blog to see pics of my pipa and pipa book.

http://blog.sina.com.cn/menglelan

This is my all time favorite, from 林石城 the greatest pipa player of all time.

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G_String

very hard to tell the difference between the pipas on photos. The white peonie flower head and slight difference in material

for the 6 top end frets looks like its popular.

The internet is really bad for making pipas look attractive.

Lin Shi Sheng is great. He's Liu De Hai' teacher :)

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abcdefg

Pipa Action:

Saw this sign today in Tongli (close to Suzhou.)

post-20301-0-61628200-1366201655_thumb.jpg

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abcdefg

Unfortunately, I was on my way out of town when I saw the poster. Only spent one night in Tongli 同理. Am now in Yixing 宜兴, on the other side of Taihu 太湖.

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Meng Lelan

Did you see real pipas...?

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