Ancient Chinese musical instruments


疯狂英语·新悦读 2024年4期

河南 赵永彬


主题语境:乐器 篇幅:359词 建议用时:7分钟

1In ancient China, people played a number of greatly unknown musical instruments.The sound of these instruments was wonderful and some of these instruments are still used today.

2Guzhengoriginated during the Warring States Period more than 2500 years ago in China.The earliest known version was constructed with a bamboo frame and used silk strings.Guzhengbecame very popular in the imperial court and among the common people.By the Tang Dynasty, the number of strings had increased from five to thirteen, and the bamboo had been replaced withwutongor paulownia wood for the frame of the instrument.In addition, many new forms ofguzhengappeared through cultural exchanges with other Asian countries.

3The earliestxiaoappeared during the Han Dynasty, and it was then calledqiangdi,which was popular among the Qiang people in Sichuan and Gansu provinces.In the 1st century BC, it became popular in the Yellow River region.Later, it was developed into an instrument with six holes, which was extremely similar to today'sxiaohaving six holes.When people listen toxiao, they say they're reminded of a lonely moon highly hanging in the sky on a frosty autumn night.The sound is wonderful and it really reminds people of nature.The instrument's structure is quite simple, very much like the flute, but only longer.It is usually made of bamboo.The top is sealed with bamboo.There is a mouth on the top and five sound holes on the frontal side and one hole at the back.Besides, there are other holes that are designed to adjust the tunes, smooth the tones, and raise the volume.

4Pipais about 2000 years old and one of the most popular instruments in China.Originally,pipawas held at an angle, like a guitar, but during the Tang Dynasty, an innovative musician held hispipaupright in order to stand out in a competition.Pipais a four-stringed lute with 30 frets and has a pear-shaped body.The musician holds the instrument upright and plays with five small plectrums attached to each finger of the right hand.

Reading Check

1.What material was originally used for the construction of the earlyguzheng?


2.When did the number of strings onguzhengincrease to thirteen?

A.During the Han Dynasty.

B.During the Tang Dynasty.

C.During the Warring States Period.

D.During the Qing Dynasty.

3.How hasxiaobeen developed over time?

A.It has transitioned from a simple to a more complex instrumental design.

B.It has remained unchanged in structure since the Han Dynasty.

C.It has become less associated with nature in the sound it produces.

D.It has changed its primary material from bamboo to a variety of other woods.

4.What led to the unique way of holdingpipaupright during performances?

A.An order by the emperor.

B.The construction of the instrument.

C.An innovative musician during a competition.

D.Influence from other Asian musical traditions.

Language Study





bamboo frame 竹制框架

silk string 丝质弦

imperial court 皇宫

paulownia wood 泡桐木

the Yellow River region 黄河地区

sound hole 音孔

adjust the tunes 调整曲调

smooth the tones 平滑音调


Although the structure of the flute is simple, it has 1.________ history of more than 7000 years.About 4500 years ago, designers 2.________(begin) to make flutes with bamboo instead 3.________ bone.During the period of the second emperor of the Han Dynasty, the flute was also calledhengchui.From the 4.________(seven) century on, the hole covered by membrane has been used.5.________ the development of free verse of the Song Dynasty and the music of the Yuan Dynasty, the flute became the main part of the accompaniment, and was also indispensable in folk and ethnic 6.________(drama).For many Chinese people, the melody of the bamboo flute calls to mind a picture of a country cowherd (牧童) 7.________(ride) a bull in the spring breeze.The flute has rich performance ranges.Not only can 8.________ play loud and sonorous tunes, but also cheerful dancing music and 9.________(peace) ditties.10.________ addition, it can imitate various sounds in nature such as the twittering of birds.