10 episodes

Exploring music from 9,000 years ago to modern times, “Chords of China” features the history and culture of Chinese musical instruments. Each episode highlights a classical Chinese instrument, which carries the values of the Chinese culture. Touch the soul of melody, having more than nine millenniums of wisdom inspire you.

Chords of China China Plus

    • Music

Exploring music from 9,000 years ago to modern times, “Chords of China” features the history and culture of Chinese musical instruments. Each episode highlights a classical Chinese instrument, which carries the values of the Chinese culture. Touch the soul of melody, having more than nine millenniums of wisdom inspire you.

    Melody of Ancient Chinese Wisdom: The Ruan

    Melody of Ancient Chinese Wisdom: The Ruan

    Explore the instrument that carries ancient Chinese wisdom dating back to over 9000 years in the past. The plucked instrument ruan has the capacity to convey the core cultural values of the Chinese people, purify the soul and inspire those who open themselves to its charm.

    • 27 min
    A Wider Range of Musical Capability: The Guzheng

    A Wider Range of Musical Capability: The Guzheng

    Having over 2500-years of history, the guzheng is never too archaic to integrate into modern society. In fact, it has marvelous musical capability that it can establish a musical intercourse with western opera; it works well with ancestral and new-age genres, and it symbolizes the quintessence of eastern civilization.

    • 28 min
    Ancestor of the Piano: the Yangqin

    Ancestor of the Piano: the Yangqin

    What does the ancestor of the piano sound and look like? Find out on Chords of China.

    • 28 min
    The Commander of an Ensemble: The Drum

    The Commander of an Ensemble: The Drum

    The drum might be as old as the Chinese history itself. According to recorded legend, ceramic drums appeared in the farthest reaches of antiquity. Drums have been part of almost every aspect of Chinese social life, including life at court, in religious ceremonies, in farming, and during war. The percussionist Zhu Jianping from the China National Traditional Orchestra joined us to talk about how he's combining the traditional sound of the Chinese drums with modern elements to keep it vibrant and relevant today.

    • 25 min
    The Sound of Common People: The Huqin

    The Sound of Common People: The Huqin

    Erhu is a daily accompaniment to the lives of a great many Chinese people. It is the most common member of the huqin, which is a family of Chinese bowed string instruments.
    In this episode, you will hear heartbreaking erhu music “The Moon over a Fountain” and the story behind this famous piece. Huqin instrumentalist Zhang Xuguang will lead us to the music world of huqin.

    • 25 min
    Humble but Beautiful: the Sheng

    Humble but Beautiful: the Sheng

    The sheng is a multi-reed mouth organ that consists of numerous bamboo pipes, varying in length. Some believe that the first shengs were brought to Europe in the 18th century, and enlightened the invention of western reed instruments. In this episode, you will hear heartwarming sounds and music from the infamous sheng master, Wu Tong. He will lead us on a journey toward an enlightened understanding of not only the sheng’s history but also its uniqueness as an instrument of China’s ancient royalty.

    • 28 min

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