Across China: Replica to reproduce sound of 8,000-year-old flute at Shanghai int'l music festival

Source: Xinhua| 2018-04-10 20:26:21|Editor: Mengjie
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SHANGHAI, April 10 (Xinhua) -- Chinese musicians are rehearsing a musical play reproducing the sound of an 8,000-year-old bone-flute at the upcoming Shanghai Spring International Music Festival in May.

Chinese flute virtuoso Tang Junqiao and her team took a year to make the replica, which best resembles the sound of Jiahu bone-flute, the world's earliest wind instrument, which was unearthed in central China's Henan Province in 1980s.

The multimedia musical named "Flute: sound of nature" will premiere during the three-week long Shanghai Spring International Music Festival.

"The musical not only tells the legendary story of the Chinese flute, but also demonstrates many Chinese cultural and art elements," said Tang, who acts as the leading lady in the play.

Since the archeological finding of more than 30 bone-flutes from Jiahu Village in Henan, Chinese flute master Zhao Songting has been invited to play music with the ancient instruments. Since then, no one has played with the relics due to their brittle texture.

In 2016, Tang, a student of the deceased master Zhao, started a project to search for the sound of the ancient flutes. The project was supported by the China National Art Fund.

Her team has made over 30 replica flutes, mostly with resin and bamboo, while two were made of bird bone.

The flute originated in China and is believed to have a history of 8,000-9,000 years. Jiahu flutes have six holes and were made of the ulna bones of red-crowned cranes.

Tang's team made over 60 experiments and tried materials from bones, wood, bamboo and synthetics to find the right sound.

The sound of one of the replicas made with resin synthetic material and bitter bamboo is considered by musicians to be "very similar to the bone relic".

Tang, also a professor of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, said that compared with the previous recording of the flute master, the pitch of the replica to be played in the musical was more precise and the tone quality richer.

"About 4,000 years ago, the Chinese started to make flutes with bamboo instead of bird bone. And bamboo is highly symbolic in the Chinese culture. So we produced the multimedia musical inspired by the replica," said Lin Zaiyong, dean of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and producer of the musical.

He said the musical production had convened China's top level artists for composing, scriptwriting and directing.

"To awaken the sound from over 8,000 years on stage is beautiful. But we are aiming more than that," Lin said.

He said the original musical would be among China's recommended music for international events.