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Contemporary Pipa Music

As the modern pipa is fretted based on twelve-tone equal temperament, pipa music is no longer limited to certain pentatonic scales. Many contemporary composers of different ethnicities has been composing new and exciting music for the instrument, including Terry Riley (The Cusp of Magic), Tan Dun (Ghost Opera), and Philip Glass (Orion).

Here is a video of my playing Dance of Yi Tribe by Wang Huiran (B. 1936)

Dance of Yi Tribe

Wang composed the music based on the folk music of the Yi Tribe, including Haicai Tune and music of dance with cigarette cases. The music starts off depicting the beautiful scenery of Southwest China where the tribe resides.  As music proceeds, we hear the songs that they sing to each other to convey their love and young people gather dancing at the festival.