About the pipa
The pipa is a plucking instrument for which music had been written already in ancient times. The earliest evidence of pipa music comes from a manuscript from the Dunhuang caves in west China, written in the Tang Dynasty (618- 907) for pipa solo. Its pear-shaped body is carved from one piece of hardwood and covered with a flat soundboard. The four steel strings (at old time was silk or guts) are tuned A-d-e-a; the tone range spans from A to e3. It is held on the lap vertically, the fingers of the left hand press the strings onto one or more of the 30 frets. The fingers of the right hand pluck the strings with the aid of plastic plectrums which are shaped like a fingernail and taped onto the five fingers. Their movements basically are from inside towards outside. They produce the sounds together with the very rich techniques of the left hand; it could produce a wide range of varied sounds. It is one of the most representative instruments of Chinese music.