My very talented Sibu friend Yang Yi Fang is a well known Sibu journalist/author. One hidden talent she has is her skills on the GuZheng. At one time she taught several students this instrument in order to perpectuate traditional Chinese music and of course for the love of music.
I was once very keen to take up this instrument because my good doctor told me that it was a good instrument to play to "soothe the soul" but it was a daunting task because I could not find a Guzheng teacher in Miri at that particular time.
When I visited her she was so kind as to give a solo performance for me and I was really thrilled. That became a very memorable part of my hometown visit - listening to Guzheng played just for myself - few people would have that kind of privilege.
Guzheng music can help transport you to another world and help you to reflect more.
The Chinese character for "zheng"() is composed of two parts: the upper part means "bamboo"() and the lower part is "argue" (). According to a legend, there was a master of se (), 25-stringed zither, who had two talented daughters who loved playing the instrument. Now there came a time that the master became too old, and wanted to pass his instrument over to one of them. However, both daughters wanted to have it. The master felt very sad that he had only one instrument, and in the end, out of desperate, he decided to split the instrument into two - one got 12 strings, and the other 13. To his amazement, the new instrument sounds mellow and even more beautiful than its original. The happy master gave the new instrument a new name "zheng" by making up the character with the symbolisms representing "bamboo" and "argue". The word "zheng", the name of this instrument, pronounces the same as the word "zheng" which means "argue" or "dispute". The origin of the Chinese character representing this instrument seems to indicate that the early version of the instrument was made of bamboo, which is different from that of today. However, this legend, though it might be true according to the origin of the Chinese character for this instrument, should not be taken too seriously. It might well be the case that the character is just "borrowed" here for the name of instrument due to the fact that its pronunciation is a closer imitation of the sound the instrument produces. It is very common is Chinese literature, particularly in ancient poems, to described the sound of the guzheng as "zheng zheng", similar to the case of pipa.(http://www.philmultic.com/guzheng/)
Today the Guzheng has a new position in any good orchestra be it western or eastern. The CCTV and other medium (e.g. Youtube) have helped increased its popularity and more and more young people are taking up the instrument.
For me its music will always remind me of the pure water which used to flow down the Rajang River...bringing life to the people. Its music will always encourage me to live better and be stronger!! It also reminds me of how hard my ancestors worked to turn formidable terrain into cultivated and bountiful gardens!!
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