Page Uploading..shall not take more than 18 sec on Broadband, thanks for waiting..

Sunday, December 20, 2009


The Tabla (Hindi: तबला, Bangla: তবলা, Nepali: तबला, is a popular Indian percussion instrument used in the classical, popular and devotional music of the Indian subcontinent and in Hindustani classical music. The instrument consists of a pair of hand drums of contrasting sizes and timbres. The term tabla is derived from an Arabic word, tabl, which simply means "drum."

Playing technique involves extensive use of the fingers and palms in various configurations to create a wide variety of different sounds, reflected in the mnemonic syllables (bol). The heel of the hand is used to apply pressure or in a sliding motion on the larger drum so that the pitch is changed during the sound's decay.

The smaller drum, played with the dominant hand, is sometimes called dayan (lit. "right"; a.k.a. dāhina, siddha, chattū) but is correctly called the "tabla" representing the 'yin' (female) energy. It is made from a conical piece of mostly teak and rosewood hollowed out to approximately half of its total depth.

The larger drum, played with the other hand, is called bāyāñ (lit. "left"; a.k.a. dagga, duggī, dhāmā) representing the 'yang' (male) energy. The bāyāñ has a much deeper bass tone, much like its distant cousin, the kettle drum. [wikipedia]

She plays tabla with a lightning speed and full of zest.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Beatboxing is a natural 'noise' without the cables linking to machines where it's some sort of vocal percussion mimicking sound of drum beats, rhythm, and musical sounds by what nature has given us, our mouth, lips, tongue, voice, and more. Beatboxing seems to be connected to the popularity of hip hop in the 1980s and has been an in-thing with the new generation albeit it has been in existence for quite a long time.

Vocal imitation of percussion sounds has existed for a very long time. One tradition is thought to have originated in India several thousand years ago: the tradition of bol, and the Chinese developed Kouji, a type of vocal performing arts. These had little or no relation with hip hop, however, and have no direct connection to modern Eastern Hip Hop. Some African traditions use performers' bodies (clapping, stomping) to make musical sounds to maintain a steady musical pace. They made sounds using their mouths by loudly breathing in and out, which is done in beatboxing today. An American style called eefing first emerged in rural Tennessee near the beginning of the 20th century. The term "beatboxing" is derived from the mimicry of the first generation of drum machines, then known as beatboxes. 

Recently, a 2009 beatboxing world championship took place where over 52 beatboxers and many female beatboxers competed for the title. The female British winner Bellatrix, and the male Swiss winner, ZeDe, are now the holders of the largest beatboxing title. Michael Jackson is also a well known beatboxer in songs like 'Cry' and 'Who is it', which throughout the songs he uses his natural voice to beatbox. [wikipedia]

2x UK beatbox champion, Beardyman chats to Ray Shah at oxygen 2008, and gives us a sample of what he does best!

Guess you have had great fun with your very first experience in beatboxing watching the 7 Steps video #4, hope you did not wet your monitor screen too much with your saliva eh! Good try!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Angklung is a musical instrument made out of two bamboo tubes attached to a bamboo frame. The tubes are carved so that they have a resonant pitch when struck. The two tubes are tuned to octaves. The base of the frame is held with one hand while the other hand shakes the instrument rapidly from side to side. This causes a rapidly repeating note to sound. Thus each of three or more angklung performers in an ensemble will play just one note and together complete melodies are produced. Angklung is popular throughout Southeast Asia but originated from Indonesia (used and played by the Sundanese since the ancient times).

Green Green Grass of Home Angklung Cinta Nada in Viernheim Germany Deutschland

Malam Indonesia Juni 2007 di Frankfurt-Jerman. KJRI Frankfurt

Angklung had also been adopted by its Austronesian neighbours, in particularly Malaysia and the Philippines, where they are rather played as part of bamboo xylophone orchestras. They are generally played using a pentatonic scale similar to the Indonesian slendro, although in the Philippines, sets also come in the diatric and minor scales used to perform various Spanish-influenced folk music. In the early 20th century, the angklung was adopted in Thailand, where it is called angkalung (อังกะลุง) [wikipedia]

Whoa! Rihanna's 'Umbrella' man this is cool..

Indonesian Students with Angklung Performance in 17th Kyoto Foreign Students Music Festival 2005

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


The glass harmonica, with its many names like glass armonica, bowl organ, hydrocrystalophone, or simply the armonica (derived from "harmonia", the Greek word for harmony), is a type of musical instrument that uses a series of glass bowls or goblets graduated in size to produce musical tones by means of friction by rubbing the rims with the fingers whereby is another version of the glass harp invented by Benjamin Franklin after seeing water filled wine glasses played by Edmund Delaval in England in 1758.

Segment from the history channel on Benjamin Franklin's Glass Armonica.

William Zeitler plays 'Venus - the Sphere of Love' on the Glass Armonica in Hong Kong.

In Franklin's treadle operated version 37 bowls were mounted horizontally on an iron spindle. The whole spindle turned by means of a foot pedal. The sound was produced by touching the rims of the bowls with moistened fingers. Rims were painted different colors according to the pitch of the note. A's were dark blue, B's purple, C's red, D's orange, E's yellow, F's green, G's blue, and accidentals white. With the Franklin design it is possible to play ten glasses simultaneously if desired, a technique that is very difficult if not impossible to execute using upright goblets. Franklin also advocated the use of a small amount of powdered chalk on the fingers which helped produce a clear tone in the same way rosin is applied to the bows of string instruments. [wikipedia]

An excerpt from the famous Mozart "Adagio und Rondo" K.617 for Glassharmonica and Quartet, by Thomas Bloch (Glassharmonica) and the soloists of the Orchestre Pasdeloup, during a concert given in salle Gaveau, Paris.

Music by Wolfgang A. Mozart. Played by French artist Thomas Bloch, exhibiting the glass harmonica in the Paris Music Museum, Nov. 29, 2007.

Vera Meyer plays the Glass Armonica (aka Harmonica) in Harvard Square, Boston, July, 2005.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Many would have tried this before rubbing the rim of wine glass or beer mug in pubs or discos only to produce noise or sound but no music. How about making music with wine glass with class with Yesterday?

Wine glass is fine. Best effect is to wash your hands and fingers clean. Hold the glass firmly by the base with the other hand and rub your wet finger around the rim. Eventually you will surely get the glass to resonate. Robert Tiso plays first m. of symphony n°5, by L.V.Beethoven, with glass harp. Cool..

Picture is not that sharp but the music is awesome, fantastic..

Close Encounter of the 'Glass' Kind..

Glass Harpist Alexander Zoltan performs on the Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic.

Fantastic sound - Vienna street player performs the organ music with his water glasses.

Jamey Turner plays something familiar - 'The Moon Represents My Heart' by Teresa Teng - [yuèliang dàibiǎo wǒde xīn] "月亮代表我的心" and Beethoven's Ode to Joy on the "glass harp".

Amazing wine glass music by Jamey Turner. Jameyturner.com

Coming up next...Glass Armonica

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Someone challenged me with this strange question "can you whistle while brushing your teeth at the same time?" Wow fantastic, but replied it's ridiculous cannot be possible and we took a bet saying no way he can do it. The deal is on and the demo is set. He calmly took out his dentures and whistled his way to the bank grinning from ear to ear.. Here are some of the music produced without musical instrument..they are simply awesome!

World Whistling Championship guess who is the champ?

Who says girls cannot whistle or not supposed to whistle?  Not any more..Those days our old folks would not allow any whistling at night or when passing through jungles or rubber estates. Reasons? Will attract those unseen beings. What about girls who must not whistle in the olden days? Again old folks said no, reasons are the same "all of the above applies plus one strong statement, it's 'unlady like' for a girl to whistle". So up till to today there are quite a number of ladies who do not know how to whistle. What about the girls of the younger generation do you know how to whistle? Not allowed to whistle or just dislike whistling?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

മ BANJO Part II - Homemade

There are 5-String Bluegrass Banjo, 5-String Open Back Banjo, 6-String Banjo, 4-String Banjo etc etc just to name a few. Scholars have found that many of these instruments have names that are related to the modern word "banjo", such as "banjar", "banjil", "banza", "bangoe", "bangie", "banshaw. What about these names for a Banjo? Cookie tin, wine box, cigar box, brass pan? Let's go banjo-ing..

Cookie Tin Banjo

Darling have you seen the new cookies I bought last week? 

Brass Pan Banjo

You wanna pancake with honey? Honey!

Gas Tin Banjo

Whoa high powered vroom banjo player, could beat the world record and be the fastest banjo player.

Cigar Box Banjo

Holy smoke! Message from the owner, "Chainduck" ~ "Total parts cost on this was about $50. A buddy of mine gave me the tuners...The pearl cost me $5 ebay. The head $12, Stove ring $4, The tailpiece was from my first plywood tenor banjo, I built in Jr. High...not a big success...LOL Various nuts and bolts..etc. make up the balance of the cost. The neck was made from scraps off an electric I build a few months earlier. Time to build...180 hours or more...LOL..lots of head scratching."

Oil Can Banjo

Yummy olive oil banjo, nice song.."God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"

Cigar Box Banjo

Yeah hold it! I have posted the cigar box before, but this guy is real cool, teaches how to play the banjo so easy going, love to watch him play. Smooth like smoke on the water..

Wine Box Banjo

Yamseng Banjo! Made from a Franzia Chillable Red wine box. Its got a fretless rosewood fingerboard, a two-footed bridge, and a Yopp tuner built into the tail piece.

Salad Bowl Banjo

The owner found this salad bowl in an antique shop and has made two salad bowl banjos already. Can someone pass the mayonaise over please!

Sunday, November 1, 2009


The Banjo is a stringed instrument which has its root in Africa. Africans transported to the Caribbean and Latin America were playing banjos in the early 17th and 18th centuries before America. Africans in the US were the predominant players of this instrument until the 1840s. Originally the banjos were made out of gourds and skins. The body, or "pot", normally consists of a circular rim (generally made of wood), a metal tone ring, and a tensioned head, similar to a drum head. Traditionally animal skin were used for the drum head, but synthetic materials have replace most of them today. The strings numbered between three and nine, with four- and five-string banjos being popular. In almost all of its forms, the banjo's playing is characterized by a fast arpeggiated plucking, although there are many different playing styles. They can be played like strumming a guitar, bowed or plucked like a harp. Today, the banjo is commonly associated with country, folk and bluegrass music.

What is a gourd?

How Banjos are made..

Banjo lesson: Forward/Backward Roll, Alternating Thumb Roll..

Using fingerpicks and tuning..This great video teaches you how to use your fingerpicks. Special thanks to David from musicmoose.org for this wonderful tutorial .

Banjo crash course..

Country Guitar "Duelling Banjos" - By Paco Pascual. Haha this was the tune that got me interested in the sound of banjo when I was a kid and bingo so glad I found it..YeeHaw!

Master of the banjo Gerry O'Connor plays two reels: "The Bag of Spuds" and "The Copperplate". These tunes were recorded in Gerry's hometown of Nenagh in October 2004, just after the release of his CD, "No Place Like Home."

Florida Today Coverage and footage of the Guinness Event Worlds Fastest Banjo Player, Grammy Nominated Banjo Player Todd Taylor Sets New World Record.

Banjo Hall of Fame, Tim Allan, plays solo Tenor Banjo, The William Tell Overture is often known as.. "Hi-yo, Silver!", The Lone Ranger!

Steve Martin & Earl Scruggs - Foggy Mountain Breakdown. I cannot help myself for not shaking my head while listening and watching..COOL!!!

Guinness World Record - 59 Banjoists Play Foggy Mountain Breakdown by the legendary Earl Scruggs. Are you able to spot the only one 'leftie' out of the 59 Banjoists?
Normal average Banjo price ranges from U$800 - U$3000 unless you want to make it on your own, possible???

Coming up next: Banjos made from cookie tin, cigar box, oil can, wine box etc? Huh!!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009


Many would have tried this before leaving out musical instruments to make music with leaf by holding it on your lower lip. Some might have tried using hack's wrapping paper as well. Well let's get some up-close on leaf music for a change.

Whoa this guy Ricky from Taiping, Malaysia and name of the song "The Bund" 上海灘; pinyin: Shàng Hǎi tān; & "Bangawan Solo"

This guy is from India

Place ~ Trikut hills, Jharkhand, India.

This man's name is Carlos Garcia, Mexico.

The Hmong village girl from Laos

Music Instrument: Leaf of Spathiphyllum, Player: "Leafman" from Japan.

Chi Mao is a tour guide in Sapa.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

ø WADAIKO YAMATO - The Drummers of Japan

Wadaiko Yamato  is a Japanese musical group of taiko drummers, brain-child of Masa Ogawa formed in 1993. "Wadaiko" means Japanese drum and "Yamato" was the former name of the city, the present day Nara prefecture, the group's birthplace. It all started when the group played a piece called "Hyuga" composed by Masa Ogawa in a festival held at the Toichi Shrine in Kashihara-shi, Nara. Ever since then, the group has made over one thousand live performances to over one million people in more than 20 countries in across the globe. It was at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1998 the group performed their international debut and was awarded the "Spirit of the Fringe" award. Subsequently a year later they headed for more performances on three international tours, covering South America, six countries in Europe, and Israel.

If you have subwoofers, turn them up max! Whoa! You gotta feel the vibration it's sensational..

Wadaiko Yamato performing at 2007 Universal Forum of Cultures in Monterrey, Mexico on Sep 28 and 29 2007.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Richard Clayderman (born Philippe Pagès on December 28 1953 Paris) is a French pianist started learning piano at a very tender age from his father who was a piano teacher. Recalling the early 80s practically one can hear his music in all corners of Taiwan, the whole island inundated with Claydermania.

At age twelve he was accepted into the Paris Conservatoire of Music where he won great acclaim in his later adolescent years. To make ends meet due to financial constraints he has to work two jobs; bank clerk in the day and an accompanist to contemporary bands at night.

And now the facts from Wikipedia..In 1976 he was invited by Olivier Toussaint a French record producer and his partner Paul de Senneville to record a gentle piano ballad. Paul de Senneville had composed this ballad as a tribute to his new born daughter “Adeline”. The 23 year old Philippe Pagès was auditioned along with 20 other pianists and got the job. "He was an interesting musician with a soft touch and good technique" says Toussaint. "And he looked good too." Philippe Pagès' name was changed to Richard Clayderman (he adopted his great-grandmother's last name to avoid mispronunciation of his real name outside France) and the single took off selling 22 million copies in 38 countries. It was called Ballade pour Adeline.

He has recorded over 1200 melodies and has created a new romantic style through a repertoire which combines his trademark originals with classics and pop standards. He has devoted much of his time to performing concerts and pleasing his fans going as far as playing 200 shows in 250 days. He has clocked up worldwide record sales of approximately 90 million at the last count and a remarkable 267 Gold and 70 Platinum discs to his credit. He is popular in Asia and is noted by the Guinness Book of World Records as being "“the most successful pianist in the world."

Monday, October 19, 2009

ø OCARINA - The Real Ones

Having posted about making ocarina with veges and fruits now to expect the real stuff which definitely sounds better than any veges. Having a long history of more than 12,000 years obviously it's some great instrument. Funny I have never heard about this amazing wind flute instrument before in my entire life until now. It is another important instrument used in Chinese and Mesoamerican cultures not forgetting both the Mayans and Aztecs had produced versions of the ocarina.

Let's get more technical and let's see what Wikipedia has to say:
How an ocarina works:

1.Air enters through the windway
2.Air strikes the labium, producing sound
3.Air vibrates throughout the inside of the ocarina
4.Covering and uncovering holes lowers and raises the pitch

The ocarina, unlike other vessel flutes, has the unusual quality of not relying on the pipe length to produce a particular tone. Instead the tone is dependent on the ratio of the total surface area of opened holes to the total cubic volume enclosed by the instrument. This means that, unlike a flute or recorder, sound is created by resonance of the entire cavity and the placement of the holes on an ocarina is largely irrelevant — their size is the most important factor. Instruments that have toneholes close to the voicing/embouchure should be avoided, however, because this weakens tonal production since an ocarina is a Helmholtz resonator.

Friday, October 16, 2009

ø OCARINA made from 'A'sparagus to 'Z'ucchini

The Ocarina is an ancient flute-like wind instrument which comes in all kind of shapes and sizes but commonly ocarina is typically oval-shaped. There would be four to twelve finger holes and a mouth tube projecting out from the body. It is often ceramic, but many other materials, such as plastic, wood, glass and metal may also be used. What about vegetables then? No kidding! You can make ocarina using veges from 'A-sparagus' to 'Z-ucchini.'

Ogenkidesu! Nonamesan, sorry not able to find out this Japanese music teacher's  name, he sure has all the talent and ability to make veges ocarina. Take my hat off for him.

Tools required ~ big and small drills, cosh with same diameter as big drill, sharp blade, chisel, round file, ruler, electric drill and lastly tuner, not forgetting of course a great pair of unshaky hands. Good luck!

It's a capsicum..

Of all the veges think the best sound comes from the broccoli and carrot.

ø The BIG Bibik & The Little Nyonyas - Episode 5

It took me quite awhile to decide participating in this 'wok-ing' contest. Wonder it smells fishy for a muzika blog to blend into foodie as it could be an utterly  'mis-steak'. However a peek into the webisodes altered my decision. Will let the foodie experts 'wok' the talk while I'll talk no wok. Furthermore it would be a big surprise to know that veges can make music besides being good as 'microphone' by Vanessa and Meng Meng in episode 6. Let there be music and you shall have music from 'A'spragus to 'Z'ucchini. I shall post about the veges music soon.

Very glad to have the opportunity and the generosity of  foongpc to come out with this contest who is a crafty blogger himself, always keeping the viewers in suspense with his abrupt 'ending' so as to keep them hungry and craving for more. Must jointly thank foongpc and also QuaChee for sharing this series of webisodes on cooking made easy by BIG Bibik  with the recommended recipes for cooking enthusiasts.  As the saying goes 'the way to a person's heart is to 'wok' by the stomach'. Check this out and you would be amased how simple it would be to cook 'Sambal Bendeh' (Orkra Salad), commendable excellent acting by BIG Bibik and also the three little gorgeous and playful nyonyas for spicing up the webisodes. Eminently good storyline with a couple of hilarious 'whacking' and 'bashing' for mistakes committed by the ignorant little nyonyas.  Whoa! I love the sound effects and graphics which added more sugar and spice into the peranakan cooking especially the part where the whole house was shaking with the throbbing sound of a sledge-hammer to amplify the pounding of chillis and belacan. Sugar is a must in nyonya cooking and guess you may agree with me BIG Bibik's 'little' bit of sugar weighs almost a 'kilogram' [chuckle]. No wonder the Nyonyas are so sweet and lovely. Kudos and congratulations to the whole webisodes team.

Would be looking forward for more new arrival of the webisodes and if you are interested to catch up on the whole series and the recipes click on bookmarQC .

Check this out in my next post on making music from vegetables A-Z.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

ø PIANO STAIRS - TheFunTheory.com

The most easiest way to change people's behaviour for the better is by way of music thus making it fun to do and the best alternate way to keep fit and stay healthy. Just look at the sudden change of percentage of people hopping onto the "piano" instead of using the escalator. Let there be music, people just wanna have be fun. ~ Place: Odenplan, Stockholm

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


The Erhu (Chinese: 二胡; pinyin: èrhú), also called nanhu (南胡, "southern fiddle"), and sometimes known in the West as the "Chinese violin" or "Chinese two-string fiddle," is a two-stringed bowed musical instrument, introduced into China a thousand years ago.

Not debating on how the name came about as it is obvious (二, èr, two) refers to the two strings and some states that it comes from the second highest pitch. The second character (胡, hú) has a high possibility in relation to a member of the huqin family originated from a Mongolian tribe.  

The shape of erhu is like a drum like usually  hexagonal  and 13cm in length which is covered with python snake skin at the front and the back is left open. It function as a music box amplifying the vibrations of the strings. The same material of ebony or sandalwood is used for the drum and the neck measuring about 81cm with two tuning pegs at the end of the stem. There is no frets or touching board, the player creates different pitches by touching the strings at various positions along the neck of the instrument.

The bow is 81 cm long arched with horse hair in the same way as the bow of violin and runs between the two strings which were usually silk or nylon but nowadays metal is getting popular. In another word, one cannot take off the bow from the instrument unless one of the two strings is taken off or broken. Professional players were using purpose made D and A steel erhu strings as standard. The cost of a set of erhu ranges from U$144 - U$800.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


The Kalimba is a musical instrument invented in southern Africa some 3000 years ago. The name kalimba is a Bantu word which basically means "little music" and aka African thumb piano. Simply made from a wooden box and a few tines of flattened metal are plucked with the thumb or fingers, and the reed vibrations are amplified by a hollow box resonator or a sounding board.

An Englishman by the name of Hugh Tracey, fell in love with African music and was instrumental in setting up a company called African Musical Instruments (AMI). AMI was responsible for exporting the first kalimba commercially out of Africa in the late 1950s. Tracey founded the The International Library of African Music (ILAM) in 1954, and become its director. ILAM publishes the African Music Society Journal.

A few artists, including Earth, Wind & Fire, Jo Mango, King Crimson and Laura Barrett, have also incorporated the kalimba into Western pop music styles.

Need more information about Kalimba kindly click HERE or Wikipedia

Friday, October 9, 2009

ø SAREGAMA : Organic-Electronic World Fusion

SaReGaMa is a nick name picked by this composer who has an affinity to Indian classical music thus the name Sa, Re, Ga and Ma, the first 4 notes of Saptak or the series of seven notes in a musical scale. He created his music as a hobby which he truly enjoys the most and more than happy to give it away for free merely depending solely on donations. You are free to share, copy, distribute, transmit and remix his music but must adhere to his only condition that it must stay FREE and no profits should derived from it. 

He defined his music as Organic-Electronic World Fusion using piano, guitar, flutes, didgeridoo, percussions, kalimba and jew's harp which are mostly homemade. An ironical part of his musical preferences is he has all ears for almost every music except Pop, Rock and Trance and admitted being funny that he began with Electronic music making Trance. For me I love any kind of music as long as timing and mood is in congruence.

Music stimulates the mind and can create wonders, this is good for relaxation and meditation. Click here for more elaborate instructions on listening to his kind of music.

Friday, October 2, 2009

ø Making Civic Noises

What the swiiiiiiiiisshhh is going on? What are all these strange and funny noises, have they gone insane? Nope! This is a rehearsal for a TV commercial done in 2006. A selected choir of 34 men and 26 women comprising of sopranos, mezzo sopranos/altos, tenors, baritones and basses doing a rehearsal in a Catholic primary school. Definitely I am not promoting this commercial but was merely fascinated and intrigued by their very own natural ability to produce such a great masterpiece. Credit goes to the conductor and composer Steve Sidwell and The Weiden+Kennedy London Creative Team.

The sound for the ad was recorded in a studio, with the filming of the choir in the multi story car park done for the visual effect. It is really amazing that all the sounds were made naturally by human body. It's a challenging task for Steve Sidwell to synchronize a large mixed voice choirs and calls for a perfect concerted timing of vocal effects, whistling, chest thumps, teeth taps, beat-boxing and more to mimic the sounds of the car's engine, tyres grinding on road, sweeping windscreen wipers, rain on the roof top etc with superb accuracy.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

ങ PIPA 琵琶

The Pipa (Chinese: 琵琶; pinyin: pípá) is a four-stringed Chinese instrument, belonging to the plucked category of instruments (弹拨乐器/彈撥樂器). Sometimes called the Chinese lute, the instrument has a pear-shaped wooden body with a varying number of frets ranging from 12–26. Although, like its smaller sibling, the Chinese liuqin, it may look like a lute, in fact, neither instruments have an actual neck, as the soundboard body spans the entire strings to the head of the instrument, making them actually a handheld zither. The pipa appeared in the Qin Dynasty and developed by the Han Dynasty. It is one of the most popular Chinese instruments and has been played for nearly two thousand years in China. Several related instruments in East and Southeast Asia are derived from the pipa; these include the Japanese biwa, the Vietnamese đàn tỳ bà, and the Korean bipa. The Korean instrument is the only one of the three that is no longer used. Attempts to revive the instrument have failed, although examples survive in museums.

The name "pípá" is made up of two Chinese syllables, "pí" (琵) and "pá" (琶). These are the two most common ways of playing this instrument. "Pí" is to push the fingers of the right hand from right to left, thus more than one finger can be used at a time striking multiple notes, and "pá" is to pull the thumb of the right hand from left to right, in the opposite direction. The strings were originally played using a large plectrum in the Tang Dynasty, then gradually replaced by the fingernails of the right hand. Since the revolutions in Chinese instrument making during the 20th century, the softer twisted silk strings of earlier times have been exchanged for nylon-wound steel strings, which are far too strong for human fingernails, so false nails are now used, constructed of plastic or tortoise-shell, and affixed to the fingertips with the player's choice of elastic tape.

A Tang Dynasty five-stringed pipa:
Prototypes of the pipa already existed in China in the Qin Dynasty (221 BC–206 BC). At that time, there were two types of pipa. One was straight-necked, with a round sound box constructed from lacquered Paulownia wood, and two faces mounted with leather. The other was believed to be inspired by the primitive forms of zheng, konghou, and zou. It also has a straight neck, a round sound box, and also four strings, along with twelve standards of notes. This model was later developed into the instrument known today as the ruan. The modern pipa is closer to the instrument which originated in Persia/Middle-East (where it was called barbat) and was introduced into China beginning in the late Jin Dynasty (265–420 A.D.).
By the Tang era, the pipa had become popular in the imperial court. It had a crooked neck, 4 or 5 silk strings, and 5 or 6 frets, and was played with a plectrum in a horizontal position. As the ages went by, the crooked neck was replaced by a straight one, the number of frets increased to between 14 or 16, and to 17, 24, 29, or 30 in the 20th century.

The pipa became a favourite in the Tang Dynasty, during which time Persian and Kuchan performers and teachers were in demand in the capital, Chang'an (which had a large Persian community). Many delicately carved pipas with beautiful inlaid patterns date from this period. Masses of pipa-playing Buddhist semi-deities are depicted in the wall paintings of the Mogao Caves near Dunhuang. [wikipedia]