[NetBehaviour] ~~wards, qin improvisation

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Tue Oct 13 16:23:27 CEST 2020

~~wards, qin improvisation

http://www.alansondheim.org/wards.jpg qin
http://www.alansondheim.org/wards.mp3 sound

I hadn't played the quqin for several months; one has to come to
it, I think, at least for me, in the proper state of mind. This
is the older of my two instruments, some centuries old, unsigned,
originally designed for silk strings. I keep the metal strings
tuned low. I try I want (not I desire) to keep to its nature as
well. I love this improvisation. There's a slight ringing on one
of the harmonics due to the nature of the glass table I use for
the qin. The table was originally for packages and down in the
lobby of the building we live in. It was being thrown out, and
we had another rescue. It's the perfect length. We found an old
chair from around 1850 maybe that's the perfect height. Stephen
Dydo brought the qin to life. Originally, I asked the luthier
Candelario Delgado to make a tuning apparatus which was
non-traditional but worked for a long time. Dydo restored the
original, including adding two legs which had disappeared a
long time ago, before I had it. As I've written before, I found
the instrument in New Hampshire at an antique shop for eighteen
dollars. When I left the proprietor asked what I wanted that old
board for. I improvise only on it; I don't read qin notation. I
listen a lot to qin music, I've know qin players, including Fred
Lieberman, who was partly responsible, I think, for introducing
the instrument to the United States. He told me I'd never learn
to play it. Stephen Dydo has been amazingly generous and helpful
and I've learned to play it. I have to add, not all the way up
the scale, and my right hand fingers don't hold the traditional
postures. I have to also add I've had it for half a century and
we accommodate each other. The improvisation is called 'wards'
because it's inwards, outwards, upwards, downwards, forwards,
backwards, but mainly in wards. Any relationship to asylum wards
is coincidental, hopefully, enjoy. The Album Stephen and I did
together for ESP, Dragon and Phoenix, issued by ESP-Disk, is
available online. It's described and can be purchased at
http://www.espdisk.com/5019.html . Thank you!


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