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April 22, 2016

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The creation of masterpiece ‘Pingsha Luoyan’

“PINGSHA Luoyan” (《平沙落雁》) or “Wild Geese Descending on the Sandbank,” is one of the most popular guqin (an ancient seven-stringed Chinese instrument) pieces. With its description of emotions stirred by a natural scenery, it’s a quintessential guqin piece.

“Pingsha Luoyan” unfolds a beautiful autumn scene of a group of wild geese at the banks of Dongting Lake in central China’s Hunan Province.

First, the wild geese hover above the mist-covered lake. Then, some land on the banks and raise their heads, talking to their peers in the sky. Gradually, the others descended as dusk peacefully falls.

The earliest record of the piece was found in a collection of ancient scrolls called “Guyin Zhengzong” from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

It is not clear who composed the work, though legend attributes it to Zhu Quan, a prince of the Ming Dynasty.

Sensing the distrust of his brother, the emperor at the time, the prince dedicated himself to Taoism, music and literature after a political career had left him frustrated.

During a trip in Hunan, Zhu witnessed the scene of the wild geese flying high in the south around the serene Dongting Lake before slowly descending.

The prince drew parallels to his own life, as he now preferred seclusion and peace. He sat down to express his feelings with his guqin and finished the piece that day.

Though this legend is widely spread, it’s not the only one, Professor Liu Hong at Shanghai Conservatory of Music said.

“There are 1,000 Hamlets in 1,000 people’s eyes. That’s also true for music. Some audiences appreciate the poetic elegancy in the ‘Wild Geese Descending on the Sandbank,’ while others hear misery and depression. There is no particular correct answer. It all depends on the listeners’ own experience and mood,” Liu said.

Click the link below to enjoy the music.



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