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LINER NOTES: BLURRING BOUNDARIES - ERHU EXCURSIONS


Blurring Boundaries - Erhu Excursions
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1.     Uninhibited

Yang Ying ( Wensar Records)

Inspired by native Mongolian music and Xian drum styles. Also includes American jazz, rock, and funk influences. Written in 10/8 and 11/8 time signatures.

Yang Ying-erhu
Neal Robinson-keyboards
Chad Dunn-percussion
Jeff Magby-drums
Chin-Fei Chan-flute
Josh Walden-bass guitar

2.     Confiding in a Friend

Yang Ying ( Wensar Records)

This song incorporates two distinct styles of Chinese music-odd meters common in Xinjiang music in northwest China, and the smooth "silk and bamboo" music from Jiangnan (Yangtze river delta), with Western jazz influences.

Improvisation is a very important aspect in much of the folk music of China. When writing this song I improvised the melody and, so that western musicians may accompany me, I then went back and calculated the cord changes and meter. It begins a bluer minor key, and then switches to a more upbeat major key.

The song naturally adopted a combination of 7/4 and 6/4 meters. The odd meter may at first feel unusual to some, especially since almost all Western "pop" music is in 4/4 time.

Yang Ying-erhu
Matt Stewart- bouzouki
Jeff Magby-drums
Chad Dunn-percussion
Chin-Fei Chan-flute
Josh Walden-bass guitar
Neal Robinson- Keyboards

3.     'Round Midnight

Thelonius Monk, Cootie Williams,Bernie Hanighen (ASCAP)
Tom Paynter (arr)


Classical American jazz that I felt was especially beautiful played on the erhu.

Yang Ying-erhu
Tom Paynter-piano
Jeff Magby-drums
Ben Taylor -upright bass

4.     Sai Ma (Horse Race)

Huang Hai Huai
Yang Ying (arr) Wensar Records


A traditional, signature piece for the erhu, inspired by the Mongolian peoples' love of horsemanship.

Yang Ying-erhu
Matt Stewart-acoustic guitar; bouzouki
Jeff Magby-percussion
Chin-Fei Chan-flute

5.     Jiang He Shui (Rivers of Tears)

Huang Hai Huai

This was a traditional folk song from northeast China. Yang Ying won first place in a national erhu competition in 1986 with this piece.

6.     Funky Chinese Jig

Yang Ying ( Wensar Records)

An upbeat dance sang, characteristic of the musical flavor of the Miao tribe of southwestern China-with a combination of western funk and Nashville guitar. The Miao are a colorful people who enjoy singing and dancing. Thanks to Nancy Reed for the title.

Yang Ying-erhu
Matt Stewart-electric guitar
Jeff Magby-drums
Chad Dunn-percussion
Chin-Fei Chan-flute
Josh Walden-bass guitar

7.     Han Gong Qiu Yue (Autumn Moon over the Han Palace)

Yang Ying (arr)

This is a very famous and ancient instrumental piece-the earliest known written score dates to the 1600s. It expresses the sadness of a maidservant's imprisoned life in the emperor's palace during the Han Dynasty (202 BC-AD 220). The melody of the music is narrow-confined to a specific range of notes. This is characteristic of the traditional way to play the erhu-the hand is held in one position on the neck of the instrument. The style also typifies the life experience of women at that feudal time, which was also limited to a defined, narrow function.

Inflection is extremely important in both Chinese language and music. Great emphasis is therefore given to the proper articulation and inflection of each musical tone, as opposed to technical expertise or speed. The intention of traditional Chinese music was not to amuse, but rather as an expression of feelings and as a sort of "purification" of one's thoughts. It is the subtle changes in tone color that is prized for expressing the emotion of the music.

Yang Ying-erhu
Chin-Fei Chan-flute
Tom Paynter-melodica, gong
Tsai-yun Huang-pipa

8.     Sanmen Gorge Cappriccio

Liu Wen Jin

A famous traditional piece. Liu Wen Jin is well known for including influences from western classical works and violin techniques in his compositions for the erhu. This piece was especially influenced by classical Russian music.

Yang Ying-erhu
Chin-Fei Chan-piano.

They teach you there's

a boundary line to music. But, man, there's no boundary line to art.

--Charlie Parker



Main Entry: ex·cur·sion

Pronunciation: ik-'sk&r-zh&n

Function: noun

Etymology: Latin excursion-, excursio, from excurrere

1 a : a going out or forth : EXPEDITION b (1) : a usually brief pleasure trip

2 : deviation from a direct, definite, or proper course.





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