Tuesday, April 19, 2011

More about Music at Banqiao

A while ago, in an earlier blog, I talked about our music teacher Ms Bi, who taught us during the three years in my Junior High School at Banqiao(see: http://anordinarychinese.blogspot.com/2010/08/other-teachers-at-banqiao.html). Recently, a classmate and I were trying to remember a piece of music we learned at Banqiao . Believe it or not, he had kept some hand-copied sheet music from our class! His name is George Chu(朱 浩), and his Chinese name was still on one of the music sheets. And, more amazingly, at least one sheet was printed in the first year we went to Banqiao. That was exactly sixty years ago. You probably wonder if he was majoring in music, and/or if he was a music professional, to have such an intensive interest in keeping these old prints. No, he was neither. But he is now seriously studying voice after his retirement from long years of service in a chemical company in the USA. This kind of situation was very common for our generation; you had to go into a field with jobs, not what you liked or loved.

Here is some of his sheet music. For the first two songs you should be able to recognize familiar tunes as they were written in western notation. The other two were by Chinese composers and they were written in Chinese short-hand notation, which was based on Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti and which was transcribed into 1-2-3-4-5-6-7. This is a very convenient method for singing the main tune, as the voice range has only three octets. You can always use a dot below for all the sounds in the lower octet, and a dot above to show the tunes one octet above.

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