The Introduction of San-Xian

Taideyliopiston Sibelius-Akatemia
Kansanmusiikin aineryhmä


This artistic project is about san-xian, a Chinese three stringed instrument, and about music played on it.

San-xian consists of three parts: the drum, the neck and the head. Its tuning is usually G-d-g, but there are different kinds of local tunings.

The history of san-xian is long, maybe over 2000 years. To the Qin and Han dynasties (206 BC – 220 AD). According to archive records san-xian appeared around the year 1180. Both folk music and local operas were played on it.

San-xian is now played and taught in conservatories. It is used in national orchestra, ensemble and chamber music, especially within the western orchestra.

The artistic part of the project consists of a CD recording (Olarin Musiikki / Sibelius-Akatemian kansanmusiikin osaston äänitteitä 8). It is mainly traditional Chinese music with two contemporary compositions. The arrangements are mainly by different san-xian masters. The final three compositions explore the possibilities of the combination of san-xian and the grand piano.

Table of contents

1. Introduction
2. A historical review
3. San-xian today

Descriptions of the compositions