The Pipa

I’m taking a break from serious topics like politics and economics to write about the Chinese pipa, a four stringed lute (or Chinese guitar) with a pear-shaped body. Historical records show that the pipa first appeared during the Qin Dynasty (222 – 206 BCE), and it become one of the most popular stringed instruments in China and has survived more than two-thousand years.


Traditional Chinese music has been traced back 7,000 to 8,000 years. For centuries this music was heard primarily by the royalty and high government officials. By the Tang Dynasty, records show that this music had spread to the common people.

Traditional Chinese musical instruments can be divided into four categories: stringed instruments, percussion instruments, plucked instruments, and wind instruments.

If you enjoyed this, discover the The Erhu


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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