The Yangqin

The yangqin, the Chinese Hammered Dulcimer, probably did not originate in China. It came from either Europe or Persia about five centuries ago and was adapted to fit Chinese music.

One theory says that the yangqin came to Chinese on the Silk Road. A second theory says it arrived in China with Portuguese traders in the 1500s.  A third theory says the instrument was developed in China without foreign influence from an ancient stringed instrument called a Zhu.

However, it is a young instrument by Chinese standards, and was first heard during the Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644).  Later, it was commonly used in Chinese Operas. In Modern China, the yangqin is a major discipline in the College of Music.

A Yangqin or Chinese Hammered Dulcimer

The yangqin has over 100 strings that are struck with thin bamboo sticks that have rubber tips on one end.  When struck with the rubber end, a soft sound is heard.  When the strings are struck with the other end of the stick, without the rubber tip, a crisper sound is heard.

Around the world, there are many versions of the hammered dulcimer all designed and played in a similar fashion, but each country has its own distinct sound influenced by culture.   

If you enjoyed learning about and listening to the yangqin, see The Pipa

_________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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32 Responses to The Yangqin

  1. NN says:

    Now I found them. Hittites 1700 BC Stop at 8:35

    No written history ? Oh lord.

  2. NN says:

    Take a look at this Lloyd. They must be the forefathers to the Phoenicians. Pelasgians, ancient people, the ancestors of all (white?) Indo-European people. We mustn’t forget Armenia in the Turkish area.


    Stop at 4:19

    I don’t know, I find this very messy. But it’s clear that before Christ there was earth religions as wiccan and druidism, polytheism, animism and paganism. Who knows how far back in time.

    Astrology got important to the farmers. When did the Chinese people start with farming ?

  3. NN says:

    “But who spread that influence?”

    It might have been the Vikings. They have its own tale/history which I don’t know so much about. They sailed all over the world. Maybe they got buffalo skin from America, sealskin from the Eskimor/Inuits and plundered Europe and the middle East ? The Kola Peninsula in North Russia was their sailing road down to Europe with the skins from America and North… We Finns lived among them, but was not the same people.

    Vikings knew about America as well as India before Columbus. Eastern Canada and New York was their new discoveries during their settlements in Greenland and Island.
    Some North American Indian told that about 1.000 BC a man of peace came and spoke to them. I have no clue who it might have been.

    The Vikings homeland was in Greenland, Island, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and maybe some parts of northern Europe among the Slavs in Europe and Russia who looked something like this, among who we lived as well:

    If you look at this facts you need to be aware of that Norway, Sweden and Finland at that time still was the same country or under the same rulers in Scandinavia. I think they had todays St:Petersburg or Novgorod as a important market center in todays Russia.

    The Slavs have got lot of criticism in folklores as well as in modern times. They are often seen as trolls and peace of scum. They lived in the same area that Hitler had as the border to mark west and east. Nazis also used the Thor’s (Vikings thunder god) Hammer as a symbol of power. I the ancient times it was written as the swastika in Nazi Germany.

    Some say that some of the Phoenicians or Canaanites fled by sailing to England. We can sometimes joke that the Swedes are the northern niggers 😛 It can also be that they learned the Vikings to build boats and sail. I don’t know.

    You might find some answers among the Slavs and Vikings in the Bronze age.

    I’ve also read something about the bull worshiping that came from Europe down to Egypt. They have found 12.000 year old temples in Goeblik Tepe in Turkey that shows pre-hieroglyphics, if it’s authentic so to speak. It’s not that strange if people during the Ice ages found their ways to south while others stayed ? And later people came to north from south when the sea levels rose. Haha… down n up n west n east.

    Yes, they might have come up to Italy, France, Spain and Greece already at that time. It’s getting even messier. Hard to say who enriched who and with what.

    Still they try to claim that the first modern human in Europeans came from France. *LOL* Just to make it clear to everybody ?

    • Mediterranean Flood coincides with the great flood mentioned in the Bible and Noah’s Flood.

      What if the Pelasgians lived in that dry Mediterranean basin and had a few cities higher up in the mountains that surrounded that basin. When the great flood came and flooded the Mediterranean basin, which would explain how the Pelasgians civilization was destroyed and why only a few survived.

      If all of this took place six thousand years ago as Christians claim (they actually claim that God created everything in seven days), but it would be about 3,000 years before anyone wrote this story down.

      Imagine how a story becomes a myth and is exaggerated. Then someone writes it down with all the exaggerations and three thousand years later billions of people believe those myths as if they are fact.

      http://www.asa3.org/archive/asa/199604/0276.html

      As for the Pelasgians, there is compelling evidence that these people existed and may have been the survivors of the Great Flood we hear so much about in the Bible.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelasgians

      Then there is Pompeii. The oldest buildings unearthed in Pompeii date to the 6th century B.C. I have read that palaces in Pompeii had plumbing where pipes carried hot and cold water to the houses. If a city as advanced as this dates back to at least the 6th century B.C., it stands to reason that the methods of construction and the advances used in Pompeii came from an earlier time and/or people– maybe the Pelasgians or those who lived in the Mediterranean basin before it flooded and destroyed their civilization/s.

      http://mr_sedivy.tripod.com/pompeii.html

      • NN says:

        “If all of this took place six thousand years ago as Christians claim (they actually claim that God created everything in seven days), but it would be about 3,000 years before anyone wrote this story down.”

        The Bible is a Christian version of the Jews Torah they started writing already when they got out of Egypt. Torah doesn’t use the Julian calendar. Jews have their own dates. I know nothing about them. That might mess up a bit. But if they are the chosen ones they might be right *LOL*

        “Imagine how a story becomes a myth and is exaggerated. Then someone writes it down with all the exaggerations and three thousand years later billions of people believe those myths as if they are fact.”

        Yes, first I was an atheist, then a naive Christian and now free from all nonsense. I prefer to observe things, but I don’t longer tell even to my self that things are in a certain way until I get the whole picture and that wont happen ever 🙂 Ok, it can be good to have some things clear to one self just to know one owns opinion about things, but not more than that.

        Every culture has its own story of the creation and stories trough history. Non of them are more true or valuable than the other. We are all humans regardless if we believe in good or evil, worship wiccan or pray to Mary Magdalena. There is no right belief or right color of skin. But yet if there will be war I’m ready to defend MY FAMILY and MY PEOPLE no matter cost. So it is for everybody.

        But if man makes religion to politics it is this we get. War. That is what we have to stop by taking distance to it all and keep our faith to our selves. The missionaries time is over big time.

      • NN says:

        I saw your video clip now.

        I don’t agree. I think it takes lot more than 1.000 years, to get where we are today, from the time we painted in caves and hunted bulls. There is no way for the human brain to do all this withing 1.000 years.

        Who says that ? Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons or some other sect ?

      • I was thinking the same thing you thought. A thousand years and I also wondered who made that video. Besides, how do they explain the oracle bones in China that have been carbon dated to more than four thousand years ago.

        An interseting concept though–the fact that the victor writes the history so we probably don’t know all the truth.

      • NN says:

        I toke a quick look at the oracle bones. It seem to be one of the earliest Chinese letters. There is runic alphabets found so far back as 35.000 years ago. Some say they where magic letters and I agree (I’ll tell why). The Chinese have some similarities to the earliest in India as well in North. Same with some of the cave paintings, they have some symbols that are universal. This so the Shamans and other medicine men could easily communicate with each other, far back in time. The Spanish saw the scriptures of old Maya books and burned them claiming they where work of the devil. But without taking some examples for them selves ?

        No, they have all kind of information about yet then holy scriptures and signs they today them selves use to black magic. The human being are able to practice this way of communication on a different level. I won’t go in to explain the shamans consciousness, but they do use also a principle of invincible hierarchies, what it never was meant for. It was only knowledge for the ancient shamans to know, not to man. Man can not reach the skies with a dirty mind or if they do they get the higher sources laws against them selves. And now they try to prepare man to alien technology ? No, they only draw them selves in to that “burning hell” they preach about.

        Of course, this is dangerous for the people who do not know anything about these things. They may be ill and easily controlled and also believe it is alien powers taking control over them.

        That is the sin God will never forgive, that because it’s not possible to heal a wicked mind. If man goes nuts in it’s real meaning, if he can’t repent, healing is not going to take place. It’s just the law of nature.

        Baal was meant to protect us selves from falling in to that sin, but if they use Baal as God they are kinda raping the human mind to destroy it and make higher understanding impossible for so many as they can. Why ? To maintain their power.
        If the atheists rule when there is black magic used in secrecy the result will be what we have today – a catastrophe.
        The prophets we have had among us knew all this and have come here to warn about this. For them it was easy to read the priests and understand them and also destroy them, before they destroy human.

        But all right…

      • It sounds as if the spiritual beliefs before Judaism, Christianity and Islam were more spiritual than organized religion except for human sacrifice like the Mayans and Aztecs did to mollify their gods. Look at the Mayans. Evidence suggests the people got tired of the priests and just walked away collapsing an entire civilization in a short period.

      • NN says:

        Btw. I’ll focus on other things for now on so I will not be that active here or on the Internet at all. It has been nice to share some thoughts with you and I hope you got more and other visitors. I wish you good luck with your work and writing Lloyd.

      • Thank’s for the discussion, which added new topics. I just wrote a two part piece on silk that came from our conversation. That will post on Sept. 6, Calif. Time.

      • NN says:

        It’s good to hear.
        Have a nice time until next.

    • NN says:

      “It sounds as if the spiritual beliefs before Judaism, Christianity and Islam were more spiritual than organized religion except for human sacrifice like the Mayans and Aztecs did to mollify their gods.”

      ABSOLUTELY ! 🙂
      They where very wise people, they knew a lot about the spiritual world and had fantastic knowledge about healing and medicine.

      “Look at the Mayans. Evidence suggests the people got tired of the priests and just walked away collapsing an entire civilization in a short period.”

      Yes, something went wrong before they showed up. I don’t say that all Shaman priest warriors where perfect. I think the problem started when they teach it to their sons and daughters, regardless if their son (in some cultures also women could be shamans) was born with such abilities.

      Everybody is not natural born leaders. If they tech this knowledge anyway and the power gets in wrong hands evil cultures can appear and continue to exist, with that magical knowledge.

      That is what’s going on today. The knowledge came in hands to some elites and it’s not used as it’s meant. But when they practice it wrongly they will fail sooner or later. God does not share his power with wrongdoers. The evil don’t have the intellect that it needs to do good with it. Isn’t that fantastic !?

  4. NN says:

    “The Chiense were also into astronomy. I’m going to research that and see if there is a connection–even a hint of one. Thanks. Fascinating videos.”

    Our National epic toke place at the same time as the Shang Dynasty. The epic Kalevala is about a man (a smith) who created an magical object and that there where different groups fighting about it. The object could also represent the sword during this Bronze and Iron age. We also worshiped the tree in our pagan beliefs. The tree worshiping is spread all over during pagan times.

    http://www.veoh.com/collection/ntdtvjourneyeast/watch/v658439XKTN85RN

    There is also a movie called “Jade warrior”.
    http://www.veoh.com/browse/videos/category/entertainment/watch/v11624597EBE7D36

    It combines Finnish-Chinese mythology. But that is all fiction I think, something to watch just for fun perhaps. 🙂 I don’t remember what happened in it, just that it starts in todays Finland and goes back to ancient China.

    The clip you added didn’t work, but I agree that they do hide history of political reasons for many and has done that in all times.

    • Interesting, because I just finished researching and writing two posts about astronomy that will appear on Sept. 5, which dates discoveries of early astronomy as far back as the Shang Dynasty (1766 – 1122 B.C.).

      One discovery in China may be 6,000 years old.

      When we put the evidence of early Chinese and European astronomy together, it suggests that both cultures may have had influences on others.

      But who spread that influence?

      I have read before that evidence has been found in American Indian burial mounds in U.S. Southern States that Phoenicians (as far back as 7,000 years) may have been trading in the Americas far before Columbus or the European invasions that followed.

      Other evidence has the Phoenicians trading with civilizations in India.

      Since the Phoenicians left no written history, all we have are artifacts.

      If the Phoenicians reached the Americans and India as the evidence suggests, the Phoenicians may also have been trading with Chinese civilizations helping spread knowledge and ideas.

      “PHOENICIANS IN HISTORY There is no doubt the the Phoenicians were
      among the most interesting people in history. Because they left so few written
      records of their own achievements, their history has been pieced together from
      records of all the other nations with which they came in contact, either through
      trade or through battle.” Source: http://www.lost-civilizations.net/phoenicians-history.html

      If we study the map for the spice routes, we see the possibilities: http://asiapacificuniverse.com/pkm/spiceroutes.htm

      The Roman Empire destroyed Carthage and much of its history and the Jews slaughtered the Canaanites—both were Phoenicians: http://www.facingthechallenge.org/joshua6.php

      In fact, by 1700 B.C. the Minoan culture, also known as the ancient Crete Civilization, was pretty much destroyed by a volcanic eruption.

      One Minoan palace that archeologists have explored had hot and cold running water through pipes to faucets, and similar plumbing was discovered in Shang Dynasty palaces.

      The Phoenicians were known as the first great mariners and merchants of the ancient world, who adapted many of the cultural elements of the Egyptians. We first hear of these people as dwellers on the shores of the Persian Gulf.

      And later, they colonized the land of Canaan. Hence, calling them Canaanites.
      http://www.africawithin.com/black_history/overview_chapter8.htm

  5. NN says:

    “Then there were the Mongols under Genghis Khan that swept across Russia and reached Eastern Europe. I imagine some of the Mongols had families with local women and stayed behind.”

    Yes, Genghis Khan and his men is forefathers to many of the Eur-Asians during the 13th century.

    “I have a post coming up about collective cultures and during the research, I found a list that shows countries that are considered collective cultures as China. I believe Finland is on that list.”

    Yes, the Finns are from different places. Vikings came from south west, Lapps from north east, and a mixture of Turk/Mongolian tribes from Baltic and east (Russia). Finland have been directly influenced by the Sythians 1.000-600 BC and Genghis Khan the 13th century. The Huns, the Turkish tribes never came up north, but the Baltic people came here later.
    The only “real” Finns are not many left, but it is the Forest Finns who lives in northern Savolax. Also they migrated to Sweden many of them.

    But there was a settlement in Finland before all those came. Like the Comb Ceramic culture in 4.200 BC and not to mention those who lived here already 120.000 years ago in the Wolf Caves.

    • The Wolf Caves sounds interesting.

      • NN says:

        Yes, I have not yet read about it my self really. http://www.susiluola.fi/eng/index_eng.php

        I came to think of something more of importance perhaps. I was thinking of the magical object called “Sampo” in our National epic. Its description matches the Sky disc from the Bronze age that was found in Europe.

        Here is a old part of the epic Kalevala where they struggle to get Sampo back:

        Here you can see documentaries of the disc i suspect be the object named in the Kalevala story:

        All this might give it all little change in thinking.

        But what roll have the East had with it ?
        Do you have any clues ?
        Does Sampo mean anything in Chinese ?

      • The Chiense were also into astronomy. I’m going to research that and see if there is a connection–even a hint of one. Thanks. Fascinating videos.

      • Then I just ran into this–Has History Been Tampered With?

        Makes for thought.

  6. NN says:

    I’m having one of those bad days. I read too fast.

    “Was it all bad or was there some good?”

    I’m not sure of your question, but you might want to know more of us if you happen to recognize it in the Chinese culture ?

    • I have a post coming up about collective cultures and during the research, I found a list that shows countries that are considered collective cultures as China. I believe Finland is on that list.

  7. NN says:

    You can read about it here:
    http://uralica.com/kola.htm

    But as said. I don’t know the Asians connection to this if there ever was any at this time. The Slavs was of course among us Finns of Asian origin… Sorry, don’t know.

  8. NN says:

    “What about the other way around? Other races and cultures had an influence on China too. Was it all bad or was there some good?”

    Well, if they lived amongst each other they must have mixed cultures during thousands of ears time. I don’t know if they did any business. The tribes where mostly barbarian and lived by robbery.

    I know they had some roads from Kola Peninsula in northern Russia down to middle east and perhaps to Asia. But I’m not that aware of the connections between Scandinavia, Europe, Middle East – Asia. This must have been in the Bronze and Iron ages.

    • Then there were the Mongols under Genghis Khan that swept across Russia and reached Eastern Europe. I imagine some of the Mongols had families with local women and stayed behind.

  9. NN says:

    Also this dulcimer we have in (Finnish) culture since ages.

    I don’t know if this is a Chinese version of it:

    But it reminds very much of the Finnish example of the (Kantele) witch appears especially in combination with our National epics (Kalevala). It sounds like this, it’s btw. our epic song or one of those:

    My theory is that this instrument appeared when the Scythians (Altaic tribes) crossed the Russian steppes to Europe and Finland around 1.000-600 BC.

    A beautiful instrument with the right touch 😉

    • It would be interesting to know how much from the ancients made its way around the world into other cultures.

      • NN says:

        From Asia you mean ?

        Asians are all over Russia up to North, in Europe and up to Finland. They came with the Lapps, Inuits and Nenets forest hunters with the Northern tribes, Mongolian- (Genghis Khan), Altaic- (Scythians) and Turkic- (Hunnic) tribes between 1.000 BC – 1260 AD. How they found their way to west before or after that I do not know.

        Lot of culture have been mixed between west and east at that time already.

      • What about the other way around? Other races and cultures had an influence on China too. Was it all bad or was there some good?

      • NN says:

        Sorry, the Northern tribes came here far more earlier than the warriors.

        You can find Asians from ancient Japan (according to what I know) migrate to north in Altai/Mongolia. Then some of them went west in northern Russia with the Siberians, Enets, Nenets and so on, all the way to Finland.

        I have no idea of how long it took or when it started. I just know that 25% of the Finnish population (counted after WW1 and WW2 perhaps) has Mongolian origin far back in time.

        The Asians in Europe is mostly of Turkish origin after the Huns, mixed with some Asian during the Khan tribes in the Baltic area.

        But if you want to find something Asian related in west you almost have to focus on the area from Finland to Siberia, Hungary to Altai and Russia of course. Among there is lot of Turk-Tatars, but you will see the differences.

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