A comparative study of the guitar and the Chinese lute-pipa : an overview of their origins, construction, and techniques

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Lo, Wen-Tzu
McAllister, Peter A.
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Thesis (D.A.)
School of Music
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This dissertation is a comparative study of the classical guitar and the Pipa. One of the most popular plucked string instruments in the Western Hemisphere is the guitar and in the East, the Chinese pipa. The guitar and the pipa are the distant relatives and both share many commonalities in their history, technique, and construction. The purpose of this study is to illustrate the origins of the instruments, to show the similarities and dissimilarities of construction, and to compare the techniques used for both instruments.The study consists of six chapters. Chapter I presents introductory information as well as the purpose, significance, procedures, and delimitation of the study. Chapter II, a review of related literature, provides a brief description and evaluation of important sources utilized. Chapter III presents a brief history of the classical guitar and the Chinese pipa. Chapter IV provides an overview of the construction in which related to tone production itself of the guitar and the pipa. Chapter V gives a thorough discussion of the techniques used in both instruments. This chapter is further subdivided into four sections: Tone production, Right hand technique, Left hand technique, and "Special" techniques with regard to the use of timbre.By making comparisons between the guitar and the pipa, composers, performers, and luthiers would benefit. By learning the musical possibilities of each instrument, composers could expand the repertoire of each by borrowing their respective musical characteristics. Performers could improve both their techniques as well as add techniques to enhance their own musicality. Finally, luthiers would be able to experiment with their methods of building and perhaps produce higher quality instruments. The author hopes that the findings of this study, therefore, will not only add to musical knowledge in a global society, but also encourage further study.