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来源:中国民乐国际网信息采集中心作者:中国民乐国际网信息采集中心发表时间:2013-11-29 11:21:15

  笙是古人把封有簧片的笙管插于“匏”(葫芦的一种)而构成的一种乐器,故笙在“八音”分类中属“匏”。笙簧是笙管发音的实际部位,手指按住音管根部的小孔,使笙管中空气柱形成有效长度,其固有频率就同簧片的固有频率产生耦合振动而发音,属于自由簧气鸣乐器。
  “笙”与“生”同韵,故古人认为:笙象征万物贯地而生。据古书记载,笙有大小两种:大笙称为“巢”;小笙称为“和”。它能协调其他乐器的音色。古代笙的各部位都有自己的专门名称:笙斗称“悬匏”;笙斗上的吹嘴称“咮”‘ 笙和国的最长一根管称“修挝”,“中挝”或“上筩”;笙管背后的出音窗称“内开穴”;插入笙斗的那段笙管称“插脚”。假如笙管用玉制作,文人们称之为“鹅管”。
  目前所知笙的最早实物的曾侯乙墓出土的笙,距今已2400多年。南北朝至隋唐时期,笙在宫廷音乐中一直占有重要地位。到明代和清代,除用于宫廷外,还广泛用于民间器乐合奏和戏曲、说唱的伴奏。现今的笙有圆斗、方斗等形制,音位排列也不尽相同。日本奈良正仓院藏有我国唐代传去的17管笙。
  笙属和声乐器。明清至现代民间使用的笙多为17管,新中国成立后,中国的乐器制造者和音乐工作者,对笙进行了不断的改革,将笙已发展到21-37管,并装置了键和金属共鸣筒,音乐更为明亮、和谐,且又先后试制出扩音笙、加键笙等多种新品种,克服了音域不宽、不能转调和快速演奏不便等缺点,给笙带来了新的生命力。
  笙的音色明亮甜美,高音清脆透明,中音柔和丰满,低音浑厚低沉,音量较大。而且在中国传统吹管乐器中,也是唯一能够吹出和声的乐器。在和其它乐器合奏的时候,能起到调和乐队音色、丰富乐队音响的作用。在大型的民族管弦乐队里,笙有时还要用到高音、中音和低音三种笙。

  The Chinese sheng is a mouth-blown free reed instrument consisting of vertical pipes.
  It is one of the oldest Chinese instruments, with images depicting its kind dating back to 1100 BC,[1] and there are actual instruments from the Han era that have been preserved today.Traditionally, the sheng has been used as an accompanimentinstrument for solo suona or dizi performances. It is one of the main instruments in kunqu and some other forms of Chinese opera. Traditional small ensembles also make use of the sheng, such as the wind and percussion ensembles in northern China. In the modern large Chinese orchestra, it is used for both melody and accompaniment
  The sheng has been used in the works of a few non-Chinese composers, including Lou Harrison, Tim Risher, Daniel Bjarnason, Brad Catler, and Christopher Adler. Some believe that Johann Wilde and Pere Amiot traveled to China and brought the first shengs to Europe in 1740 and 1777 respectively, although there is evidence that free reed musical instruments similar to shengs were known in Europe a century earlier.
  Chinese free-reed wind instruments named he and yu were first mentioned in bone oracle writings dating from the 14th–12th centuries BC, and were identified in later texts as types of sheng. The first appearance of the word "sheng" is in some of the poems of Shijing (Book of Odes), dating back c. 7th century BC. Ancient instruments with gourd wind chambers, varying numbers of pipes, with bamboo or metal reeds have been discovered in archaeological finds at the tomb of the Marquis Yi of Zeng (c. 433 BC) in present-day Hubei province, and the Han tombs at Mawangdui (c. 2nd century BC) in Hunan province.
  In the eighth century, three yu and three sheng were sent to the Japanese court and these have been preserved in the Shōsōinimperial repository in Nara. All the instruments had 17 pipes with a long curving mouthpiece and are very similar to the traditional sheng in use today. However variants with different numbers of pipes, and chromatic instruments have been documented over the centuries.
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