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Zhongruan is a member of “ruan”(阮) family. Zhong means middle (size). There are Daruan (big ruan) ,Zhongruan, Xiaoruan (small ruan) and Gaoyin ruan ( high -pitch-ruan) in ruan family.

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Liuqin and Zhongruan are brother and sister because they have the same tuning of their strings ,namly G D G’ D’. And they are both played with a pick.

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Zhongruan’s sound is said to be like guitar’s but I think the sound of Zhongruan is more smooth and is deeper.

Zhongruan is more popular than Liuqin. It is a solo instrument and it plays an important role in the Chinese Orchestra as a bass.

Zhongruan is a traditional instrument but nowadays performers try to play different music with it, like tango.

Let’s watch some videos to know more about it.

Zhongruan concerto

Zhongruan duet

This is Liuqin柳琴, a plucked string instrument.

Some people called it the Chinese Mandolin.

It’s my second musical instrument, I have played it for about  6 years.

Liuqin has 4 strings ,from left to right,namely, (1) D2 string , (2) G1 string , (3) D1 string and  (4) G string.

We play Liuqin with a pick. Some may use a guitar pick but actually, a professional “Liuqin-pick” is more preferred.

Liuqin is the highest-pitched  instrument in the Chinese Orchestra, therefore it always takes the responsibility to play melodies.

Liuqin was first appeared in Tang  Dynasty, it had only 3 strings in that time and could only sound a very limited range.

Liuqin had been used for accompaniment  for a long long time until it was reformed to a 4 strings and 4 octaves modernized instrument in 1970s.

The producer(master)’s name is craved on the rear.

This kinds of Liuqin are usually more expensive because they are not mass produced.

I’m playing  Liuqin in a performance of  Chinese Orchestra .

You are right, I was crossing my legs….BUT

it’s not because I’m lazy !

Actually, this is a normal and appropriate gesture for a Liuqin player.

The reason is that Liuqin is too small,

when we’re playing it, we may need to bend down  if  we don’t cross our legs.

Liuqin  is very lonely in Chinese Orchestra because normally they only need one or two Liuqins. 😦

Liuqin is now a popular solo instrument, the sound of it is very clear ,  expressive and impressive.

Yes, you desire to hear its sound? here are some Youtube videos:

張鑫華 is a famous Liuqin player in mainland China

If once you think that Liuqin can only play Chinese traditional  music

You must be surprised when you hear this

I believe that Liuqin should have some relations with mandolin. Is there anyone plays mandolin? Let me know if you don’t mind.