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What is the zou instrument that is described as an ancient Chinese string instrument? Shouldn't it be zhu? Badagnani 08:04, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Maybe that editor isn't working anymore. In any case, I never heard of a zou. Badagnani 01:43, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

  • Unless we know the Chinese character for it, it will be impossible to search for it. Charlie Huang -- 15:20, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
    • I think it should be 筑 (zhu).--Tong 18:27, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

User templates for the pipa[edit]


Does anybody know the modern Pipa is tuned (high to low)?

  • It's usually tuned (low to high): A-D-E-A. The lowest two strings are tuned the same as the guitar's A and D strings. Badagnani 23:12, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

I'd guessed A3, D4, E4, A4, but you say the first two are A2, D3. Can you be more specific about which octaves the other two strings are in, please, or point us to a source? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:02, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Full name[edit]

Dear LDHan, in regard to the use of the name of the pipa player Li, the English-language convention is, if referring to the same person in the same paragraph, to use the surname/family name in subsequent instances only if the full name was given earlier (if, of course, this is the only person with this family name mentioned in the paragraph, which I think he is). Do you still object to calling him just by "Li" the second time? It really is the normal way of writing this. Badagnani 01:37, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

Hi! Thanks for your comments. I thought I was just being consistant, "Sun Yude" is used twice (in the same paragraph, separate sentences), Li Tingsong is "Li Tingsong" then "Li". LDHan 02:31, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

I didn't notice that. I'd recommend going with "Sun Yude" then "Sun," and "Li Tingsong," then "Li." Badagnani 02:52, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

Tang Dynasty pipa[edit]

The Tang Dynasty pipa photos are f-ing great. Where are those instruments kept and are those the original paintings? Badagnani 20:53, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

  • It's currently in Japan. It was imported to Japan as a present from the Tang court. It is one of a few Tang pipas that have survived to this day. --Charlie Huang 【正矗昊】 01:44, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
  • To be specific, they are in the Shosoin Imperial Museum in Nara, Japan. A t'ang dynasty 7-string Qin is also (very well) preserved there. Amazing to think they're more than 1000 years old. --—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)


The types of wood that are used should be mentioned. Badagnani (talk) 22:50, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Deletion discussion[edit]

See Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Qiu Xia He. Badagnani (talk) 04:57, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Pudong School[edit]

As one of Lin Shicheng's students, Liu Guilian should be marked as the best one, not Wu Man.

They are all very fine. Wu is not mentioned as the best, but the one best known around the world. Badagnani (talk) 23:15, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Liu Dehai[edit]

Need more info of Liu Dehai. He is a pioneer of the pipa music, and he gives the pipa a new definition. Liu Dehai's new techs influence the whole new generation of pipa players. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:09, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Tang Liangxing[edit]

Should mention about Tang more. Back to 50s, there was an expression "Tang from the south and Liu (Liu Dehai) from the south. And Tang actually was the first one to bring the pipa music to the US. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:12, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Why don't you begin an article on him? This article already contains too much text on individual musicians, much of which should probably be on their own articles. Badagnani (talk) 23:14, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Pinghu School 平湖派[edit]

The Pinghu School is missing. It is the major school too! Fan Boyan 樊伯炎 should be mentioned about. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:19, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Please feel free to add information about it. Badagnani (talk) 23:21, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

pipa is difficult[edit]

Anyway, pipa is not easy to edit. It has a too long history and so many schools. The pipa players didn't get along with each other since then. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:22, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

See Guqin for an example of an article about a Chinese instrument that is very detailed. There are other guqin-related articles about musicians and qin compositions, as well, so the pipa article could be done in a similar way. Please sign your discussion page posts with four tildes. Badagnani (talk) 23:25, 24 April 2008 (UTC)


Thanks for the reference. By the way, the 12 girls band doesn't fit right here, should be moved to Chinese pop. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:45, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

The group doesn't use the pipa any more prominently than the other Chinese instruments they use, and thus I'm not sure it's worthy of mention at all, because hundreds of Chinese ensembles and orchestras use the pipa. Badagnani (talk) 00:09, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

12 girls band[edit]

Yeah, agree. This band should be moved to Chinese pop music section. Please don't put it here. Thanks! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:15, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Cheng Yu[edit]

It is not necessary to edit Cheng Yu to another paragraph. People can find out from her website. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:16, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Please sign all discussion page posts with four tildes. The revival of the five-string pipa is important enough to mention. Badagnani (talk) 01:43, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Pipa Page Suggestions.[edit]

I would like to make a few suggestions that I hope everyone can agree upon. I think that it is a good idea for people to not use our pipa section as a personal promotional site. I would like to add that it is extremely important to not criticize other peoples accomplishments. Saying you are the "best" is a completely subjective thing. There are a number of talented pipa-ists in the world that can claim to be the "best". There just isn't one person. If someone would like to post a bio then I think that, that is best posted on a personal wiki page and not in the general pipa section. Thank you all for your cooperation. I hope we all continue to work really well in building up our pipa section into something we all can be proud of. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Swhkpldt (talkcontribs) 01:40, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

Please sign all discussion page posts with four tildes. The article certainly does not describe any pipa player as the "best," although it describes, accurately, Wu Man as the best known pipa player in the West. It should probably be added that she performed with the Silk Road Project, commissioned and premiered many new works including the concerto by Lou Harrison, etc. Badagnani (talk) 01:42, 27 April 2008 (UTC)
The supposition that Wu Man is the best known pipa -ist in the west, is clearly debatable. I can think of quite a few right off the top of my head that can be thought of as the best known. Liu Fang and Min Xiao Fen, Zhou Yi and Yang Wei (he works with Silk Road as well) all can be put at the top of the list, not just Wu Man. Tang Liang Xing alone can be thought of as best known simply because he was the first to bring pipa music to western audiences. I sense a Wu Man bias on this pipa site and I do not think it is fair nor accurate. I think it is completely appropriate to leave the personal promotion to the personal wiki page of each musician. It does not belong here on the general pipa page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Swhkpldt (talkcontribs) 01:55, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

Please sign all discussion page posts with four tildes. Badagnani (talk) 01:59, 27 April 2008 (UTC)


Need types of woods used in the instrument's body and soundboard. Badagnani (talk) 22:28, 12 May 2008 (UTC)


Interwikis to pipa and biwa are mixed in a strange way and some articles are not connected to any of them in English, for example see ko:비파. Myabe one reason is that some articles contains both the instruments, see da:Biwa. --Gumruch (talk) 12:56, 22 August 2010 (UTC)

Further things to be done[edit]

I think I did all that I can with this page for now, but a few other things need to be done - a good description of the construction of the instrument (including illustrations), playing techniques, and clearer descriptions of the schools and their differences, so anyone who can contribute to these would be welcomed. There is some confusion in the historical section as to what is what (for example, different sources give different account of what han pipa and qin papa are, different dynasties are given for when some instruments were introduced, etc.), if anyone has the latest scholarly account of these instruments, then that would be very useful. Don't just use any website because they are often contradictory. A good source is important and it would be especially useful if it can give clear citations and reasoning for their assertions because some of the traditional sources are likely to be wrong (see for example the Book of Song 《宋書》 citation in the references, a number of assertions in that quote are highly dubious). Hzh (talk) 19:59, 20 November 2011 (UTC)


IS there a fixed tuning or are there different tunings for different pieces or schools? -- megA (talk) 21:06, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

I can't be certain, but I think for the main solo traditions they are tuned the same. Nanguan pipa is tuned differently I think. Hzh (talk) 18:11, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
If you know the pitches, could you add them to the article? -- megA (talk) 10:43, 9 December 2011 (UTC)
I added just the basic bit. There are other ways of tuning it, and sometimes people can tune it the way they like it. I don't want to add more because I don't really know about any other kinds of pipa. I think it needs someone who has a more comprehensive knowledge about the various pipas. So for that technical bits, unless I can find a good source, I'll leave it for the time being to others who are more sure. Hzh (talk) 20:04, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

Thank you. -- megA (talk) 11:04, 10 December 2011 (UTC)


Some of the people listed in modern era performers section does not appear to be particular notable, and a couple seem to have been added by the person themselves which would be against wiki rules. There should be some kind of criteria for inclusion, for example, having a good recording career or being a widely acknowledged or famous virtuoso. I have not heard of some of the people listed, that may be just my ignorance, but please check whether these people are suitable for listing on the page. I may be deleting some of the names later, and if you object to their deletion, please give a reason why they should be included. Hzh (talk) 14:41, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

About the early 枇杷 spelling[edit]

Well, 枇杷 still exists in Modern Chinese and means a loquat (Japanese medlar)! So now it would be interesting to know how the loquat came to the pipa. Anyhow, I don't assume the early Chinese instrument makers used loquat wood to make pipas. But maybe you guys know more about it... -andy (talk) 22:59, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

They are probably unrelated. The etymology of "pipa" is briefly discussed in the article and it appears to have no relation with the fruit loquat which appeared in ancient Chinese texts earlier than the pipa. Since pipa was also written as 批把, they probably simply used the nearest sounding word to pipa. They are folk etymologies trying to relate pipa to loquat (pipa looks like loquat or vice versa) but they are probably untrue. Hzh (talk) 00:34, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

Playing and performance description confusing[edit]

The article states: "The fingers normally strike the strings of pipa in the opposite direction to the way a guitar is usually played, i.e. the fingers flick from right to left from the player's perspective, while the thumb moves from left to right."

This makes no sense. Presumably the "fingers" being refered to are those of the right hand. In guitar playing the right hand fingers do NOT move either "left to right" or "right to left" -- the fingers move from bottom to top (or from down to up) and the thumb moves from top to bottom (or from up to down).

As written, the article implies that the pipa is NOT held in a position similar to the guitar, but is held with the neck pointing up. Is this true? If so, an illustration of a pipa being played would be helpful. But if this is the case it is NOT being played "in the opposite direction to the way a guitar is usually played", but at *right angles* to the way a guitar is usually played.

In any case, this section needs to be clarified.

The "right to left" direction obviously refers to pipa when played upright. The finger movement is in an opposite direction to how the guitar is plucked when we look at the fingers in relation to the music instrument or the strings - in guitar the fingers and thumb pluck inwards, in pipa the fingers and thumb flick outward (this is the normal finger plucking technique, you can of course pluck both the pipa and guitar in either directions depending on the playing technique used). I can see it being confusing to people, and will amend the text later when I think of the right way to phrase this. Hzh (talk) 13:19, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Pipa/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

The "pipa" shown as being Tang dynasty is actually a Japanese "biwa". Check the Wiki article on the biwa. It is well documented. See " A History of the Lute, from Antiquity to the Renaissance" by Douglas Alton Smith, 2001.

Last edited at 00:01, 16 October 2007 (UTC). Substituted at 03:04, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

The sound of the word "pipa" in Chinese[edit]

Isn't the sound of the word "pipa" in Chinese "pípá"? Why the pinyin in the article is pronounced "pípa"? S099001 (talk) 10:18, 17 November 2017 (UTC)

There are two pronunciations of pipa - "pípá" and "pípa" (you can check by listening to how Chinese people speak, and some people use both), I think it used to be given as "pípá", but someone changed it (which conflicts with the IPA pronunciation given). Both IPA pronunciations are still given in the Chinese language box, may be we can consider deleting it in the opening sentence as it may be unnecessary confusion. Hzh (talk) 11:29, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
Deleted in the opening sentence, added both to the language box. It may be useful if someone can add a sound clip. Hzh (talk) 14:46, 17 November 2017 (UTC)