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2008, r. 2014
  • for flute, guitar/lute, sixian, and string quartet
  • By:

1. LAHU nationality. The string quartet accompanies a Lahu sanxian (3 string plucked instrument).

2. BOUYI nationality vocal duet, variation I. A remarkable vocal style from Guizhou province, which neighbours Yunnan, the string quartet joining the two voices.

3. BAI nationality. A string quartet transcription of a very ‘jazzy’ performance on the Bai sanxian (3 string plucked instrument).

4. BOUYI nationality vocal duet, variation 2. Another perspective on what was heard in movement two.

5. LISU nationality. A transcription for string quartet and ukulele (or similar instrument) of a performance of a small Lisu plucked instrument called a qiben.

6. BOUYI nationality vocal duet, variation 3. Here the vocal lines are played by the viola and violin II, with additions from violin I and cello and a guitar.

7. NISU nationality. The string quartet accompanies the playing of a Nisu sixian (4 string plucked instrument).

8. HANI nationality instrumental and vocal ensemble. This extraordinarily rich music is a rice-planting song, with eight vocalists and instrumentalists playing a lahe (plucked instrument), and a flute. The string quartet provides an atmospheric swaying accompaniment.

9. NISU nationality. The string quartet provides a simultaneous ‘commentary’ to this Nisu ensemble of three singers, two players of plucked instruments and a Jew’s harp.


application/pdf,558k Score (558k) pages 1 from each movement© Jack Body


Programme Note

This collection of pieces are transcriptions and arrangements of instrumental and vocal music of some of the Chinese minority nationalities of Yunnan province in South-West China. Most movements are based on tracks from the collection of field recordings by Professor Zhang Xingrong of the Yunnan Fine Arts Institute. The recording of the duet by two Bouyi women however was given to me by musicologist Ya Wen, and originates from Guizhou province, rather than Yunnan.

Where possible the field recording is integrated into the performance, so that the string accompaniment becomes a ‘frame’, or provides a simultaneous ‘commentary’ on the original recording.

Performance History

24 May 2015 Performed by the New Zealand String Quartet (Helene Pohl, Douglas Beilman, GIllian Ansell, and Rolf Gjelsten) at the Jack Body Memorial Concert, at St Andrews on the Terrace, in Wellington.
Bouyi I only.


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