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Jiu Kuang (Wine Mad)

Yao Bingyan
Charged with symbolism, the guqin holds an almost sacred status in Chinese musical philosophy. "Jiu Kuang" (Wine Mad) disappeared from the orally transmitted repertory but was brilliantly reconstituted from a 15th-century handbook by one of the most eminent contemporary masters, the late Yao Bingyan (1920-1983) of Shanghai. Yao's interpretation features triple rhythm, which is otherwise unknown in guqin music. Here, this rhythm expresses a drunk’s lurching. At the end of the piece, an ascending glissando humorously represents the sound of vomiting. (During, Levin 2001)