Se: what is it, instrument structure, scale, history

Se: what is it, instrument structure, scale, history

The ancient Chinese chordophone is over 3000 years old. Se was important in the history of ancient musical culture, it was even placed in tombs along with noble representatives of the imperial families, as evidenced by the surviving specimens found by archaeologists during excavations in the provinces of Hubei and Hunan.

Outwardly, the stringed instrument resembles a zither, but its dimensions are much larger. The wooden body of the se could reach a length of 160 centimeters. Strings were stretched over the upper deck, which the performer touched with a pinch during the Play. They were made from silk thread of different thicknesses. Played with both hands.

Se: what is it, instrument structure, scale, history

The scale of the musical instrument corresponded to the five-ton Chinese scale. All the strings were separated from each other by a whole tone, and only the second and third had a divergence of a minor third. The smallest se had 16 strings, large specimens – up to 50.

Today, few people in China can play this sweet-voiced instrument. Usually it sounded solo or could serve as an accompaniment for spiritual chants. Russian researchers described the Chinese zither, calling it she or khe, comparing it with the gusli. Learning to play the Se has been lost. Ancient finds, reconstructed from ancient chronicles, are kept in Chinese museums.

【Zen Music】Fang Jinlong 方錦龍 (Se 瑟) X 喬月 (Guqin) | Flowing Waters 流水

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