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Dan Tranh?

 
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Michael
Plywood


Joined: 17 Apr 2013
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:32 pm    Post subject: Dan Tranh? Reply with quote

Hi - I'm new to the forum and to the zheng. I received an old instrument as a gift a couple of days ago - a friend had one that had been in his family for a while, and offered it to me when he heard I was getting interested in the music.

The instrument has 16 steel strings, uncoated, with the 3 lowest pitched strings being wound with what looks like copper or bronze. None of the strings is color coded. The bridges on both sides are straight, i.e. no S-curve, and there is no tool-box. The tuning pegs are wooden, friction fit, with a wooden key that fits the heads. (Surprisingly, it holds its tuning very well!) The instrument is 137 cm long or so.

I suspect this instrument was made in Taiwan, and was a student-grade instrument. (My friend and his family are Taiwanese.) But even with very old strings on it, it sounds really nice, at least to me.

I found an old thread here, having to do with an instrument that was described a lot like mine, and some people said that it's much more similar to the Vietnamese Dan Tranh than to a modern Guzheng.

That leads to a bunch of newbie questions:

The strings, particularly the wound ones, seem pretty worn, and I'm thinking about replacements. What sort of strings should I be looking at if I want to come close to replicating the original character of the sound? (Or should I just forget about that, figuring that modern strings will sound better...) I guess the size is close to a modern travel zheng, though the number of strings is definitely different... should I be looking at a set of travel zheng strings, if such a thing exists?

This might not be the right forum to ask this, but is there a body of music available to learn on for the 16-stringed instrument? Would it be primarily Vietnamese music? I read somewhere on the web that the traditional Chinese zhengs were all 16-string, and that the 21 or more stringed versions were a relatively modern development. Is there a body of older music especially for the 16-string version available? As a lifelong mostly-hobby player of western instruments and music, I'm not wedded to any particular tradition when it comes to the zheng - I just want to learn to play the instrument and add it to some of my music.

Thanks in advance for any replies!

- Michael
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Michael
Plywood


Joined: 17 Apr 2013
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:25 pm    Post subject: found pictures that look a lot like my instrument... Reply with quote

On this thread: http://chinesezither.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=741&highlight=dan+tranh



Mine looks like the ones on the left, with the straight bridges, and two rows of wooden tuning pegs on the left. I'm thinking there must be music around for these... [/img]
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yukina
Site Admin


Joined: 05 Feb 2015
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Michael:

I believe you got a Taiwanese 16-steel-string. For string replacement, you can only get the steel-string. It comes in 21-string set nowadays. You only need the 1st 16 strings. Do not get the regular guzheng string, as they are wrapped with nylon and will be too thick for your guzheng.

Yes, you can play traditional Chinese music on it. Pieces like Winter Duck Playing on the Water or Water Lotus.....
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