Category Archives: musical instrument

Only Two Strings, But No Second Fiddle

Besides the harmonica, this quaint 2-string “Er Hu” was the earliest musical instrument that I encountered in my this earthly life.

Everyday, my only Chinese neighbour in my Butterworth kampong would do his routine solo in the late morning.  His pieces often sounded soulful and melancholy.  Unsurprisingly, sometimes he was asked to play at funerals.

In more modern times, this ancient two-stringer is riding on a wave of renaissance in the music scene, being placed in the same limelight as western instruments such as the guitar and the violin, and deployed in all genre of music, including rock.

China groups such as the 12-Girl Band have also endowed the Erhu with much needed glamour. 

My regret :   I never approached this neighbour to ask him to teach me how to play this instrument.

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Harmony — On A Wind and A Player

I wonder if the younger folks know what these are.   Harmonica – the wind instrument that was once very popular decades ago — my dad and my late uncle used to be quite good at playing these.

Some how, I have not heard anyone playing these for a long long time.  Perhaps the harmonious soothing notes that flow out from the vibrating metallic leaves inside do not go down well with successive generations of people who are more into cacophonic ear-jarring, nerve-wrecking noises of drums, guitars, synthesizers, keyboards.    Or perhaps I am from  Another Time, Another Place.

I regret not learning to play any musical instruments in my younger days,  having just bolts and nuts in my mind all that time.  Or perhaps my MQ (musical quotient) was simply zero.