The story

Like most of my instruments, I found this Pipa on Facebook Marketplace ridiculously cheap, though it did require a trek across Melbourne to pick it up. It is a very attractive instrument that also plays really well – I especially love the dragon inlay in the headstock, which features prominently in the UI design. The playing technique is quite different from other string instruments and I have really enjoyed learning and practising it – and now turning it into a virtual instrument for the world to enjoy!

The Pipa is a traditional Chinese instrument, sometimes called a Chinese lute. The name comes from the playing style of alternating forward and backward plucking strokes. It’s normally tuned ADEA from low to high, but I have extended the bass range down to a D on this virtual version.

Extended technique and sounds are also a big part of virtuoso Pipa playing – unfortunately I am not a virtuoso pipa player, so the instrument is limited to basic plucks and some rather loose tremolos. However, I have also included a percussion patch (‘Pipacussion’) with sounds made from various
instrument body percussion and muted string plucks, which may be used to imitate some of the extended technique playing. This patch also includes around an octave of strummed chords at various velocities – a 5 chord (no third) on the lower key range, and a major chord on the middle keys, with the percussive sounds on the highest keys.

Reviews for Pipa

Leave a review to let others know what you thought of the instrument!

  • Magnifique

    Un vrai plaisir à jouer, merci beaucoup pour cette performance et cet réalisation. J'aime beaucoup les différentes façons de jouer de l'instrument en mélodie ou streaming.

    Davis24 June 2023