Jianpu is a numbered musical notation system. It is a widely used system among the Chinese people. Sometime is called the numeric notation or numerical notation system. It is also known as Ziffersystem, meaning “number system.”
Here is a web link that provides a better explanation and information about Jianpu number music notation. This website is a very good resource to understand how Chinese musics are written.
Wikipedia – Jianpu
Here Is An Example Of Jianpu With Some Erhu Symbols:
Here is a Good Studying Material for Understanding the Fundamentals of Music Notation in PDF Format.
Wikipedia – Gongche Notation
Here is a Web Link for the History & Evolution of Music Notation:
Here is a brief explanation of Erhu music reading. Most Erhu music is in 4/4 time (4 beats in a measure, quarter note is one beat). In Erhu, the key you are in is crucial. In the key of D, 1 = D 2= E etc. ex. In key of G 1=G etc. For rhythm, one number all alone is one beat. so 1 2 3 4 is four beats. 1 – is two beats 1 – - is three beats etc. A rest is marked as 0, and the rule for the rest length applies here. For notes less than a quarter, the standard line above as in normal music represents an eighth note. Two lines are sixteenth notes etc. For dotted notes 1. means one and a half and all others apply. The legato is normal as are all other notations. All the keys are major and all sharps apply. Refer to this website for better explanation in detail; Wikipedia – Jianpu
Jianpu, Chinese Numbered Musical Notation Explained in Western Note Terms:
The writing system is pretty straightforward. It’s like “do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti” in singing. The notes of the scale are written as numbers: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7. The octaves are designated by dots below or above the numbers, so a typical scale could be:
Quarter notes, eighth notes, etc. are designated with lines that are stolen from the western system. Here are examples:
- Chinese music notation usually are numbered notation called Jianpu. Usually,you’ll see a note says”1=C” or other letter on the top left corner of the music script. The number 1 means “Do” in western notation,so the note”1=C” means its in C major.
- The number 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, means “Do,Re,Me,Fa,So,La,Ti” respectively. While the dot below the number means one octave lower and the dot above the number means one octave higher. For example number 1 without any dotting in C major is middle C in western notation.
- Key signatures, barlines, and time signatures are also employed. Many symbols from Western standard notation, such as bar lines, time signatures, accidentals, tie and slur, and the expression markings are also used.
- The number of dashes following a numeral represents the number of crotchets (4th notes) by which the note extends. The number of underlines is analogous to the number of flags or beams on notes or rests in standard notation.
- In the present-day Jianpu system, the melody is notated alone or with chords. Harmonic and rhythmic elements are left to the discretion of the performers.
- Click on the web link for more resource on reading Jianpu. Reading Jianpu Numeric Notation
Brief Introduction on Modern Chinese Orchestra:
Click on these Web Links for better understanding of how Modern Chinese Orchestra is compared to Western Orchestra.
List of Chinese Musical Instruments Link:
Wikipedia – Traditional Chinese Musical Instruments
Video Samples of Modern Chinese Orchestra, Youtube Video Links:
Western Instruments with Chinese Instruments in an Orchestra, Youtube Video Links:
(04) People’s Association Youth Chinese Orchestra – Hayao Miyazaki’s animated film “Kiki’s Delivery Service”
Contemporary Chinese Instruments from the 12 Girls Band, Youtube Video Links: Background on the 12 Girls Band — 12 Girls Band Home Page
Additional 12 Girls Band Music Video Links:
SimpErhu Software Demo Videos:
Directions: How to download and set up package, some part is a little tricky.
- First thing is to create a new folder in your computer to download the file into.
- Click on the my website link for Simperhu-4.81., from above
- Then a pop up will appear and save the file on your computer were you created the folder.
- Open up the folder, and location the Simperhu-4.81 file that has been downloaded.
- Then Unzip the file with winzip or winrar.
- The unzip file will open up and then Highlight All the Files (grab all the files) and Drag the highlighted files it to newly created folder.
- Next click on “Read Me First” file, it gives you direction but it is not that easy to understand and I had trouble locating the folders. If it works for you that is great.
- What I have done is this and it has work for me; through your Windows Explore, locate your WINDOWS application folder, the locate the Fonts folder.
- Copy the file the “SimpErhuFont” that has the TT icon.
- Then Paste the “SimpErhuFont” in the WINDOWS/Fonts folder
- Next is to test if the fonts and texts are readable, click on one of the SimpErhu word document files from your folder. Microsoft Word should automatically open the file. If it works, Thats great!
- Next is putting the “SimpErhu Template” file into the Microsoft Word template folder. Through your Windows Explore; Program Files/Microsoft Office/Templates/1033 (This last folder will vary, is where the letter & memo templates are located).
- Copy the “SimpErhu”, the yellow strip top as an icon, from where your SimpErhu document files are located.
- Then Paste the “SimpErhu” file into the folder, from step #12.
- Next is to test it, open your Microsoft Word program, then locate the template command/menu bar, a pop up menu will appear, locate the tab that has the template for the letters and memos. If you don’t see the template file in the pop up menu, than you might have to recopy and paste it in the pop up menu directly.
- Then click on “SimpErhu” template file. A single page document should appear with a “Song Title” header and music notation symbols on the left side. If it works, Thats great!
Hopefully my directions are good enough to help you out. If you have trouble or if my directions are not good enough, please let me know. Thanks and enjoy learning and writing erhu music.
Here is the direct link to the website for the SimpErhu Chinese Language Version-4.81: Chinese Language Simperhu 4.81
Follow the same direction as the English Version from above (Steps 1-16).