Before I share the performance of this Chinese-Irish inspired piece that I wrote for solo double bass, I feel that it's necessary to explain how this piece came into existence. The story behind this piece is actually quite dense. So sit back, relax, and read on...
The story behind "落海鷗 (The Falling Seagull)"
Imagine a combination of erhu and zither being played in the background, now add a little Irish music to the soulful symphony, can you fathom the outcome?
I couldn’t either, so I wrote "The Falling Seagull" in the basement of the 1726 building at the Curtis Institute of Music - shortly after listening to a performance of the "Fisherman's Song at Dusk" by Shuhua Lou during my random YouTube browsing adventures.
The Fisherman's Song...
The performance of the "Fisherman's Song at Dusk" was executed flawlessly by zither extraordinaire Qian Jun, and while enjoying her performance, I was able to get acclimated with the sounds that the Chinese "zither" was able to produce. You can listen to her performance of the piece below.
After familiarizing myself with the zither, I then turned my focus to the erhu, which is the second instrument that inspired me to write "The Falling Seagull".
What is an erhu?
For those of you who do not know what an erhu is, the best way I can describe it is that instrument which you hear in most Chinese themed movies (This is me speaking mainly to the western audience here).
Yes, I know my description of the erhu does not do justice to the sacred instrument that carries with it an extensive amount of ancient Chinese history, so to better help you understand the erhu and its features, I posted a video below of an erhu virtuoso by the name of Andy Lin performing what appears to be an encore piece with pianist Kelly Lin (the sister of Andy Lin). Note that in the beginning of the video, Andy starts off the piece by making artificial bird-like noises that sound just like, yep you guessed it, a falling seagull.
Also, Would you believe me if I told you that Andy let me play his own erhu? The same one being played in the video?
I couldn't even believe it myself! Tho I must say, when I tried my hand at playing his erhu, it was extremely difficult for me to hold the bow properly; the bow hold that's required to use the bamboo-made erhu bow is radically different than the bow hold used for orchestral instruments like the violin, viola, cello, and my own personal favorite, the double bass.
落海鷗 - The Falling Seagull
Because we are now more familiar with the Chinese zither and erhu (thanks to Qian Jun and Andy Lin), We can proceed back to the topic of "The Falling Seagull" with a better understanding of the two instruments that inspired me to write this piece.
So here is a question for you: if I told you that you could play emulations of the Chinese erhu and zither, and not only that, but some Irish music in between, all while being executed on one single double bass, what would your reaction be?
To be honest, I was blown away by the results. Maybe this is why music is called the universal language, because you can never really go wrong with fusing art from two different cultures together, where the end result usually ends up being a work of musical innovation.
But who am I to say that my piece in particular is innovative? As the listener, it is your job to see if this piece I wrote is good enough to live up to your expectations. Go ahead and listen to the video I uploaded below of me performing "The Falling Seagull" - and while you are listening, see if you can hear the sounds of the zither and erhu, along with a dash of Irish music that I snuck in near the end.
Get the sheet music!
Are you interested in getting your hands on the sheet music for this piece today? Well the good news is that you can get it by clicking here!
I know many of you use tablet devices as opposed to physical copies of sheet music, so this is why I made the music available in PDF form; this format will allow you to download the music straight to your electronic device - just make sure your device does not crash during the middle of a recital (This happened to a pianist while I was performing the Schubert "Trout" quintet in A major).
I must say, although I composed this piece for the double bass, I can see the music being transcribed for all other stringed instruments (albeit it might be hard to execute on the trumpet). Take a look at an excerpt from "The Falling Seagull" below and see what you think...
So there you have it, the story of "The Falling Seagull (落海鷗)".
I look forward to seeing video clips of you performing this piece. Perhaps I will feature your rendition of the work on my website!
A SPECIAL THANKS!
As a token of gratitude for those of you who finished reading this entire post, I would like to offer you a discount code that gives you 25% off your purchase of "The Falling Seagull". The discount code is: thanks4reading - Offer ends 06/13/2019 at 11:59 EST.
For those of you who wanted to use the code, but missed the deadline to use it, then there is always a chance to get other discount codes when I publish future posts. If you wish to receive updates on any new blog posts that I make, you can either sign up for the newsletter (which can be done on the home page), or you can follow my Facebook page.