TENG bridges the world to Chinese music with the launch of a comprehensive guide of the instruments and orchestra

news 9 Jul 2019

A one-stop guide for composers, arrangers, scholars, and music enthusiasts alike.

Singapore-born arts company, TENG, launched The TENG Guide to the Chinese Orchestra, the first comprehensive monograph on Chinese instruments and its orchestra that is written in English today. Four years in the making, the company’s latest publication is a one-stop guide for composers, arrangers, scholars, and music enthusiasts alike to navigate through the diversity of Chinese instruments and examine the way they work harmoniously in an orchestra.

Penned by TENG’s Co-Founder and Creative Director, Dr. Samuel Wong, Head of Research and Education, Wang Chenwei and Composer-in-Residence Chow Jun Yi, and published by World Scientific, the 620-page monograph equips academics and enthusiasts worldwide with the knowledge and insights to work with Chinese musical instruments.

Dr. Samuel Wong said, “The modern Chinese orchestra is constantly developing on the world stage. The globalisation of music has also resulted in a growing interest of these instruments. Against this backdrop, we recognise the need for more English literature that explores the playing styles and techniques of Chinese instruments to widen its reach, bridge the gap of language and cultural differences, and raise awareness. We hope The TENG Guide to Chinese Orchestra will serve as a comprehensive go-to compendium for musicians in Singapore and around the world to unlock the infinite possibilities of Chinese music and push the boundaries of this craft.”

This seminal guide comprises two sections - Instrumentation and Orchestration. The ‘Instrumentation’ section outlines the historical, physical attributes, and performance techniques of Chinese musical instruments. It also examines how each instrument in the Chinese orchestra works on its own and details steps for composers to make effective use of each instrument. The ‘Orchestration’ section focuses on systematic analyses excerpts from 18 Chinese orchestral pieces composed over the last 60 years and illustrates ways for composers to combine these instruments to craft sophisticated and colourful soundscapes.

This book has also received critical acclaim from masters of traditional Chinese music, including Head of Composition, Central Conservatory of Music, Guo Wenjing and Resident Conductor, China National Traditional Orchestra, Liu Sha. Hitting closer to home, the monograph is also much welcomed by young Singaporean musicians who are looking to advance their knowledge in Chinese music.

“The TENG Guide to the Chinese Orchestra is a definite must-have for aspiring musicians. Whether you’re looking for an introduction to different Chinese instruments, or deeper, quality insights into Chinese traditional music and instrumentation, this monograph is a useful resource that will help us to grow our craft,” said Ng Chu Ying, Suona musician.

“The TENG Company has been making waves with its unique east-meets-west blend of music. World Scientific is proud to work in collaboration with the talented homegrown musicians from TENG to publish this one-of-a-kind guide on Chinese music instruments for a global audience.” Mr Max Phua, Managing Director, World Scientific Publishing Company.

The launch event was graced by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Ms Grace Fu, at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre. A mini exhibition of Chinese music instruments by local retailer Eason Enterprises and performances by young musicians who were winners of the National Chinese Music Competition 2018 also charmed the guests in attendance.

The TENG Guide to the Chinese Orchestra will be retailing at S$98 for a hardcover copy and S$46 for a softcover from World Scientific and major bookstores.