Chapter 42 Choose Anything as You Like, I'm Fine with It!
The remarks "now is your turn" instantly shifted all the eyes onto Fang Qiu.
They were all looking forward to it.
Looking forward to Fang Qiu's performance.
They wanted to see which one could laugh last in this fierce contest.
"Go get him!"
Zhu Benzheng, Sun Hao, and Zhou Xiaotian heartened Fang Qiu in an undertone.
Fang Qiu nodded and walked to the middle of the sports ground.
"Which musical instrument will you choose? If it is not here, I'll ask them to fetch it!"
Li Qingshi pointed at the row of exhibited musical instruments at the Chinese Folk Arts Association.
There were a Chinese flute, a guitar, a bamboo flute, a Chinese zither, a pipa and even an erhu, a violin, a cello, and so on.
Those musical instruments were all belongings of members of the Chinese Folk Arts Association. It was easy to tell how abundant art talents were in the University of Jiangjing Chinese Medicine!
Fang Qiu pointed a finger at those musical instruments and stared at Li Qingshi with a smile.
"What do you mean?
Li Qingshi was bewildered.
"You choose anything as you like, I'm fine with it."
Said Fang Qiu in an extremely arrogant voice.
Everyone on the scene was rooted to the spot in astonishment.
"Are you kidding me?"
"There are at least a dozen musical instruments here—from domestic ones to foreign ones, from traditional ones to modern ones—but you dare let him choose anything as he likes?"
"And you are fine to play any of them?"
"How outrageous your brag is!"
"But this is a contest. Aren't you supposed to pick the one you can do best?"
"Learning one musical instrument for several years doesn't mean you have mastered it. Even if you can only spend one year to master each of those musical instruments, it will take you more than a dozen years to get the hang of all of them!"
"But Fang Qiu, how old are you?"
"You can't have been learning musical instruments since you were in the womb, can you?"
Zhu Benzheng, Sun Hao, and Zhou Xiaotian were stupified by Fang Qiu's words as well. They swallowed with difficulty.
Although they had known Fang Qiu was brilliant and guessed that he had more brilliant talents to display, but it never occurred to them that he could be so brilliant!
"Pick any musical instrument as you like?"
Jiang Miaoyu's gorgeous eyes also widened, looking at Fang Qiu in disbelief.
"He can play... all these?"
Li Qingshi was dazed by this remark of Fang Qiu. Eventually, he let out a hollow laugh and said, "You are joking, aren't you?"
Fang Qiu nodded positively.
Li Qingshi blurted out.
He did not care whether Fang Qiu was telling the truth or just bragging!
"Now that you dared to throw out the words, I'll choose the most difficult one for you. Let me see how you get out of this one!"
And he did not believe a word of Fang Qiu, so he chose erhu, the one that fewest people would learn.
"Other musical instruments are relatively popular, while erhu is not in vogue."
"Even if he has learned it, so what? It's extremely hard to be proficient in erhu playing."
"Generally, string instruments are the most difficult kind to learn, at least much harder than wind instruments."
"And string instruments are divided into two categories—with frets and without.
"For string instruments with frets, its intonation is already guaranteed. One fret represents the musical interval of a half-tone, and two frets constitute a whole tone, making the learning process and daily playing relatively easy in light of intonation."
"However, for string instruments without frets, its intonation solely depends on the acute hearing of the player and the great coordination of his left fingers."
"If a man is a tone-deaf who is unable to sing the melodies that he hears in the same tune, it's impossible for him to learn any of the string instruments without frets."
"A guitar is the kind that has frets. Fang Qiu already proved that he can play it at the Start-of-Term Ceremony. However, erhu, violin, and cello are all without frets."
"As to why I didn't pick a violin or cello, it's because of a common view in the vocal music circle—the less the strings a musical instrument has, the harder its learning process is."
"Thus, erhu is said to be a less popular but very difficult instrument."
"Fang Qiu, I don't believe you can play it!"
Fang Qiu nodded, and then, strode towards the Chinese Folk Arts Association.
Seeing Fang Qiu coming over, members of the Chinese Folk Arts Association instinctively shunned sideways.
"The aura of this man is too fierce!"
When the crowd heard that Fang Qiu was going to play erhu, they all blamed Li Qingshi inwardly for being so brazen to pick such an obscure musical instrument.
And they were under the impression that erhu was prone to be played by the old, especially the blind.
Well, it was not them to blame for thinking like that, because Ah Bing, a blind erhu master, was just too famous.
His erhu play of The Moon Over a Fountain perfectly displayed the sad and beautiful feelings.
Erhu's sound was peerlessly full of sorrow and bitterness, which was not suitable for a young man to play.
It was far too incongruous with the image and temperament of Fang Qiu.
But Fang Qiu still walked to the middle of the sports ground holding an erhu and a stool as everyone was staring at him.
After lowering the microphone to let it face right at the erhu, Fang Qiu settled himself on the stool and briefly tested its tones, then screwed up the upper pegs.
He did a test again before nodding in satisfaction.
Li Qingshi was watching Fang Qiu from a short distance. Although he did not know how to play erhu, he had some elementary knowledge about it.
Fang Qiu's posture and tuning movements gave him a bad feeling.
"Does he really know how to play erhu?"
But he was not too worried.
"Even if he knows how to play, no way can his playing parallel to his Chinese flute skills, can it?"
Fang Qiu looked around and boomed, "I now present you Battle Steeds Galloping Ahead."
"Battle Steeds Galloping Ahead?"
At this, all the people were a bit befuddled.
"Aren't songs of erhu supposed to be very pathetic and touching? Why does this one sound fierce and vehement?"
But before they could think it through, Fang Qiu already began his playing.
A piece of intense melody instantly roused the crowd.
Everyone was watching Fang Qiu playing in utter shock.
"Does this music really come from erhu?"
The audience did feel like ten thousand steeds were galloping past them.
They even heard the horses neigh and whinny.
"Could erhu possibly be played like this?"
"Gosh! What's happening?"
"Why do I hear clatters of horses' hooves?"
They darted their eyes in the direction of Fang Qiu to find that he was seemingly vibrating the fingerboard with the bow.
In order to simulate the hoofbeats.
"Impressive, my bro!"
"You can even achieve this!"
In fact, it was not as simple as the crowd had perceived.
To imitate the sound of horse prancing, Fang Qiu pressed the hairs of the bow against the strings and let it continuously brush across them up and down. With the impeccable cooperation of his both hands, his erhu produced a series of "clip-clop".
But this extraordinary technique was unknown to others.
What was more, he also utilized various means to mimic the whinnying of horses.
For example, he rubbed the bow and its hairs against the inner string and the outer string while performing trill and portamento with his left hand so as to create the neighing of a herd of horses.
Also, he used the fast solid staccato—let the inner string push the bow—accompanied by sliding down with his left hand to produce the neighing of a single horse.
The sound he made was remarkably lifelike, almost indistinguishable from the natural ones!
In an instant, he brought everyone into a scene where battle Steeds were galloping ahead and whinnying together.
It was just so true to life!
So real and astonishing!
Pieces of rousing melodies led them into the majestic world of cavalryman training and battling.
They seemed to have seen a sharp cavalry positioned on a vast grassland training field, armed to the teeth and poised for a war to start.
At this time, the horn called, and the killing started.
A square formation of the troops streaked orderly to the front.
Out of nowhere, enemies appeared. They were instantly ambushed.
Next second, steeds neighed, and malicious howls sounded in all directions. Violent shouts and clatters of horse hooves rose one after another!
After a fierce battle, their enemies were defeated and fled in disorder.
The cavalry followed up the victory with hot pursuit, and the war eventually came to an end in the proud neighing of the steeds.
This Battle Steeds Galloping Ahead made the blood of righteous men around boiling with indignation.
How they wished right now they were the valiant soldiers on the battlefield, killing enemies with all strength for the sake of their country and their people!
As the song drew to an end, roars of applause engulfed the sky and the land.
In contrast with the personal grudge expressed by Li Qingshi's Oceans' Roar, the spirit of Fang Qiu's Battle Steeds Galloping Ahead was undoubtedly at a higher level.
They were not fighting for themselves, but for the entire country.
On the contrary, Li Qingshi's playing appeared to be absolutely not so noble-spirited.
"His playing has no heroic spirit like Fang Qiu's!"
The latter was the ideal song up to their standards. Regardless of the playing format, a good song was always a good song. It would motivate the listeners to be a better person instead of frustrating them!
Chinese culture devoted particular care to the "endless succession of life and growth in nature", and we Chinese also required ourselves to make unremitting efforts to improve ourselves!
The purpose of such constantly striving was to achieve self-cultivation, family harmony, country management as well as world peace!
Thus, how could an individual's love story match up to the ambition of contributing to one's country?
Even though Li Qingshi had picked his song cleverly, it was way too far to equal to this wonderful song Fang Qiu played.
At this moment, Zhu Benzheng, Sun Hao, Zhou Xiaotian's hearts finally dropped back to their original positions.
"The youngest, how capable you are!"
"You can even play erhu!"
"If we run out of money someday, you can simply go to the bridge of the night market, pretend to be blind, and play erhu to make money!"
Right now, Li Qingshi looked extremely sulky. Judging by the applause in the surroundings, he knew his performance was still a bit weak.
He was utterly astounded to find out that Fang Qiu truly knew how to play erhu.
"He did it so well."
"He also picked a wonderful song."
"If I had known this, I would not have selected erhu for him, maybe another string instruments without frets."
He just thought Fang Qiu was in luck today, because he happened to have picked the one Fang Qiu was good at.
"But this doesn't matter. In the field of literature and art, there is no winner in the first place; in the field of martial arts, no one wants to be in the second place. Chinese folk arts belong to the scope of the literature and art field, so there are no standard criteria to identify the winner. Although the applause for me is a little weak, who can really claim that my performance is inferior to Fang Qiu's?"
As if seeing what Li Qingshi was thinking, Fang Qiu stood up and bowed to the audience.
Then, he carried the erhu and microphone stand heading to the Chinese Folk Arts Association.
At this, everyone was at a loss.
"What's he doing now?"
"Returning the instrument?"
"But if so, what are you doing with the microphone stand?"
Jiang Miaoyu also cast curious looks at Fang Qiu. Just now, Fang Qiu's performance did take her by surprise.
She realized that she actually knew little about this student Fang.
"Well, come to think of it, I know nothing about him other than he is good at singing, playing hand flute, guitar, and now erhu, and likes reading."
"Fang Qiu is just like a riddle, totally unfathomable."
She reckoned this man must have more secrets he had not revealed.
But she did not wait for long to see Fang Qiu's next move. Followed by all the curious eyes, Fang Qiu came to the row of musical instruments at the Chinese Folk Arts Association. He put own the microphone stand and the erdu, reached out a hand and grabbed the Chinese flute.
"What's he up to?"
The crowd was even more confused.
At the sight of Fang Qiu's action, Li Qingshi suddenly had an ominous feeling.
Fang Qiu threw a cold smile at Li Qingshi.
Being stared by everyone, Fang Qiu moved!
He positioned the Chinese flute vertically and began to blow it in front of the microphone.
Melody immediately rang across the entire sports ground.
It was precisely the Oceans' Roar that Li Qingshi just played.
And his version was not second to Li Qingshi's at all.
Everyone on the scene was stunned.
"What a smack in the face!"
"Playing the same song with the same musical instrument actually equals to a smack in Li Qingshi's face!"
"This is a declaration that I know things you don't, but all the things you know I've already learned!"
Li Qingshi's face went rather glum.
Fang Qiu played a chapter.
Then, he placed the Chinese flute back and picked up a pipa without a word.
It was the Oceans' Roar again!
"A smack in the face again!"
"It's a second one!"
"I know things you don't; but all the things you know I've already learned; and all the thing you don't know I've also already learned!"
"Fang Qiu, you're about to be a mania for smacking him!"
But much to their astonishment, the "Pick anything as you like" promise Fang Qiu uttered before was not bragging at all. It turned out that he did know all the musical instruments!
"Can he possibly have learned a fourth musical instrument?"
With Li Qingshi's gloomy eyes fixed on him, Fang Qiu put down the pipa, strolled to a Chinese zither, and sat down behind it.