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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pulling Strings on the Subway Platform

Erhu Player, NYC
Photo by myself on the subway platform at 59th Street, Columbus Circle.

A man wearing fingerless gloves played the erhu, a traditional Chinese musical instrument, Wednesday.

The erhu is a two-stringed instrument played with a bow, like a cello. Its sound has a singing, yet distinctive nasal quality.


You encounter all sorts of musical instruments on the subway platforms - bongos, violins, cellos, guitars, erhus. There have been xylophones, plastic bins, saxophones, and harmonicas.

Some people perform along with a background track of music or percussion. Others perform two instruments at once, like the electric keyboard and harmonica.

The other day I walked by a whole family singing a cappella into a microphone. They sang 4-part harmony and did a great job!

Related posts: Halloween Musicians and the NYC Marathon, All That Jazz and Music to the Ears.


Spandrel Studios said...

The subway musicians are one of my favorite things about New York - they're the soundtrack of a trip! I'm amazed at people who can sing tight harmonies - the blend of voices literally brings me to tears.

chimesey said...

I saw a young girl playing one of those instruments in Melbourne, Australia the other week. Interesting to listen to, innit?

Susu said...

I love the pan flute groups in Paris. It gives a nice feeling. The other day the played along the Seine River just down from the Eiffel Tower. I danced a little when listening. Some moves - discretely - so that I could really enjoy it to the fullest.

Kitty, I have a reward and a challenge for you on my blog!

l'air du temps said...

hi Kitty, i have popped over to your lovely blog at the request/invitation of our dear blogger friend Susu!

you are so right about the many talented and interesting musicians!oh i'm always moving through this 59th street station. i think my favorite is an older man who sings gospel. his voice goes through my heart down to my feet. so powerful and amazing!

have a nice weekend.

Walker said...

Nice picture, I always love the motion.

Ken Mac said...

this looks better than it sounds...trust me!

Kris said...

How did he sound?

Vanilla Press said...

What an amazing city, when you can listen to music down in the subway!
I was in Paris in April & there was a string quartet down in the subway there - it sounded wonderful.


Kengot said...

Erhu has really beautiful sound.
I use erhu plugin in PC.

Ming the Merciless said...

I'm sometimes impressed but also saddened by what I see and hear on the subway platforms.

Some musicians are really good and you have to admire their conviction to pursue a career in music. Others are just plain awful, tooting a silly tune and begging for money.

Watching them reminds me how tough NYC can be for people who are struggling. Anyway, I'm lamenting more than I should.

Kate (urban photo) said...

I have seen some great musiacians on the underground here in London too. Even string quartets etc which wouldn't be out of place in a paid venue.

I'm a bit shy though getting my camera out. I leave that to the more experienced candid photographers.

JD Beaudoin said...

Hi Kitty
Well done! Love this shot. You've really captured the moment. I've been following your blog in my reader for the last few months and felt that this time I should pop out of the shadows and comment.
Also wanted to extend to you wishes for a happy,healthy and prosperous 2009. Take care. You're doing a great job on your blog.

Devon O'Rourke said...