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A 'Sam Yeen' is a Chinese Guitar

Joybell 10 Jan 11 - 06:31 PM
GUEST,Donal 11 Jan 11 - 02:32 AM
Joybell 11 Jan 11 - 05:41 PM
Joybell 11 Jan 11 - 06:06 PM
Joybell 12 Jan 11 - 12:29 AM
Jason Xion Wang 12 Jan 11 - 06:48 AM
Joybell 14 Jan 11 - 05:47 PM
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Subject: A 'Sam Yeen' is a Chinese Guitar
From: Joybell
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 06:31 PM

in case anyone except me was wondering. In my eternal quest for knowledge relating to 19th century performers I came across the phrase "a Sam Yeen performer". No explanation. No clues. After a year of wandering through old newspapers I came upon a 19th century review in a newspaper from New Zealand. The reporter used the line "... A Sam Yeen or Chinese Guitar." The rest is easy. There's a lot of information about them including many names -- except "Sam Yeen".
So there you go in the interest of spreading forgotten information.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: A 'Sam Yeen' is a Chinese Guitar
From: GUEST,Donal
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 02:32 AM

Probably a samisen (Japanese)


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Subject: RE: A 'Sam Yeen' is a Chinese Guitar
From: Joybell
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 05:41 PM

That's an interesting thought, Donal. I wonder?
I'll take a look at them. There may be a Japanese/Chinese connection. The name comes up during a Chinese craze here in Australia (and New Zealand). The performer named as a "Sam Yeen performer" was an associate of the man I'm studying. They both played other Chinese instruments and did a Chinese act. They were billed as "The Minstrels of the Moon" at the time.
This instrument is also called a "Moon Guitar" and sometimes has little moons cut into the face. It looks more like a banjo with a wooden drum.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: A 'Sam Yeen' is a Chinese Guitar
From: Joybell
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 06:06 PM

It seems the Japanese samisen was from the Chinese instrument called a "sanxian". San = three. xian = strings.
Both names sound a bit like "Sam Yeen". However neither one is like a Chinese guitar or Ruan which has a solid wooden body and not a skin head. It has four strings. My man was a keen scholar. Clever and witty. I believe the name was carefully thought out as a pun of some sort.
We need a Chinese linguist.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: A 'Sam Yeen' is a Chinese Guitar
From: Joybell
Date: 12 Jan 11 - 12:29 AM

Just found another reference from another NZ newspaper that calls a Sam Yeen "a Chinese Fiddle". Still no connection between the names, that I can make out.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: A 'Sam Yeen' is a Chinese Guitar
From: Jason Xion Wang
Date: 12 Jan 11 - 06:48 AM

Well, as you may know, I'm a Chinese myself, yet I don't know anything about "Sam Yeen".

As far as I know, Chinese traditional plucked string instrument include 16-string guzheng, 24-string konghou (harp-like instrument) and 50-string se (zither-like).

And, the 4-string pipa is the most similar with a guitar, but I've no clue if anyone call it a "Sam Yeen".

Jason


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Subject: RE: A 'Sam Yeen' is a Chinese Guitar
From: Joybell
Date: 14 Jan 11 - 05:47 PM

Thank you for trying, Jason. I think the name probably had a short life and was then forgotton. Around 1870. I did find another reference to a Sam Yeen being a fiddle and not a guitar but that was no help really.
Cheers, Joy


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