Music: Liang on the Ku-Cheng

The ku-cheng (a 16-stringed zither) that he played was as old as China's Great Wall. In Manhattan's China House last week, a Yale student named Liang Tsai-ping played centuries-old music on a ku-cheng that had come down to him through three generations. His selections (from long-forgotten composers)—Flowers on the Variegated Brocade, Winter Birds Sporting over the Stream—were no more difficult to tell apart than Debussy's impressions.

With a faint, abstracted smile, like a man trying to remember his first girl, Liang plucked out clear notes with the fingernails of his right hand; made them whine and sob with his left. Those who...

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