In the Tang Dynasty (7th to 9th centuries AD), the development of the pipa reached a peak. At that time, from the court band to the folk singing, the pipa was indispensable, and it became a very popular musical instrument at that time, and it played a leading role in the band. This kind of grand occasion has a lot of records in ancient Chinese poetry. For example, the Tang Dynasty poet Bai Juyi described the performance of the pipa and its acoustic effects very vividly in his famous poem "Pipa Xing": "The big strings are noisy like rain, and the small strings are like whispers. Big pearls and small pearls fall on the jade plate".
In the late Tang Dynasty, the pipa has been greatly developed from the playing techniques to the production structure. The most prominent reform in the playing technique is the change from horizontal holding to vertical holding, and direct playing with fingers instead of playing with plectrum. The most obvious change in the structure of the pipa is the increase from four phonemes to sixteen (that is, four phases and twelve frets). At the same time, its neck is widened, and the lower resonance box is narrowed from wide to narrow, which is convenient for the left hand to press the lower sound.
Due to the above two reforms, the pipa playing technique has been developed unprecedentedly. According to statistics, there are fifty or sixty fingerings of the pipa. To sum up, the right fingering method can be divided into two systems: one, the round finger system, and two, the bouncing and picking system. The left fingering method is also divided into two systems: one, the finger-pressing system, and the second, the push-pull system.
The Tang Dynasty was the peak of the development of the pipa, and a large number of pipa players and music emerged. For example, Cao Bao, who lived in Chang'an in the Tang Dynasty, his son Cao Shancai, and his grandson Cao Gang, are all famous pipa players, respected by the world, poets There are also many poems praising his superb skills. Cao Gang's performance, his right hand is strong and powerful, "plucking like wind and rain", and Pei Xingnu, who is equally famous, is delicate in pressing the strings with his left hand, "good at twisting and twisting", so at that time there was a "sounding twist" in the music world. Cao Gang has the right hand, Xingnu has the left."
Pei Shenfu, a famous "five-stringed" player from Shule in the Western Regions, was one of the most valued court musicians by Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty. He pioneered the pipa finger-playing method; Kang Kunlun was known as the first pipa player, and Duan Shanben was a famous Buddhist temple musician. After competing with Kang Kunlun Pipa, he entered the court and became a royal musician.
Tang Sheyou's "Tongdian" said: "Zabu play is Yan music, mainly pipa, so it is called pipa music." In the literature records and poems of the Tang Dynasty, there are many wonderful chapters describing pipa music, explaining that at that time Pipa playing skills have been greatly improved, and the expressiveness is very rich.