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Chinese Instrument – Guqin

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Guqin, also known as Yaoqin, Yuqin, and Qixian Qin, is a traditional Chinese plucked string instrument with a history of more than three thousand years. It belongs to the silk in the eight-tonne. Guqin has a wide range, a deep tone, and a long remnant.

Historical records Fuxi for piano, there Shen Nong as the piano, the Yellow Emperor made piano, Tang Yao -made piano and other legends;  Shun was given to Wu Xian Qin, King Wen by a string, King Wu cutting Zhou and by a The string is seven strings; it can be seen that the Chinese guqin culture has a long history, extensive and profound.

There are more than 3360 piano music, more than 130 piano scores, and 300 piano songs. On November 7, 2003, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee announced that the Chinese Guqin was selected as the world’s intangible cultural heritage.   In 2006, it was included in the list of China’s intangible cultural heritage.


Origin and development

Ancient books record that the creation of the qin is related to the emperor at the beginning of Chinese civilization. ” Qin Cao ” contains: “Fuxi made the qin.”  The  “Qin Dang Preface” records: ” Fuxi’s qin is one string, seven feet and two inches long. ” Book of Rites ” records that ” Shun made the five-stringed lyre, singing the south wind”.  In the ” Xin Lun ” of Huan Tan of the  Han Dynasty, it is recorded: “Shennong’s piano is made of pure silk and carved with paulownia wood. It was changed to eight feet and six inches at the time of the Five Emperors. Yu Shun was changed to five strings, and Wang Wu changed Seven strings.”

The earliest written records about the qin can be found in classics such as “The Book of Songs “. In the Zhou Dynasty, the guqin was not only used for ceremonies, ceremonies, ceremonies, and other elegant music in the suburbs but also flourished in the folk. “The Book of Songs·Zhounan·Guanju “: “A beautiful lady, Harmonious Friends of the “;” Book of Songs Xiaoya Luming “:” I have guests, harp Guqin “;” Book of Songs Xiaoya often Di “:” good wife together, such as the viol piano “;” Book of small “Ya·Drum Bell “: “Drum Bell Qinqin, Drums, Drums and Qin”; “Book of Songs· Xiaoya·Futian “: “Qin and Se drums, with Yutian Zu”; “Book of Songs· Fengfeng·Dingzhi Fangzhong “: ” Tongzi lacquer on the chair, slashing the qin sang”; “The Book of Songs· Zheng Feng·Nu Yue Cock “: “The piano is in the imperial court, and it is not quiet.” This shows that the guqin was at least in the Zhou Dynasty, and it was a very common and very common folk The musical instrument that was loved by the ancients was widely recognized in ancient times.

According to “Historical Records”, the appearance of Qin was not later than the Yao and Shun period. The earliest guqin discovered by archaeology was the early spring and autumn guqin of the Zhou Dynasty, which was unearthed in Guojiamiao, Zaoyang, Hubei in 2016, about 2,700 years ago, bringing the history of the guqin with physical evidence in China about 300 years.

The Chinese Guqin culture has a long history. Traditional Chinese culture believes that there are five stars in the sky, five elements on the ground, and five sounds in the world. According to legend, Emperor Yan discovered music by “milling the yellow bell” at the foot of Yangtou Mountain in Jingfeng, Qinyuan. Yandi Shennong also “cut the tung into the piano and the string into the string” and created the original piano.




When playing, put the piano on the table, plucking the strings with your right hand and press the strings with your left to get the sound. There are many playing techniques. The right fingering methods are mainly beating, lifting, wiping, picking, hooking, kicking, hitting, picking and their different combinations, such as wheel, lock, stack, pinch, roll, whisk, calendar, double play, Rounding, etc.; the left hand is mainly divided into two types: press tone and portamento. According to the sound, there are kneeling, lifting, pinching, pushing, claw lifting, pinching, and simultaneous voice. Portamento includes chanting, yin, bumping, calling, retreat, retreat, and separation.

Guqin fingering

Cultural significance

In the long historical stage of ancient Chinese society, “Qin, chess, calligraphy, and painting” have always been regarded as the only way for literati to cultivate their moral character. Guqin, because of its clear, peaceful, light, and elegant musical character, embodies the literati’s arrogant and otherworldly mentality and ranks first in music, chess, calligraphy, and painting.

“The piano player has sentiment; the piano player has forbidden it.” Playing the flute and playing the piano, reciting poems and paintings, climbing high and traveling, and drinking and singing have become vivid portrayals of the life of literati and doctors. During the Spring and Autumn Period, Confucius loved to play the piano. Whether he lectured in the Xingtan or was trapped in Chen Cai, he was constantly singing and singing. In the Spring and Autumn Period, the story of Boya and Ziqi’s “Finding Friends” in “High Mountain” and “Flowing Water” became popular. For the spread of good stories and beautiful talks; during the Wei and Jin Dynasties, Ji Kang gave the Guqin the highest evaluation of “the best quality among the instruments”, and finally played “Guangling San” on the execution ground as the swan song of life; Liu Yuxi, a literati in the Tang Dynasty In his famous piece “The Shao Shi Ming”, he outlines an indifferent state of “you can adjust the piano and read the gold scripture. There are no messy ears of silk and bamboo, and the shape of work without a case”. In August 1977, the “Voyager” spacecraft launched by the United States placed a gilded record that can be played in a loop. Representative art of human beings was selected from all over the world. Among them, the famous Guqin master Mr. Guan Pinghu’s performance was included. The seven-minute guqin song “Flowing Water” represents Chinese music. This ancient song, once played by the famous piano master Bo Ya in the Spring and Autumn Period and became a friend of Zhong Ziqi, now has the mission of exploring extraterrestrial civilization, seeking new “confidants” in the vast universe.

Guqin contains rich and profound cultural connotations and has been a favorite artifact in the hands of ancient Chinese literati and scholar-officials for thousands of years. The special identity makes Qin music a form of music with high cultural attributes in the entire Chinese music structure. “Harmony and elegance” and “lightness” are the aesthetic appeal of piano music advertised and pursued, and “extra-taste, rhyme, and sound beyond strings” are the essence of the profound artistic conception of piano music. Tao Yuanming’s “but knows the fun of the piano, He Lao’s strings sound” and Bai Juyi’s “soundless, pleasant and sublime.” It is the truth that Tao Yuanming tells. On the contrary, people often use “playing the piano against the cow” and “burning the piano to cook the crane” to lament some people’s ignorance of the piano.

play the guqin

The charm of the guqin is quiet and elegant. To achieve this kind of artistic conception, the player must integrate the external environment with the peaceful and leisurely inner mood, in order to achieve the harmony of mind and matter and the harmony of man and piano. The state of art. In this respect, Boya’s experience can be called a model for later generations. According to legend, Boya once followed Cheng Lian to learn piano. Although he worked hard, he could hardly reach the state of single-minded expression. So Cheng Lian led Boya to Penglai Wonderland and paddled away by himself. Boya waited left and right, but never saw Mr. Cheng Lian come back. At this time, there was silence all around, and only heard the surging waves beating against the rocks, making the sound of cliffs and valleys; the birds sang in the sky, echoing for a long time. Seeing this scene, Boya couldn’t help touching his heartstrings, so he took out the guqin and started to sing. He finally understood that Mr. Cheng Lian just wanted him to experience this kind of artistic conception of harmony between nature and man, to transfer his temperament. Later, Boya really became a master of drum and piano in the world.

Since ancient times, Chinese literati in all generations have always emphasized that “the greatness will benefit the world, and the poor will be good for oneself.” Seclusion, love mountains and rivers, close to the vast nature. Fuqin, as one of the ways of self-cultivation and self-cultivation, has made the literati and scholars of the past intoxicated and relieved. This is just like what Ji Kang said in “Qin Fu”: “Things have ups and downs, but this (guqin) does not change; the taste has yin, but this is not stubborn. It can guide the spirit, promote emotions, and be alone. Those who are bored are not close to the sound of sound. If the reason is not enough, then the chanting is wanton, and the chanting is not enough, then the words are broad.” Zhu Huipeng’s “Listening to the Qin Jing”: “Fan Qin should either tune into the string or chant and sing along with it, all expressing sentiments and expressing thoughts. Therefore, it is prolonged, turbulent and melancholic, dissolving the boredom, regulating the breath and guiding qi, Nourish peace and calm heart, and be rational.”.

The person playing the guqin, in the simple, low, quiet, and distant sound of the guqin, changes from restlessness to quietness and then forgets me, “sit alone in the secluded earth, playing the piano and regaining a long roar”, “Lesson is for healing, and music is for peace.”, An Zejiu”. The reason why the guqin art is unique and highly respected is that in addition to the “best piano morality”, its music characteristics can be natural and intriguing, and conform to the traditional Chinese culture’s pursuit of artistic conception, advocating inner and implicit meaning. It contains It hides the core of the Chinese national cultural spirit, embodies the ancient people’s virtues of self-cultivation and enlightenment, and becomes an important way and means of personality cultivation and spiritual sublimation.

The sound of the guqin is pure and elegant, but also clear and long-lasting, with elegant interest, joy but not lust, sad but not sad, resentment but not anger, gentle and honest, the form is righteous and peaceful, and there is no difference. Virtue is in it.” Qin Dao is a life pursuit for qualified scholars and doctors.

Chinese Guqin music is an art with a profound historical and cultural background. It attracts unlimited yearning and pursuits with its multiple beautiful and elegant qualities. At this time when people’s hearts are prone to impetuosity, there is an urgent need for calm and peaceful music like the guqin, so that people can calm down and return to the rich spiritual world in their inner self.

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