View Full Version : Chinese classical music---Gu Qin

May-25-2004, 12:22

Gu Qin(Ch’in), one of Chinese oldest stringed instruments, classified into zithers in the Western musical instrument regulation. It got the good name of" Yao Qin" (in Chinese, "Yao" means precious jade) from the legend that the Empress of Taoist God entertained all gods to play in Heaven Palace Yaochi (Jasper Lake). Now people call it Guqin (in Chinese, "Gu" means ancient, "qin" means zither) or seven-string zither because it is ancient and has seven strings. Qin plays an important role in the famous story of "Boya and Ziqi became bosom friends by the music High Mountains and Flowing Water".

The volume guqin is not big and it is very implicit, being modest and amiable of gentleman. The compass is broad, reaches four eight degrees. It has three kinds of sound, break up sound, overtone and according to transliteration, signify heaven, ground and people. It is simple and honest like the clock to distribute the sound; The overtone is exquisitely carved ; According to sound or timid, or real, or clear and melodious and bright and clean, or sink muddy and great and only, it is unusual to change. The Qin harmonious sounds are unique, empty fairy is dark green and far, simple and unsophisticated and deep and serene , Have a vicissitudes sense very much.
Qin make overtone in accordance with pure law, depend on three increase and decrease law press the sound definitely. Overtone reach 119 is can heavy sections of melody of playing, for Chinese and foreign Qin being rarely seen. The theme music of" Three Variations of Plum Blossom " is played with the overtone.
The guqin fingering is very complicated. Various kinds of fingering are combined and used, thus the guain gets rich and colorful sound and has expression nature.
  Qin players have extremely high expectations for sound and study in every possible way. There are " nine characters " and " twenty-four conditions" of qin according to them.

The length of qin compositions are different, the short ones last one or two minutes, and the long ones last more than ten minutes. But qin songs are usually made up by four parts such as starting, motif,slow accented beats and coda.The music usually ends with overtone, form the artistic conception of the music lingering in the air.
Qin compositions are numerous. There are about 50 songs that are often playedat present, for instance: "Flowing water", "Wild Geese Descending on the Sandbank", "Hidden Bitterness at the Changmen Palace", "Parting at Yangguan Pass", "Three Variations of Plum Blossom", "The Drunken Fisherman Sing at Dunk", "Guang Ling Verse","Moon of the Guanshan Mountain", "Questions and Answers of Fisherman and Firewood", "Mist and Cloud over Xiao-Xiang Rivers" and "Eighteen Tragic Parts of Barbarian Pipes".
There are mainly three kinds of playing form of the qin: solo, qin with songs and tutti (qin and xiao, qin and se, qin and xun and Qin and plucked instruments such as se, xiao, sheng, zhong and qing),etc.

Tablature (or Handbook) of the Qin

The tablature of Guqin is very special.
The "characters tablature" was used before Tang Dynasty and it was very complicated. The oldest Qin tablature known at present -- "Jieshi Tone, You Lan", namely "characters tablature", is the only remained "characters tablature". This tablature had been spread to Japan for hundred years but nobody could know. It is now stored in National Museum of Japan and is very treasurable.
the middle period the Tang Dynasty, an outstanding man Cao Rou in Qin circle created "Siplified characters tablature", using special figure and characters to record composition. It has been used till today and numbered musical notation and stave are unable to replace it. Thanks to this method, a large number of Qin works are well saved. People should remember him forever.


Some pieces of Gu Qin music, hope you enjoy it.

Wild Geese Descending on the Sandbank

Hidden Bitterness at the Changmen Palace

Guang Ling Verse

Some scores of Gu Qin






May-25-2004, 18:53
Thank You very much ! Nice post https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smash.gif
The tuning on the music sounds very westernlike compared to some Asian music I have heard. Are there different tuning systems for different types of music ? Say traditional verses classical ? Regards ....... mike ...... https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cheers444.gif

May-29-2004, 00:35
I've played several times with Guqin using the Xiao, and I feel it a nice instrument. Contact me with further details.

May-29-2004, 05:23
I've played several times with Guqin using the Xiao, and I feel it a nice instrument. Contact me with further details.

May you please defining: "Gugin" and "Xiao"

May-30-2004, 06:16
"Guqin" a pluckled zither, is believed to have a 3000 years'history. It has got 7 strings, using two hands to move along the string, the sound is antique and deep.
"Xiao", an end blown flute. It is also an old instrument. It is suitable to perform with Qin, called an "Qin XIao" ensemble. The sound is soft and delicate. Next time I will bring you some music of this.

May-30-2004, 07:08
>"Xiao", an end blown flute.

Like a "Shakuhachi" ?

Jun-11-2004, 12:48
Xiao can play better music than that one !

Jun-14-2004, 20:05
I looked at the written music on your ftp site, but I didn't realize that Chinese music was written so different than what I see today (Staff).

Jun-15-2004, 18:01
Yep. There are many systems of musical notation beyond the one we (normally) use. For example:
........ https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smash.gif.........mike