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Guqin, the oldest musical instrument in China, is also known as the Seven-stringed instrument. The body is a long and narrow wooden sound box. Usually, it is 130 centimeters long, 20 centimeters wide and 5 centimeters high. The surface is generally made of paulownia wood or China fir, and has seven strings stretched along it. On the edges are 13 inlaid jade markers. Catalpa wood is used for the base, and there are two holes, one big and one small, which are named the‘phoenix pool' and ‘dragon pond', to emit the sound.

The fingering skills are known as recital, rubbing, plucking, concentration, floating notes and harmonious notes. The instrument is rich in tone color with airy and floating notes, which can be called the sound of harmony. The most unique part of the Guqin probably lies in its performance etiquette. Before giving a performance, players should take a shower and burn incense in the room. They are to keep their minds peaceful and concentrated to ward off evil spirits.

Chinese musical instrument Guqin

Musical Culture in Guqin
Guqin always stands elegantly and gracefully in Chinese musical instruments. Chinese ancient scholars have to acknowledge four art, including play the Guqin, play Chinese chess, write good calligraphy and draw painting. The melodies of Guqin are gentle, pure and free from vulgarity, which echo with the Zheng (uprightness) of Confucianism, the Qing (softness) of Taoism, and He (harmony) of Buddhism. So, the Guqin is a representative instrument of traditional Chinese musical culture. The most famous Guqin repertoire is the High Mount and Flowing Water, which is also a metaphor for friends who can communicate with their spiritual pursuits.

A Story of Guqin

During the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC - 476 BC), there was a man named Yu Boya, who was a famous music master at that time. He happened to meet Zhong Ziqi. No matter what kind of piece of music Yu played, Zhong could understand very well, therefor, they became bosom friends. They agreed on a meet at the same place in the following year. Unfortunately, Zhong died before they could meet. Yu played at Zhong's graveyard for the last time and crashed his Guqin. He decided never to play the Guqin any more to show his deep friendship to Zhong and how difficult to meet a bosom friend.

Chinese musical instrument Guqin

Current Situation of Guqin

Guqin is an instrument hard to learn, easy to forget, and hard to understand the connotation of Guqin melody. So Guqin is not a popular musical instrument in current China and faces with the risk of lost.