History of the Guqin
Physical Attributes Of The Guqin
The Guqin can be described as a hollow oblong wooden body approximately 120 centimetres in length, with seven strings stretched across it, attached to a single fixed bridge. It is an entirely different instrument form the Guzheng, which has a much longer body at 165 centimetres, has 21 strings, and 21 moveable bridges. (Insert photos)
The construction of the Guqin is a soundboard (top plate) which is traditionally made of Chinese fir （杉木）or Qin Tong Mu (青桐木) a dense species of paulownia, and a bottom plate that is a hardwood, typically Xin Mu (辛木). It is then coated with multiple layers a mixture that consists of traditional Chinese lacquer and deer antler powder. The construction of the Guqin has allowed it to be extremely durable, as such instruments made in the Tang dynasty are performed on today.
Tonal Qualities Of The Guqin
The Guqin is a relatively quiet instrument, traditionally it was played for one’s own enjoyment or a small group of people in an intimate setting. To help the Guqin project better, the Guqin is often placed on a specialized table made of tone-woods such as rosewood, sandalwood, Chinese fir, and paulownia.
The Guqin has a well-rounded tone, and a bell like resonance that seems to go on forever. Many have said that Guqin music is meditative, and relaxing. The Guqin has also one of the widest collections of music scores for any traditional Chinese instrument, and it has its own unique way of notating music. A charming instrument that has little change since its beginning, the Guqin allows the player a deeper understanding and connection to what life was like thousands of years ago.