Story of The Invention of Guqin.
           Connection between Qin and Taoism.

The Three Basic Sound Formats of Guqin

San yin - Open String, the left hand does not press down any string, total 7 tones. Also described as the earth sound. Sound quality is wide and open.

Fan Yin - Harmonics, slightly touch the string to change the sound wave. There are 91 positions where you can create harmonics and at least 42 harmonic tones can be heard from a qin. Described as the heaven sound. Sound quality is clear and light.

An Yin - Press down the string. Total more than 147 tones. Described as human sound. Sound quality is rich and thick.

"Word Notes" and "Simplified Notes"

The earliest known qin notes were written in Chinese characters for qin players to remember how to play each song. (see Original You Lan Notation, from Tokyo National Museum Website, which is the earliest known Guqin notes from Tang Dynasty 618-907 AD). For example, the first sentence of You Lan is telling the player to recline the left middle finger on the slightly left side of the 10th dot and press down the 2nd string. The 2nd sentence is telling the player to use the right middle and index finger to double “qian” the 1st and 2nd string. And so on.

It was just like writing a note saying where and what the finger should play. It does not tell the rhythm. But the tuning mode was indicated in front of a group of qin pieces which has the same tuning mode. So once you know the tuning and you know where to position your fingers, the rest is a great creativity for qin players to present whatever feeling they want to present.

The early form of writing music down was said to be created by a qin player Yong Men-Zhou 庸門周 during the Warring States Period 480-221 B.C. So Called Wen-Zi-Pu, (literate notation). Later there was the invention of Jian-Zi-Pu (abbreviated Chinese notation), which was created by Cao-Rou 曹柔 and Zhao Ye-li 趙耶利 in the middle of the Tang Dynasty. They simplified the Chinese characters to a symbol system that has been used until now. For more information, please see “Finger Technique and Notation.”

Main Menu
Copyright 2001-2013 Judy (Pei-You) Chang