Sitting in front of my Guzheng, I cannot help recalling all of the memories of learning this Chinese traditional musical instrument. My love of music and Chinese culture has motivated me to persist in playing the Guzheng for eighteen years, striving for mastery. There were many ups and downs during those eighteen years with tears of sorrow and joy, along with moments of solitude and reflection. Yet, all the challenges during the process have made me stronger, and the Guzheng, has become my best friend.
The Guzheng should be one of the oldest traditional musical instruments in China. Can you imagine that it has a history of 2000 years? As Lu introduced on the Chamber Music Blog, “The Guzheng is a plucked zither instrument that originates from ancient China, and dates back to early forms of the instrument in the Warring States period, 475 – 221 BCE. It was the most popular instrument in China in the Qin period and Tang Dynasty.”
You haven’t heard about it before? Let me show this gorgeous instrument to you!
Modern Guzheng usually has 21 strings with 21 movable bridges as well. Strings were made from silk but now are mostly made from nylon in order to increase the capability.
We play it with eight fake picks, which will be taped around fingertips when we pluck the strings. But my fingers are still going to be hurt if I practice it a lot because we have to press the strings on the left side of the Guzheng to create the sound of “Fa” and “Xi”.
It’s a solo instrument but we also play it often with other traditional instruments and even western instrument. Isn’t it cool to combine Chinese traditional music with western music? Check it out to enjoy the piece, which is also a piano concerto that is called Tune of Rainbow Cloud that was played by me on my second recital. Also, there is another piece called West Capriccio, which was played by Guzheng and Djembe on my second recital as well.
Guzheng makes me still be special. Although I was forced by my “tiger mom” to learn it when I was four, I truly appreciate her decision. I cannot imagine my life with Guzheng.It is a language for me except English to communicate with native speakers. It is a tool to relax myself out of my stressful coursework. And it is a true friend that always stays with me.
If you are interested in listening more, click the links below for more pieces that were played by me on my first recital several years ago. Hope you love this traditional Chinese instrument after reading this article.