A wider range of musical capability: the guzheng

By Chen Ziqi China Plus Published: 2019-02-03 19:09:24
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This is Chords of China. In this episode, we will introduce a traditional musical instrument—the guzheng, or 21-stringed zither.

Having over 2500-years of history, this instrument is never too archaic to integrate into modern society. In fact, it has marvelous musical capability that it can establish a musical intercourse with western opera; it works well with ancestral and new-age genres, and it symbolizes the quintessence of eastern civilization.

Several top guzheng instrumentalists in the nation join us today to share their in-depth perceptions of this instrument and what the role it has played in their life.

[Photo:courtesy of KFan Weiqing]

[Photo:courtesy of Fan Weiqing]

Fan Weiqing is a guzheng soloist from the Central Broadcasting Traditional Instruments Orchestra. She has recorded all the existing guzheng pieces that belong to Hakka style by using a special duplicate, which was made by very precious wood materials. This contributed to a uniqueness of sound among other pieces alike. Surprisingly, while Fan was in college, she was once in Cui Jian's band, reputed as “the father of Chinese rock music”. Hence, she is going to demonstrate how the guzheng can be adapted in new-age genres to suit the taste of modern musical enthusiasts.

[Photo:courtesy of Yuan Sha]

[Photo:courtesy of Yuan Sha]

Yuan Sha is a guzheng instrumentalist and educator. In a bid to make guzheng music more approachable, she has directed and performed in the first ever guzheng stage play, incorporating poetry recitation, dancing and acting. Furthermore, her special-designed guzheng performance during the 2017 BRICS nation's gala implies comparability and elegance to the famous segment "None shall Sleep" from the Italian opera titled "Turandot".

[Photo:courtesy of Shang Jingya]

[Photo:courtesy of Shang Jingya]

Shang Jingya, a guzheng performer from the Beijing Peking Opera Theater, has been making contributions to introduce the guzheng into the ensemble of Peking opera over the past one decade. Thanks to the unique timbre, tone and playing techniques of the guzheng, it plays an important role in enriching the charm of Peking opera. This new method successfully broadens the potential of these cultural crafts.

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