Libmonster ID: U.S.-1258
Author(s) of the publication: A. D. PAVLOVA

"Music is a source of joy for wise people, it is able to evoke good thoughts in the people, it penetrates deeply into their consciousness and easily changes mores and customs"

Xun Tzu (c. 313-c. 238 BC)

"Music ennobles morals"

Aristotle

Music is one of the wonders created by chance by man, but it has become one of the greatest in nature. It is in everything and in everyone. In the whisper of the wind, in the chime of the rain, in the singing of birds and a human voice, in the violin and the drum.

Musical culture is a special world that reflects both the history and the character of each individual nation. States arise and disappear, empires perish, seas dry up, and music lives on.

Chinese culture is one of the oldest on our planet. Its diversity and contrasts attract the attention of the whole world. Although there were decadence, fragmentation, and brutal wars, Chinese culture has come down to us, preserving many ancient traditions. This is especially evident in the musical tradition.

Chinese music is peculiar to the European ear, but this does not detract from its beauty. It was as if the sounds of nature and a human voice were intertwined in it. It is amazing how diverse the set of musical instruments made of wood, bamboo, leather, etc. is.

The first mention of musical instruments in China dates back to the Shang (XVI-XI centuries BC) and Zhou (XI-VIII centuries BC) eras. According to documentary sources, there was already a well-developed musical tradition at that time.

Among the Chinese national musical instruments, the most famous are: erhu, pipa, bamboo flute, bells (bianzhong), ancient Chinese harp (guqin), cymbals, gu zheng, domra, drums, etc.

I want to introduce you to one of the most unique Chinese musical instruments - gu zheng.

Gu zheng is a stringed plucked instrument about 160 cm long, 30 cm wide and 10 cm high. Its upper part is slightly concave. On it, approximately in the middle, pegs are installed, through which the strings are stretched. Inside, the gu zheng is hollow, with three slots for playing and pulling strings. Gu Zheng consists of a show (whale. - head), zheng (board), Wei (tail) and sides. They play the gu zheng with their fingers, which are sometimes covered with special nail plates attached to the finger pad.

Gu zheng* is one of the pearls in the treasury of national musical instruments of China. The art of playing it is an amazing and ancient part of Chinese musical culture.

Gu Zheng's birthplace is in what is now Shaanxi and Gansu provinces1. The first mention of it (then simply - zheng) refers to 770-475 BC. e., as stated in the" Historical Notes " of Sima Qian2. It became especially popular during the Qin Dynasty (3rd century BC), and gradually it spread widely in all the kingdoms. In the Tang period (618-907), the development of Gu Zheng to-


* The name "gu zheng" consists of two characters: gu - old, zheng-snake. Initially, the instrument was called simply zheng - snake, as the board with strings on it resembled a snake.

page 74

As the music reached its peak, melodies became more and more popular, many families specialized in producing and playing the instrument, and new musical compositions were composed.

The next peak of development occurred in the second half of the XX century. In 1953, the composer Zhao Yuuzhai composed "Celebration of the Harvest Year", where the part for the left hand was written for the first time. This innovation significantly enriched the variety of game techniques. Since 1965, there have been many ways to change the timbre of the sound.

Originally, gu zheng was made from bamboo, which was round in shape. Later, it is made of wood, and the shape becomes similar to a long rectangular box. Once there were 5 strings, later 7, 13, and finally 21, 24, and even 29. The material for the strings was gradually changed - from silk to wrapped with steel wire or nylon.

Thanks to the changes, Gu Zheng's sound became richer, the sound range expanded, and the palette of sound shades was diversified. There were also changes in the technique of playing the gu zheng.

The modern gu zheng has a standard length of 163 cm and 21 strings. The surface of gu zheng is mainly made of paulownia felta (Adam's wood) to add more melody; the frame is made of pine bunge to enhance the sound; four sides around-from two varieties of mahogany, sassafras (laurel family) or red sandalwood for beauty. Often, patterns are cut out on the instrument, inserts are made of mother-of-pearl, precious metals, poetic lines are applied, miniatures are drawn, or silk is covered. Along with the traditional forms of gu zheng, modern ones appear: shortened, in the form of a butterfly, and the so-called "inverted" (where they play on the left, and change the timbre on the right).

The 21 strings on the gu zheng are divided into 4 octaves. Each of them has 5 strings: do, re, mi, sol, la, a fa I si they play with the help of certain techniques with the left hand on the strings mi and la accordingly. String salt always green , so it's easier to remember other strings.

The gu zheng is usually played with the right hand, on the right side of the pegs. Use your left hand to change the sound's timbre and key. For the game, three fingers are most often used: the thumb, index finger, and middle finger. Sometimes also unnamed. Play with one or two fingers at once or alternately. There are many ways and techniques of playing the game...

The music played on the gu zheng is a prime example of true Chinese music. It is unmistakable. It resembles the sounds of nature: the sound of torrential rain, the lapping of waves at the seashore, drops of water falling from the leaves, the murmur of mountain rivers... The melody can be either barely audible, or loud, majestic; both slow and very fast, when it is impossible to distinguish individual sounds. The sound of gu zheng is clear, sonorous, and the instrument allows you to extract a sound that sometimes sways, rises, and slowly falls down.

There are 9 most well-known gu zheng species-from Shaanxi, Shandong, Henan, Chaozhou, Zhejiang, Fujian, Inner Mongolia (Yatoke), as well as the national hakka and Korean (elongated gu zheng).

In China, 10 classical pieces for national musical instruments are still known to this day. Among them, 5 are for Gu Zheng: "Water flows high in the mountains", "Hills spread wide", "Wild Goose landed on smooth sand", "Plum Blossoms", "18 drum beats".

All over the country , there are many schools, courses, and classes for playing the gu zheng, which is probably as popular as the piano, if not more. National competitions of performers are held annually. There are various programs on television that teach you how to play the gu zheng. Buying self-help books and sheet music is not a problem. It is usually taught to girls, but we have also met men who learn the art of playing the gu zheng, and elderly elders who master the techniques. Modern pop tunes are "rearranged" to be played on gu zheng.

Today, gu zheng is quite popular in China. As a rule, it is one of the mandatory instruments in concerts of classical Chinese national music.


1 Quan guozhongwen hexin tigan. Ishubaijia. Aolunguzhu (National Periodicals. Hundreds of art schools): Yu tian tian (About Gu zheng). Nanjing, 2004, p. 99-100.

2 Zhongguo shinshi jidushuwan. Shiji. (Chinese Modern Internet Library) - http://www.cnread.net/cnreadl/lszl/s/simaqian/sj / (Historical notes of Sima Qian).


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