Guzheng 筝 Alive
What is Guzheng Alive?
Guzheng Alive is an English-language resource for all things guzheng. It aims to provide information about the instrument, its music, and the people who enjoy it. Join the conversation on Discord or peruse the forum.
What is a Guzheng?
The gǔzhēng (古筝) is a long zither from China. The name is Mandarin Chinese for "ancient zither". "Gu" is pronounced close to "goo" and "zheng" similar to "jung". Performers typically sit with the rectangular head of the instrument on their right and pluck the strings in front of them. If they only did this you'd think it was a harp - but then the left side comes in.
By pressing and vibrating the strings to the left of the movable bridges, that array of supports that curve down the center of the instrument, the player can change the pitch with subtleties rarely found in the repertoire of the West.
Guzheng are shockingly beautiful. Practically no lines are parallel. The soundboards curve in two directions, the strings lift up in a sweeping array of lines, and even the underside is curved upwards. So many parts come together to create this wondrous fusion of new and old. It's calling to you: Explore!
"The guzheng sings to my soul. Layers of art move through and across... every note provides an anchor from which to explore."