"The guzheng sings to my soul. Layers of art move through and across... every note provides an anchor from which to explore."
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". The performer sits with the head of the instrument and the straight bridge on their right and strokes or plucks 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 curving down the center of the instrument, the player can change the pitch with subtleties unattained in the repertoire of the west.
The instruments themselves are shockingly beautiful. Practically no lines are parallel. The soundboard curves 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!
Join the Community
The world of the guzheng is filled with wonderful people with fantastic stories. Checkout the Experts and Performers pages for bios of some of the faces in the greater guzheng community. Visit the forum to join discussions on everything guzheng related. And of course, you can always email Guzheng Alive with questions through the form below.
There are thousand of works written about the guzheng in Chinese languages but English sources are scarce. This is an effort to change that.
We need the community's help to truly tell this story. If you know of the instrument's history or have stories from your own, please email us. We would be happy to speak with you. Together we can make something wonderful. If you know of books or publications, share them! If you have stories of your own experiences please, please do let us know!