These are the people whose life efforts have enabled this project to take shape. 95%+ of the information on this site comes from their writings. Please, take time to delve into who they are and what they've done!
So many people owe their awareness and appreciation of the guzheng here in America to Carol Chang. She is the founder and proprietor of the "Sound of China Guzheng Music Promotion Center" in Hacienda Heights, California. She publishes a list of teachers around the country (and world!) through which I found my first guzheng teacher. Her store is where I ordered my first guzheng from.
Over the last 10 years Carol Chang has answered an exhausting range of questions on her forum with a depth and clarity unlike anything I've seen before. She has offered purchasing tips, helped players around the world understand the instrument, talked to those interested about their needs, and helped them troubleshoot all sorts of issues.
Carol Chang has also published massive sets of photographs from factory tours and the annual China Music trade show in Shanghai. I am repeatedly impressed at the level of detail her replies go into and the time she has taken to respond to so many messages. A new post from Carol is sure to reveal new layers the facts I thought I already understood. Learning from her reminds me how big the world of this instrument is and how little I know. I owe her a deep debt of gratitude for all that she has done.
Carol Chang's articles led directly to the Woods and Drying pages, have led to the planning of several more pages, and her discussions on various forums have helped me understand technical aspects of the instrument I would never have otherwise considered. She also hosts a one-of-a-kind list of guzheng teachers around the world.
Dr. Mei Han
Dr. Mei Han's PhD thesis is what changed me from wishing I could know more about the guzheng to wanting to create this site and share that information with others. Now a professor at Middle Tennessee University in Murfreesboro, Dr. Han is originally from Beijing. She performed all over China, experiencing the many musical changes that were taking place in the 1960s and 70s first hand. She received Master's degrees in Ethnomusicology from Musical Research Institute of the Chinese Arts Academy in Beijing and from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. She later went on to receive a PhD in Ethnomusicology from UBC and subsequently took up her position in Tennessee.
Dr. Han's writing is an extension of her life. She provides insight into the development of the guzheng in China that is unmatched in accessibility and thoroughness. Beyond her scholarship her skills as a performer are incredible. Dr. Han's music has covered a range of traditional and contemporary aspects, and I bet that if anyone tried to document the extent of her repertoire they would be writing for a very long time. She has collaborated with a range of musicians, two wonderful examples of which are below.
In addition to her work being the push that got me to consider creating this website, I relied heavily on it to understand the progression of the guzheng over time. That understanding makes up the bulk of the page describing an overview of the instrument's history. Dr. Han's thesis is also the basis for the Modern section of the Timeline and laid out the framework for the Guzheng Varieties page.
- CBC On The Go Podcast, November 23, 2017, an approachable conversation about the instrument, Dr. Han, and their history.
- Written interview from 2007 with Mike Heffley, an author supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship. The article is linked through the Wayback Machine as the blog has since been made inaccessible.
Other Invaluable Sources
Dr. Daniel Lee Ferguson:
Now at Columbia University and Hunter College (part of the City University of New York), it's Dr. Daniel Lee Ferguson's work that provided the starting point for documenting the many fingering techniques of the guzheng. His thesis is very dear to me because I found it while perusing the shelves of a university's library. It felt like the discovery of a buried treasure.
Profile from previous school, Utah Valley University
Dr. Deyuan Zheng (Te-yuan Cheng， 鄭德淵)
Dr. Deyuan Zheng (or Te-yuan Cheng as is written in his thesis) provided such a systematic description of changes to guzhengs over the years it enabled me to fill out the Pre-Modern section of the Timeline. He also provided great insight into how the instruments have been made over the years, leading to the Construction page.
In 2008 he was serving as Dean of the College of Music at Tainan National University of the Arts (as referenced in Annex 2 of Singapore's National Chinese Music Competition 2008 here).