Digital / Websites
Guzheng.cn is my top recommendation for guzheng sheet music. It allows you to search for sheet music for songs as well as to find recordings and videos to learn from. If you are at a loss of where to start, head over to our Repertoire page, find a song at the right level for you, and click the “Guzheng.cn” link. It will take you to a search for that song on guzheng.cn. The first category in the search results, 视频, is video. The second, 古筝曲, is audio recordings, and the third category, 古筝谱, is the sheet music.
There are more websites with sheet music than just guzheng.cn. Here are five more recommendations:
http://gzq.guzhengw.cn/ subdivides their music into school or style. Use your trusty web translator to find songs from Henan, Shandong, Chaozhou, and others.
http://pu.guqu.net/ - more about folk music and older songs.
http://www.cnscore.com - general purpose, all instruments.
http://www.yueqixuexi.com/ - general purpose, all instruments.
These sites really shine when searching for covers of TV and movie theme songs, popular music, and the old classics. Covers of western songs are harder to find.
Physical music books are totally viable! Your first option would be to go to one of the stores on the Retailers page and order from them. They should be able to help you pick from among their selection. Most stores offer collections of songs, learning materials, and practice exercises. Remember, you don’t need to limit yourself to English - all you need is to be able to read the music!
If you do want English descriptions of what you are doing then there are 6 English titles that I know of, 3 of which are produced by the US guzheng shops themselves:
Teaching Foreigners to Play Guzheng - not linked until I can find a direct link to the publisher.
How to Play Guzheng, the Chinese Zither: The Basic Skills NOTE: I am including this because it exists but do not recommend it; from my understanding it is overly simplified, very short, and does not offer much in the way of musical scores.
You don’t have to limit yourself to English though. Sheet music is its own language. Amazon would be your easiest source for Chinese music books. Search for 古筝 or guzheng and limit your results to books. You’ll have plenty to choose from.
If you are using a specific site search or even a general search engine it may be helpful to know that sheet music often has a naming convention of "Name (instrument details)" such as Fisherman's Song (guzheng part) or Fisherman's Song (Guzheng Erhu duo). Build your own queries with the words below:
Bamboo Flute: 竹笛
Orchestral Score: 管弦乐队分谱
Score (General term): 曲谱
Folk Music Scores: 民歌曲谱
Final Source - Talk to People!
Chances are someone out there already has the sheet music you are looking for. Ask around in your community or contact a local ensemble or teacher. Musicians often have stacks of old sheet music and many would be happy to photocopy a page or two. Maybe offer to scan all of their old music in exchange for using the copies for your personal enjoyment.
Please note: Many scores are hand written due to a lack of easily accessible cipher music notation software. Make sure you get appropriate permission and credit before using them. Even if it’s the transcription of a classic, ancient song, someone took the time to write it down. They deserve credit for their work.