"The guzheng sings to my soul. Layers of art move through and across... every note provides an anchor from which to explore."
What is Guzheng?
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 moveable 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. Visit the forum to join discussions on everything guzheng related. Check out upcoming events on the calendar to enjoy this art in person. Email Guzheng Alive with questions through the form below. You can also submit upcoming events if you know of some we've missed.
There are thousand of works written about the guzheng in Chinese languages but English language sources are few and far between. This is an effort to change that.
To truly tell these stories of the instrument, its music, and the community, we need the community's help. If you know of the instrument's history or have stories about it, please email us. There's a form at the bottom of every page you can use to send a message. If you know of books or publications, share them! If you have stories of your own experiences please, please do let us know! We would be happy to speak with you. Together we can make something wonderful.