Type: Chordophones > Zithers > Long > Fretless.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 314.122.4
Bayin: 絲 Silk.
Region: Far East Asia.
Description: The guqin [in Chinese: 古琴 pronunciation in IPA: kùtɕʰǐn] is a plucked seven-stringed Chinese musical instrument of the zither family. Traditionally been favoured by scholars and literati as an instrument of great subtlety and refinement, as highlighted by the quote “a gentleman does not part with his qin or se without good reason”.
It is mentioned in Chinese writings dating back nearly 3,000 years and examples have been found in tombs from about 2,500 years ago. The exact origins of the qin is still a very much continuing subject of debate over the past few decades.
Factoid: In 1977 a recording of “Flowing Water” composed by Liu Shui and arranged by Guan Pinghu; one of the best qin players of the 20th century] was chosen to be included in the Voyager Golden Record, a gold-plated LP recording containing music from around the world, which was sent into outer space by NASA on the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft. It is the longest excerpt included on the disc.
Dating back as early as the Nan Dynasty [494 AD 220 AD] and possibly earlier. t is estimated that there are over three thousand qin pieces in existence, and many of these pieces are still played today on the qin.
Older qin are considered collectors items, with existing instruments dating back as far as the Tang Dynasty [618 – 907 AD]. Some of these qin can be heard on CDs recently released on Chinese, and Taiwanese record companies.
Tuning: Pentatonic [5 note] C Major Scale C / D / F / G / A / c / d.
Citations: Bibliography: Websites: Randy Raine-Reusch @ Asza.com [Gu Qin, Article]