The Chinese zither, called guqin (古琴), has existed for over 3,000 years and represents China’s foremost solo musical instrument tradition. The guqin was an instrument of great subtlety and refinement associated with the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius. Guqin playing developed as an elite art form, practised by noblemen and scholars in intimate settings, and was therefore never intended for public performance. The guqin was one of the four arts (琴,棋,书,画)– along with calligraphy, painting and an ancient form of chess – that Chinese scholars were expected to master. The guqin has seven strings and thirteen marked pitch positions. By attaching the strings in different ways, players can obtain a range of four octaves. The three basic playing techniques are known as san (open string), an (stopped string) and fan (harmonics).
By tradition, the qin originally had five strings, but ancient qin-like instruments with 10 or more strings have been found.
On 7 November 2003, UNESCO announced that the Chinese guqin was selected as an Intangible World Cultural Heritage. In 2006, guqin was listed in the List of National Non-material Cultural Heritage in China.
Guqin classes at Heritage Strings and Arts focus on building a strong foundation in music knowledge and playing techniques.
Guqin lessons progress in three main levels: Beginner (Grade 1-3), Intermediate (Grade 4-6), Advanced (Grade 7-Diploma). Each level is taught in a progressive and cumulative manner to optimise the potential of each student.
Lessons for beginners will involve the learning of string plucking techniques and reading of musical notes from traditional Chinese pieces. String play mastery and the learning of music pieces will be in accordance with the students’ learning ability and pace. Prior music experience is not required.
One-to-one classes are 45 minutes long.
Increases confidence and offers a sense of achievement
Relieves stress and contributes to emotional well being
Shape abilities and character
Helps develop the brain
Teaches discipline, focus and co-ordination
It is fun and a form of self-expression
Appreciate the history and culture of this 3000 year old instrument
Cultivates music appreciation and social skills
Our syllabus is based on the Teng Academy Graded Examinations for Chinese Music Instruments. Students will learn to master a range of technical finger practices and traditional pieces.
Getting A New Instrument?
Don’t have your own Guqin (古琴) to get started on your musical journey? Browse our curated collection of Guqin (古琴) at our Heritage Strings, catering to all musical levels.