Guzheng, (pronounced 'Goo-Ghung') is a stringed instrument, plucked by hand (often with a pick). Part of the zither family, it is an
Chinese musical instrument that dates back to Qin dynasty (before 206 BC). In fact, the first part of the instruments title: "Gu" means 'ancient'
Chinese. Its history goes as far back as the Spring Autumn Warring State Period where it was widely played in Qing State area, and that’s
was previously named Qing Zheng.
The body shape of Guzheng is a combination of oblong and oval. The head and tail of Guzheng are fixed with bridges on which strings
lined across, and each string is also supported by a peg (which is movable) so that the pitch of a string can be fixed and adjusted. The
Guzheng has only five strings, but from the time of the Qing Dynasty on to Ming and Qing Dynasties, the number of strings increased from 12
Prior to 1961, most Asian Guzhengs had 16 strings, but the development of the S-shaped string rest allowed for easier tuning and
resonance to support the 21 stringed models. The new Asian zheng instrument model offered 4 octaves, whereas the 16 stringed models
offered 3 octaves.
Traditional playing techniques are as follows:
The thumb, the index, middle finger and ring finger of the right hand are used for plucking while the index, the middle and the ring finger of the
for pressing, thus create a variety of tone colors. Plucking is often done with four plectra (picks) attached to the fingers.
During the long course of Guzheng’s development it has influenced and helped form five major schools, namely: Shangdong, Henan,
Chaozhou, Hakka and Zhejiang. Each school shares some common playing techniques but each still maintains unique techniques and pieces.
Guzheng offers a simplified structure, richness in expression and tranquility of its tone.