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Guzheng Lessons and Performances in Los Angeles and Boston
Guzheng Lessons in Los Angeles
Guzheng lessons in Los Angeles are taught by Barbie Chien, whom also gives Guzheng performances in and around Los Angeles.
As a member of Los Angeles Classical Chinese Orchestra since 1994, Chien has performed for audiences throughout Southern California at venues such as Cox Arena in San Diego, James Armstrong Theatre in Torrance, San Gabriel Civic Auditorium, and Santa Barbara Museum of Arts. Her performance with the Orchestra at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for Los Angeles' 38th Annual Holiday Celebration was broadcast on KCET and hit action TV series Martial Law on CBS.
Guzheng Performances in Boston
Guzheng performances in Boston are given by Yun. Yun obtained the eighth level of Guzheng (Chinese Zither), the second to the highest level, authorized by The National Music Examination Committee of the Chinese Musicians' Association.
Please contact us for more information.
Guzheng, or Chinese Zither
Article from http://www.philmultic.com/guzheng/ with Modifications
Guzheng, pronounced "Goo-Jeng", also known as Chinese zither, is a stringed instrument. It is one of the most ancient Chinese musical instruments according to the documents written in the Qin dynasty (before 206 BC). Guzheng is the forerunner of Japanese koto, Korean kayagum, Mongolian yatag, and Vietnamese dan tranh. Guzheng has been a popular instrument since the ancient times. It is one of the main chamber as well as solo instruments in Chinese music industry.
Origin of Name: Because of its long history, the first character of its name,
"gu" means "ancient." About the second character “zheng,” there are legends. One
version says that once upon time, a 25-stringed Chinese zither owner had two
daughters, both of whom were talented with playing this instrument. When the
owner became too old to bequeath the instrument, both of his daughters wanted
it. With a broken heart, the owner split the instrument into two parts. One part
had 12 strings, and the other got 13. To his surprise, the new instruments
sounded more mellow and beautiful than originally. The happy owner gave the new
instruments a new name "zheng," just the second character for guzheng’s name.
This Chinese character is composed of two parts. The top part means “bamboo,”
which seems to indicate that the early version of zheng was made of bamboo. The
bottom part can be used as an independent character, which means “contest” and
has the same pronunciation with "zheng." Some researchers say guzheng’s name is
simply from what it sounds like, “Jeng, Jeng, Jeng.”
Appearance: Guzheng is build with a long wooden sound body with strings crossing over. Its body is always enchased in ancient Chinese designs. Each string was supported by a movable bridge. Now zheng has 21-25 strings. It had 16 strings in the Song and Ming dynasty (the 10th - 15th century). In the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907AD) it was built with 12 to 13 strings. In the early times guzheng had 5 strings.
Tuning: The pitch of a string is determined by its degree of tightness and the position of its bridge. Therefore, guzheng can be tuned into broad scales. It uses the traditional pentatonic scale. An instrumentalist usually plucks the strings with the right hand. The left hand presses the strings to get a higher pitch or create ornaments.
Techniques: Since the mid-19th century the solo repertoires have evolved the techniques of playing guzheng. Contemporary repertoires play complicated harmonies with four fingers of each hand except for the little fingers.