Chinese 古琴 Guqin Zither

View in iTunes Chinese 古琴 Guqin Zither: Experience zen sounds of the ancient Chinese Guqin Zither a.k.a. Chinese Violin Guitar, which Confucius praised as the gentlemen’s music instrument of choice.
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How to fix the “NO Sound” issue.

Rated a KILLER APP by apps4idevices – Here’s their sample

古琴 Guqin Zither version 1.3

Harmonic Overtones – ‘ = an octave up

Chinese 古琴 Guqin Zither – 射鵰英雄傳之鐵血丹心

The Chinese Guqin Zither is one of the oldest music instruments in the world, dating back 5000+ years. Unique in being fretless, the Guqin allows continuous pitch sliding much like the violin or cello. And like the classical guitar, the player uses the right hand to pluck and strum the strings while the left hand controls the pitches of the seven strings turned in the major pentatonic scale C D F G A C D or Do Re Fa So Ra Do Re.

It was designed with one technique particularly in mind and that is the heavy usage of harmonics. The ancient Chinese invented the harmonic system even before sine waves existed to describe string wave dynamics. The spots on the soundboard are called harmonic spots, which guide the player as to where harmonics can be triggered clearly.

Its beautiful relaxing tones and expressive complexity have made it the ancient scholar’s music instrument of choice. Needless to say, it was expected that all upper class nobles be masters of the Guqin. Sages such as Confucius wrote many scriptures on the Guqin and praised it as the gentlemen’s instrument.

Now everyone with an iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad can experience the joy of playing the Chinese Guqin Zither.

8 Responses to Chinese 古琴 Guqin Zither

  1. anndelise says:

    I’m so excited about this app. I’d been looking for an expressive string instrument that used harmonic overtones as it’s “scale”. Only last night aug 4, did I learn that the Guqin exited. But the prices are more than I can experiment with. And while watching youtube videos of people playing the Guchin, I found your videos for this app. And it had just been uploaded on the 3rd? Perfect, lol.

    I do have a question though… the dots (hui?)… which fractions are each meant to represent?

    Oh, and I watched your other videos, for your other music apps. I liked what I saw so much that I bought most of them as well. I particularly love the harp one…since that’s the main instrument I’m trying to learn. Mostly what sold me and my daughter was that you’re obviously a musician who loves music. Your apps are designed with the intent to actually create music using the iphone, rather than merely trying to replicate the mechanics of playing the physical instrument onto a flat screen environment. Now…when will the iPad versions come out? 😉 (that’s what I use)

    Anyways, if you would let me know which fractions the dots are meant to represent, either here or by email, that would be great, thank you.

    • Calling a qin a “violin guitar” hurts qin players’ ears…but awesome work you’ve done!

      Anndelise: The hui shown here are from hui 13 to hui 7, also known as the Xiajun (lower register). The fractions they represent are:
      7th: 1/2, 8th: 3/5
      9th: 2/3 (4/6), 10th: 3/4
      11th: 4/5, 12th: 5/6, 13th: 7/8

      As stated on the Youtube video, would love to see a “full sized qin”. The plucking mechanism sounded un-human friendly at first, but I think I’m coming to realize how it imitates real life…

      2 suggestions regarding the strings: Perhaps show us how to change or customize the pitch of the strings (in case we want the Waidiao/external tunings), and make the plucking interface a little wider (so that we can play with more than just the thumb)?

  2. RL says:

    this is a wonderful app! thanks so much for putting it up and your tutorials. btw, would you mind putting up more tutorials for new pieces? I read some of your commentary and you said that you like to play contemporary pieces from movie scores and Jay Chou. Much appreciated if you could put up more of these tutorials!! Thanks!!

  3. Ashley says:

    Wow, I have been thinking if someone would create an App for Guqin in Pad, and here it is! That’s fantastic! I wonder if such app be available on Android system soon? Thank you for your hard work.

  4. admin says:

    Version 1.0 requires shaking the device to enter the setup page. From version 1.0.1, a 4-finger swipe-down will open up the setup page. Version 1.1 is on the way with some major improvements.

  5. Chinuajin says:

    What a wonderful iPhone app ! Despite a very steep learning curve, this instrument is fun the second you download it. True, it’s a bit cramped on the phone (now I want an iPad !!!), but with the proper attention, the music you can create is really amazing.

    The biggest problem I’ve run into with ver.1.1 is that the plucking is VERY problematical on the iPhone, esp. if you use a case. You simply don’t have the space to do a proper two-finger pluck, as you do with the iPad. With perseverance, it will come.

    At first, I was afraid that the app was a battery hog… until I looked at the time. I had spent 6 hours playing, and I would swear that it was only 1 (one and a half hours, tops!!). THAT’S how addictive this app is. After six hours, I felt rejuvenated.

    Granted, the Guqin is not for everybody. The Sages realized that centuries ago (and actually got snobbishly elitist about it… blaming a lack of culture in the Listener, if the music was not appreciated! A wonderful out for any Artist… “I MEANT to do that, you Philistine snot-rag !!” *giggles*). If you don’t care for Pentatonic Music, look for another app.

    If you DO have the taste for Asian Music and Culture, this app will teach you more in a short time than you’d ever imagine. If you also meditate, you’ll have found a new and fascinating tool.
    Focus is everything with the Guqin, Actual or Virtual. Being focused will help your playing more than anything besides Practice. Remain focused, and your practice becomes worthwhile.

    This is a wonderful app. One of those “OMG!!! your iPhone’ll do THAT ??” apps that leave people amazed (and/or befuddled, if you hand it to them). Fun, instructive, and a great example of how humans can interact beautifully with our Digital beasties.

  6. Chinuajin says:

    I should note that I play all sorts of strange instruments, and have for many years. (Presently working on my Dissertation in Early Music). I would have to call your Guqin app a TRUE instrument (rather than the run-of-the-mill playthings that abound in the iStore).

    Its response is really quite remarkable, and the student is sure to have many hours of fruitful Practice ahead of them. Even on the iPhone, the Guqin is (or CAN BE…) supremely emotive. On the iPad, the experience must be spectacular. Just as with any physical Instrument, your Guqin seems to really work with the Player (who, of course is working with the Instrument) to a surprising degree.

    I can’t help but picture Mr. Spock playing this in his quarters, perhaps backed up by Sulu on some sort of Virtual Xian. :)

  7. l says:

    please make this app available on Android! I need it

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