Shuishan Yu | Guqin Music: the Vibrant Rhythm of Ancient Heroes

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World: Chinese traditional Classical: Traditional Moods: Instrumental
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Guqin Music: the Vibrant Rhythm of Ancient Heroes

by Shuishan Yu

Masterpieces from classical Chinese music performed on an instrument with a millenniums-long history. Here are the sounds of ancient wandering poets, upright officials, hermitic scholars, and loyal assassins.
Genre: World: Chinese traditional
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Without Ulterior Motives
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5:02 $0.99
2. Evening Song of the Drunken Fishermen
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4:26 $0.99
3. Moon Over the Mountain Pass (Transposed)
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2:08 $0.99
4. Three Variations On the Theme of Yang Pass
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4:56 $0.99
5. Returning After Resigning
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5:22 $0.99
6. Mist and Clouds Over the Xiao and Xiang Rivers
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8:44 $0.99
7. A Night-Mooring Near Maple Bridge
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2:56 $0.99
8. Scratching One's Head and Beseeching Heaven
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8:25 $0.99
9. Lofty Mountains
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7:52 $0.99
10. Beating Cloth
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7:02 $0.99
11. Guangling San
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8:35 $0.99
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
Many unique features of guqin make its contemporary development a challenge. On the cultural level, guqin and Chinese history are closely related. The emphasis on moral and ritual aspects of music in Confucianism and the fusion of art forms in the literati tradition require guqin participants to be very familiar with Chinese calligraphy, painting, historical anecdotes, and literature. On the conceptual level, the rhythm of guqin music has a syntactic structure like Classical Chinese text, with no regular time and beats as in most other musical traditions. Another example is the central role played by fingering, which is not just a means to achieve sound but the essence of guqin aesthetics. On the communication level, guqin notation is daunting for those who do not know Chinese characters. On the artistic level, guqin players need to make more effort to recreate music, such as the interpretation of rhythm in the dapu process and the option of ornamentations. And on the technical level, the fingering uncertainty as a result of the variable string arrangement, the missing of hand positions in fingering and so on, are different from other string instruments.

On one hand, these characteristics make it difficult for the wide spread of guqin; on the other hand, the potential of its unique quality was not completely exhausted in the traditional repertoire, such as the emphasis on timbre, choreographic fingering, integration with other instruments and so on. There are rooms for new development. Most works in this disc are centuries old, but some are the author’s new attempts.


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