Top 10 Traditional Guzheng Music

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
January 1, 2017Style
Top 10 Traditional Guzheng Music

The Guzheng, also written as gu zheng (古筝), is a traditional Chinese plucked zither. This musical instrument is very popular in China today and many young girls like to play it. Therefore, the Guzheng is sometimes called “Chinese harp” or “Chinese piano”. The sound of Guzheng is full of Chinese typical flavor and there are many famous pieces of music. Here we create a list of the top 10 most popular traditional Guzheng music and hope you like them.

playing guzheng

1. Gao Shan Liu Shui《高山流水》

There is a legend about this music, Yu Boya, a guqin master during the Spring and Autumn Period (722 BC-481 BC), once played Guqin (a traditional Chinese instrument) in the wild land. To his surprise, a woodman named Zhong Ziqi could understand that he was depicting the magnificence of high mountains and the vigor of running water. Yu realized that the man could understand him and share his thoughts. The two soon became good friends since then. When Zhong died, Yu smashed his Guqin as he thought nobody could understand his music again. For this reason, Gao Shan Liu Shui or High Mountain and Flowing Water in English, symbolizes cherished friendship in Chinese culture.

2. Yu Zhou Chang Wan《渔舟唱晚》

The well-known Guzheng music Yu Zhou Chang Wan (English name: Evening Songs on the Fishing Boat) was created by Lou Shuhua between 1938-1939. The piece of music opened a new era of Guzheng music. It vividly depicts the pleasant lake and mountain view in the sunset and the scene of fishermen rushing to home while singing beautiful songs on fishing boat.

3. Mei Hua San Nong 《梅花三弄》

Mei Hua San Nong a traditional Chinese music. The music can be dated back to the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420). Mei Hua (Chinese language) is plum blossom and Sannong means repeating the major melody for 3 times. This piece of music conveys the loneliness of the composer and self-admiration of ancient Chinese scholars.

4. Han Gong Qiu Yue 《汉宫秋月》

Han Gong Qiu Yue means “Autumn Moon Over the Han Palace”. It is considered to convey the hidden bitterness and depression of the maids in Han imperial palace. It was originally a Guqin music, but today the Guzheng (Chinese zither) version are more widely performed in China.

5. Han Ya Xi Shui 《寒鸦戏水》

Han Ya Xi Shui, or known as A Jackdaw Playing With Water, is one of the traditional Chinese music in Chaozhao area, The song uses technique “Heavy VI ” tune to depicts the scene of jackdaws playing in the water in autumn, The song expresses people’s love to the nature.

6. Jiao Chuang Ye Yu 《蕉窗夜雨》

Jiao Chuang Ye Yu, or The Night Rain Outside the Window in English, is a famous piece of music of Guzheng instrument from Hakka, Guangdong province. There’s no way to know who composed the music, it is believed to date back to the Song Dynasty. The music depicts the travelers homesickness while listening to sound of rain falling on the banana leaves.

7. Chu Shui Lian《出水莲》

Chu Shui Lian, or Lotus Flowers Emerging from Water in English, is a Guangdong Hakka traditional Zheng music. With simple tone and elegant style, it shows noble sentiment of the lotus which are always clear when grown out of the dirty mud, and are always seductive when pured by the clean water.

8. Qin Sang Qu《秦桑曲》

Qin Sang Qu, or Qin Mulberry Melody is a Guzheng solo created by Zhou Yanjia, who composed the music according to Li Bai’s poem 《春思》 “Spring Thoughts“: The grasses of Yan are like jade threads, The mulberry trees of Qin have low, green branches. The day you think of returning home, my heart is already broken. One does not know the spring breeze, so why does it enter my bed curtains? The music integrates Shaanxi local opera with innovated Chinese zither techniques, portraying an ancient woman’s thoughts of distant relatives.

9. Dong Hai Yu Ge《东海渔歌》

Dong Hai Yu Ge (East Sea Fishing Song in English) was created by Zhang Yan in 1975. The piece of music was inspired by fishermen’s life on East China Sea. It expresses fishermen’s joyous and stressful working life, as well as their love and longing for a new life.

10. Zhan Tai Feng《战台风》

Zhan Tai Feng, or English name: Fighting Against Typhoon, was composed by Wang Lv Yuan in 1965. It vividly displays the scene of dockers’ courageous fighting against Typhoon and their heroic spirit. It also created some playing techniques which were never used before.