Chords of history: The legend of adding strings to Guqin between King Wen and King Wu of Zhou

27 views · Organized by 袁城 on 2024-05-14

In the history of ancient Chinese music, Guqin is not only a musical instrument, but also a carrier of culture. Its development process contains rich historical and humanistic feelings. Among them, the story of "King Wen of Zhou and King Wu of Zhou plus Xian" not only reflects the evolution of the shape and system of Guqin, but also reflects the virtue and governance concept of the two Kings.

Chords of history: The legend of adding strings to Guqin between King Wen and King Wu of Zhou

The six strings of grace of King Wen of Zhou

The story takes place at the beginning of the Zhou Dynasty, when Ji Chang, King Wen of Zhou, ruled the country with his benevolence and was deeply loved by the people. One day, he was walking in the palace garden, full of thoughts for his son Bo Yi Kao. Bo Yi Kao died in his early years because of loyalty and filial piety, and his deeds are deeply moving. In order to commemorate this filial son and to express his deep affection for his subjects, King Wen of Zhou decided to add a string to the original banjo. This sixth string not only represents the mourning for the deceased, but also means the king's care and responsibility for the people in the world, symbolizing the sublimation of virtue and family inheritance.

King Wu of Zhou's ambition of seven strings

Following King Wen, his son Ji Fa, King Wu of Zhou, led the Zhou army to overthrow the tyrannical Shang Dynasty and establish a new order. In the tense moments of preparing for the emperor's defeat, King Wu realized that music could boost morale and unite people. So, on the basis of his father, he once again added a string to the guqin, making it a seven-stringed harp. The addition of this seventh string is not only the expansion of the musical range, but also symbolizes the combination of force and wisdom, which means that King Wu of Zhou rules martial arts with literature, combines benevolence and power, and creates a new era. The birth of the Lyra also heralded the further improvement of the culture and political ideas of the Zhou Dynasty, and became a model for the governance of the world in later generations.

The cultural implication of the string of civil and military

The move of King Wen and King Wu of Zhou to add strings not only enriched the musical expression of Guqin, but also gave it profound cultural connotation. The addition of six strings and seven strings is not only an important event in the history of the development of ancient Chinese Musical Instruments, but also becomes a good story passed down by later generations, symbolizing the ideal of governing the country with equal emphasis on culture, governance and martial arts. In later generations, the seven strings of the Guqin became the standard, with its ethereal tone and melodious melody, which became the first choice of scholars for self-cultivation and became an inseparable symbol in Chinese culture.

The story of King Wen of Zhou and King Wu of Zhou's Jiaxian is not only a legend about the evolution of Guqin, but also a tribute to the wisdom and virtue of ancient Chinese Kings. These seven strings, like the chords of history, resonate today through thousands of years, telling of the glory of the Zhou Dynasty and the immortal charm of the Guqin.

Reference materials and contributors
民族乐器网

Involving musical instruments

Guqin (pinyin: Gǔ Qín) is a traditional Chinese musical instrument with a history of at least 3,500 years. Guqin is also known as Yaoqin, Yuqin and Seven-stringed Qin. The guqin has 13 emblems that mark the rhythm, and is also a ritual and musical instrument. It belongs to the silk in the octave. Guqin has a wide range, deep timbre and long aftertone.

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