The art of tuning Guqin: a detailed explanation of ten modes and tuning methods

538 views · Organized by 风月呢喃 on 2024-03-12

As an ancient and mysterious instrument in China, the beauty of Guqin's rhyme lies in its rich mode variations and rigorous tuning techniques. The Guqin has seven strings, and each string can adjust its pitch by changing the tension of the string, thus achieving different mode changes. The following are the ten common modes of Guqin and their tuning methods:

The art of tuning Guqin: a detailed explanation of ten modes and tuning methods

1. Normal tone (also known as Zhong Lyjun, with F as the palace tone) : follows the traditional pentatonic scale structure of Guqin, with three strings as the palace tone, corresponding to modern pitch F.

2. Josephine Tune (also known as no fire) : By adjusting the five strings to a higher semitone, so that the five strings and three strings form a pure fourth relationship, so as to achieve the effect of Josephine tune.

3. Slow Angle tuning (also known as yellow bell) : the three strings are reduced by a semitone, so that it forms a new pentatonic scale with other strings.

4. Yizei tune (also known as Jiazhong Jun) : by adjusting the pitch of a specific string, the scale is in line with the characteristics of Yizei tune.

5. Bleak tone (also known as Qing Shang tone) : It is especially suitable for expressing sad emotions. The tuning method is unique, rendering a sad atmosphere.

6. Slow palace tone: with two strings as the palace tone, the special tuning method is used to make the music more low and solemn characteristics.

7. Side Shang tone: Lower the seven strings and take the Shang tone as the dominant tone to form the unique charm of the side Shang tone.

8. Kusai tone: Adjust the pitch of the five and seven strings, and build a key with the Kusai tone (sol) as the core.

9. Nandlu Tune: Adjust the string tone to achieve the corresponding scale structure according to the Nandlu law in the ancient twelve rules.

10. No fire tone: similar to the Josephine tone, but the specific pitch adjustment is slightly different, forming another unique musical atmosphere.

Each tuning method requires changing the tension of the strings by adjusting the zhen of the instrument, so that the guqin emits different scales in different modes. The tuning technique of Guqin not only embodies the musical wisdom of the ancients, but also embodies the philosophical thoughts of Yin-yang and five elements in Chinese traditional culture. In the process of tuning, the player should not only master the precise pitch adjustment, but also understand the cultural connotation behind the mode, so as to convey the artistic conception and emotion of the music in the performance.

Reference materials and contributors

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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