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Videos for beginning to play guqin 1
In recommended order of learning
Snapshot from a recording session 2        
The videos available here were made for a series of qin classes designed for beginners. These pieces, however, can be played at any level - there is a tradition saying that these require more skill than do the typical virtuoso pieces (e.g., see
Liu Shui comparison).3

There are also smaller .mov files here for some pieces, such as Cao Man Yin 1 and Cao Man Yin 2. Video quality is somewhat lower; more dramatic is the lower sound quality.

Other videos
In addition, I have made a few videos of other melodies for beginners:

  1. Nan Feng Ge (1511; Southern Winds); commentary
    This and the next piece
    use only five strings
  2. Si Qin Cao (1511; Thinking of Parents); commentary
    Video demonstrates playing qin on one's lap
  3. Xiang Fei Yuan (1511; Lament of the Xiang River Concubines); commentary; transcription
    Earliest version of Xiang Jiang Yuan (commentary links to transcription)
  4. Chun Gui Yuan (1799? Spring Chamber Lament); commentary; transcription
    Earliest version of Yu Lou Chun Xiao

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Guqin videos  
Most of the videos currently online here are .mp4 files with sizes ranging from about 30 MB to over 100 MB per minute. Depending on the computer, it may be possible to play them simply by clicking on them, or it might be better first to download them onto a computer.

2. Recording session
The above is a "snapshot" from a video made with a Flip Ultra. I began making these in November 2009, but then the Flip was discontinued. In 2016 I switched to a Sony HDR-MV1, sometimes on its own, sometimes with external microphones. However, it too is now discontinued. As for camera positions I am still experimenting with these as well as with microphone set up, etc. This particular recording was made with light from one standing lamp and one desk lamp. More recent recordings were made in a room with little outside light but more lamps.

3. Difficult pieces
This is rather comparable to the attitude of those who say Mozart is more difficult than Chopin: according to them, the pyrotechnics in the latter may impress a lot of people but sophisticated listeners (i.e., "zhi yin") appreciate a more subtle approach. This does not mean that they cannot enjoy Chopin, and appreciate all the hard work that goes into learning the techniques needed to play it, but they also think that Mozart requires as much skill, just not of a flashy sort.

4. Preliminary exercises
When I began studying qin there were never "exercises": one just learned melodies. This was done by facing the teacher and trying to imitate what he did (see image)


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