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|Other videos incl. Text only videos / See also this video of my teacher Sun Yuqin (details)||首頁|
|Videos for learning to play guqin 1||學古琴的錄像|
|Snapshot from a recording session 2|
As for the melodies themselves, even beginners' melodies can be played at any level - there is a tradition saying that the apparently simple melodies often require more skill than do the typical virtuoso pieces (e.g., see Liu Shui comparison).3
As students are encouraged also to study the artistic and cultural context of this music, beginning with Lesson 1 below links are given to such information about each melody.
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 of melodies for students are here divided into three types:
Songs are here subdivided into two sections:
In addition to two that are included above (Gu Qiu Feng and Feng Ru Song Ge) this includes the following:
This and the next piece use only five strings
Video demonstrates playing qin on one's lap
Earliest version of 湘江怨 Xiang Jiang Yuan (its commentary links to its transcription)
Same refrain for each of seven sections: good training to repeat a passage so often
Earliest version of a melody in the standard repertoire, with famous lyrics seldom sung
陽關三疊 Yang Guan San Die (1530; Thrice "Yang Guan"; sung with Qin); transcription (pdf)
A famous parting song expanding on lyrics by Wang Wei; uses the non-standard ruibin tuning
文君操 Wenjun Cao (1539; Song for Wenjun; sung with Qin); listen with transcription
A romantic song also called A Male Phoenix Searches for his Mate（鳳求凰 Feng Qiu Huang）
醉翁吟 Zui Weng Yin; commentary; transcription (same music but solo qin)
Two settings of the same lyrics showing very different treatment
Short song from a handbook published in Japan, with lyrics by Li Bai
Short song from same Japanese source, with romantic lyrics about the Cowherd and the Weaving Girl
Early melody that can be sung using the lyrics of a modern song popularized by Deng Lijun
Specifically, the earliest version of melodies I learned from my own teacher, Sun Yuqin. Here note values are informed by the rhythms of the versions I learned from him; in contrast, my interpretation of almost all other pieces in my repertoire come purely from my understanding of the existing tablature itself. Note that the first three listed below (all having lyrics but rarely sung) are already listed and linked above,
Said to be earliest version of 玉樓春曉 Yu Lou Chun Xiao, a piece otherwise not published until 1931, where it is almost the same as here
Can be traced through about 45 versions since 1614, but modern version still quite similar
The modern version can be traced through over 50 versions
The modern version can be traced through over 40 versions
The modern version can be traced through over 30 versions
The modern piece can be traced through over 75 handbooks since 1634, many with multiple versions
This piece can be traced through over 25 handbooks since 1634, but the modern version still seems quite close to the original
Students can choose to learn from a wide variety of available melodies. Those with video recordings include:
An early melody last published in 1590
Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)
|1. Guqin videos|
Most of these videos have been made using a camera with a built in microphone. Because of the simple setup and because the videos have been made for students, the camera is generally closer to the qin than it is in the above image. Having the lens so close to the qin makes it appear rather larger than it is in real life.
The above image is a "snapshot" from a video made with a Flip Ultra. I made a few such videos with this camera beginning in November 2009, but then I had some problems with the Flip which I couldn't fix because it was discontinued. In 2016 I switched to a Sony HDR-MV1 and started recording again, usually with the camera on its own but sometimes with external microphones. The HDR-MV1 is apparently now also discontinued, so I may again have to switch. But 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.
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.
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)
My teacher told me many times not to look at the tablature, just to copy him. He thereby emphasized that this is an oral tradition: I might occasionally consult the tablature, if I wished, but I was learning from him, not from the tablature. To me this is related to the issue of whether guqin melodies are compositions or creations.
In this regard students should as much as possible try to learn from the accompanying videos, consulting the transcriptions only when the videos are not clear.
Return to the top, or to the Guqin ToC.