Videos with A as first string
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Videos with first string tuned to A 1 學古琴的錄像
More string stability and a more mellow sound; compare Bb to B 2 第一絃的音高為 A  
  Good angle for a teaching video 3        
The information accompanying this page should be the same as that for "
Videos for learning guqin, beginning with "the best way to learn guqin is face to face with a teacher - the traditional method and the way I learned." Here the next sentence may be particularly important: "To a certain extent live online learning can substitute". In particular, new students often find it difficult to tune a qin and keep it in tune. This is less of an issue if the guqin is tuned down a bit. Slackened strings lose their pitch less often.

Such details also assume that the player is using the traditional silk strings. One should not say that silk strings are better than the nylon-metal strings in common use today. However, one can say that they allow a player better to appreciate the experiences of their predecessors, will produce a sound more akin to that made by the people who created the music, and have a richness and life to them different from what is produced by synthetic materials, including nylon-metal (steel). There is more detail about this in the page on silk strings.

Most of these videos with the lowest string tuned to A were made for specific students who felt more comfortable with the lower tuning. However, I will also often tune my strings down, for example, when the humidity is changing.

Beginning videos (See videos using higher tuning, with comments on pitch and tuning methods)

  1. 第一課 Lesson 1 (as here but first string tuned to A)
    操縵引 Caoman Yin (Strum Silk Prelude, in 3 sections; 1585), pdf (pp.2-3); commentary
    Sing along with recording before playing; it concerns "仙翁 Xianweng", i.e., Chen Tuan
    Here all three sections are played continuously

  2. 第二課 Lesson 2 (as here but first string tuned to A)
    仙翁操 Xian Weng Cao (N.D.; Melody of the Transcendent Immortal");
    Played five times alternating solo and with voice. Last two notes are same as first two, so this can be played continuously as a meditation
    commentary; online transcription; p.1 of separate pdf)

Other videos

  1. 流水 Liu Shui (1425; Flowing Streams); commentary; transcription
    Video with Bb tuning

  2. 列子御風 Liezi Yu Feng (1425; Liezi Rides the Wind); commentary; transcription
    No teaching video with higher tuning

  3. 蕤賓調、泛滄浪 Ruibin Diao, Fan Canglang (1425; Ruibin Mode, Floating on the Canglang Rivers); commentary; transcription
    First string a bit below A; uses raised 5th string tuning

  4. 瀟湘水雲 Xiao Xiang Shui Yun (1425; Water and Clouds over the Xiao and Xiang Rivers); commentary; transcription
    Video with Bb tuning

  5. 神品商角意、神化引 Shenpin Shangjue Yi (bigger file;1425; Celestial Air on Shangjue Mode; Metamorphosis); commentary A and B; new transcription
    Preludes to the next; revised somewhat from original recording.

  6. 莊周夢蝶 Zhuang Zhou Meng Die (1425; Zhuangzi's Butterfly Dream); commentary; transcription
    First string a bit below A; no teaching video with higher tuning

  7. 關雎(曲) Guan Ju (Qu) (>1505; Cry of the Ospreys: first is 1511 Section 1 sung as prelude, then at 01.23 the >1505 Guan Ju begins, without the lyrics).
    See commentary; transcriptions: 1511, Sec.1 then >1505. Could not record qin and voice together so lyrics added by double tracking.

  8. 古秋風 Gu Qiu Feng (1511; Old Autumn Wind); commentary; transcription;
    Video with Bb tuning

  9. 雪窗夜話 Xue Chuang Ye Hua (1525; Evening Talk by a Snowy Window; commentary; transcription (pdf);
    No teaching video with higher tuning, but there is this video by a snowy window

  10. 採真遊 Cai Zhen You (1525; Roaming to Gather the True; transcription (pdf);
    First string tuned a bit below A; video with Bb tuning

  11. 漁樵問答 Yu Qiao Wenda (1559; Dialogue between a Fisherman and a Woodcutter"); commentary; transcription
    Video with Bb tuning

  12. 良宵引 Liang Xiao Yin (1614 Peaceful Evening Prelude); transcription;
    First string tuned a bit below A; video with Bb tuning

  13. 鹿鳴 Lu Ming (1618; Deer Calls); transcription;
    No teaching video with higher tuning; video with A tuning also sung)

  14. 把酒問月 Ba Jiu Wen Yue (1618; Wine in Hand Asking the Moon); transcription;
    Video with B tuning

  15. 鷗鷺忘機 Oulu Wang Ji (1620; No Ulterior Motives Regarding Seabirds); commentary; transcription;
    Video with Bb tuning

  16. 梧葉舞秋風 Wuye Wu Qiufeng (1664; Leaves Dance in an Autumn Breeze); commentary; transcription
    The first string here is tuned lower than Bb so, although this is the same recording as here, it is included with melodies tuned to A.

  17. 清平樂 Qing Ping Yue (x2; 1676; Clear Peaceful Music); commentary; transcription;
    Video with tuning between A and Bb

  18. 子夜吳歌 Ziye Wu Ge (1676; Ziye Songs of Wu); commentary; transcription;
    First string tuned a bit below A; video with Bb tuning

  19. 春閨怨 Chun Gui Yuan (1799? Spring Chamber Lament); commentary; transcription;
    Video with Bb tuning

  20. 雁落平沙 Yan Luo Pingsha (1634; Wild Geese Descend on a Sandbank); commentary; transcription;
    This recording was made in my sound studio in 2017/18 using a Sony HDR MV1 camera with its built-in stereo microphone; around the same time I also made the video included here. Then in January 2022 I did four more recordings of the melody again, this time in my study, using a Logitech Brio webcam hooked up to my computer. The aim was first to do test recordings with the Brio using its internal mic compared to using two external DPA mma mics placed near the upper sound hole of the qin. The MMA recordings proving superior, the second part was to test the sound of newly-strung silk strings made by L.P. Kaster; gauges 1.60, 1.45, 1.30, 1.20, 1.00, 0.90, 0.80). The six recordings, beginning with the two earlier ones, are as follows:

    1. Tuned to A; this one; qin by Wang Peng; Marusan Hashimoto strings (original; medium)
    2. Tuned to Bb; as here; qin by He Mingwei; Marusan Hashimoto strings
    3. Tuned to A; Brio mic; qin by Tong Kin-Woon; Taigu strings (medium)
    4. Tuned to A; DPA mics; same qin; Taigu strings
    5. Tuned to A; DPA mics; same qin; Kaster strings
    6. Tuned to B; DPA mics; same qin; Kaster strings

    More comparisons to be done.

Others may be available upon request.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Guqin videos with first string tuned to A  
See comments
here. Regarding the mellowness of the lower tuning, this might not always come across in a recording, where the sound is very much influenced by such matters as microphone placement, the quality of the recording equipment and the skill/aims of the person who puts the equipment in place and sets the levels.

2. Guqin videos with first string tuned between Bb and B
Today in Chinese conservatories it is considered standard to tune the first string to C two octaves below middle C on a piano using the modern Western standard of A=440 Hz. This puts middle C just under 262 Hz, so they are tuning the bottom qin string, down two more octaves, to between 65 and 66 Hz (further detail).

3. Best angle for demonstrating
This high angle allows the student to see more clearly which string the teach is plucking. It must be added, though, that in face to face teaching the angle is not so high. When I studied with my teacher I do not remember specifically seeing exactly where he put his fingers - the action was too fast, so I had to gain an intuitive sense of where the relative positions were. By trail and error this became more clear, but having a sense of where the positions should be without having to look anywhere but one's own fingers is an important part of playing guqin (and probably most instruments).


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