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A Discussion of the History of the Gu Zheng

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University of Texas Press A Discussion of the History of the Gu zheng Author(s): Cao Zheng and Yohana Knobloch Source: Asian Music, Vol. 14, No. 2, Chinese Music History (1983), pp. 1-16 Published by: University of Texas Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/833935 Accessed: 29/07/2009 18:36 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of
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  University of Texas Press A Discussion of the History of the Gu zhengAuthor(s): Cao Zheng and Yohana KnoblochSource: Asian Music, Vol. 14, No. 2, Chinese Music History (1983), pp. 1-16Published by: University of Texas PressStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/833935 Accessed: 29/07/2009 18:36 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available athttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unlessyou have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and youmay use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use.Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained athttp://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=texas.Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printedpage of such transmission.JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1995 to build trusted digital archives for scholarship. We work with thescholarly community to preserve their work and the materials they rely upon, and to build a common research platform thatpromotes the discovery and use of these resources. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. University of Texas Press is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to  Asian Music. http://www.jstor.org  ADISCUSSIONOFTHE HISTORYOFTHE GUZHENGByCaoZheng*TranslatedbyYohanaKnoblochIn orderto research theGuzheng,China'sancientpluckedmusicalinstrument,onemustclosely studyreferences to itnotonlyindescriptive,authentichistoricalrecords and inworks ofclassical artandliterature,butalso look intofolkstories,legends,unofficialwritingsandanecdotes,because thesesourcesreflect thesubjectiveperceptionsatvarious historicalperiods;fromtheirdifferentviewpoints,they keeponefrombias,orfromreachinghastyconclusionsconcerningtheGuzheng'shistory.TheGuzheng representsagenuinefolkmusicalart.Duringthefeudal era whichgaveprecedencetoeleganceoverpopularity,thezhengwasslanderedbytheliterati,whichdidthe instrument harmandresultedinitsbeing,attimes,insufficientlyorincorrectlyrecorded.Today,withsociety'sdevelopmentandtheprogressofmankind,therearisesaneed toapproachhistorywith anewunder-standing,andwemust use thescientificattitudeofseekingtruthfrom facts inordertocorrectlylookatandexpounduponthetruehistoryofthisinstrument.Inordertostudythehistoryof theGuzheng,onemust taketheconditions ofsocialdevelopmentasabasis.One mustlookatcontemporarypopularinstruments,performancetechniques,oldmusicalscores,thedevelop-ment ofinstrumentsincombinationwithhistoricalreferences,stories andfablesconcerningthe Guzheng.Byconsideringcarefullyallthesedifferentaspects,throughdialecticaldeliberation,we willbeable toobtain acorrectview onthisancient folkmusicheritageandthusdevelopeven furtherthe artofthe Guzheng.*Thisarticle wassrcinally publishedinChinaMusic3(Beijing,1981).Theauthor'ssrcinal footnotes,inChineseonly,have beenleftasisdue totheproblemoftrackingdownhissourcestoarriveat aromanized,accurateversion.Translator'snotes aregivenas Y.K. TongKin-woonhas editedthemanuscriptandclarifiedsomepoints. 1  The Name GuZheng The wordzhengis derivedfromthe soundoftheinstrument.Liu Xiof the laterHandynastyin hisShiMingl(adictionaryofthe secondcentury--Y.K.)wrote: Thestringsweretightly strungandcreatethesound'zheng-zheng'[whenplayed]. LiQiao2oftheTangdynasty,in anode to thezheng,wrote: Idon't wanttohearXiQinplay; zheng-zhengleavesafeelingofsorrow. This kind ofderivation of names fromthesoundoftheinstrumentwas usedby peopleixqancienttimes innamingotherinstruments-theQing()Qin(1),HuHu(ot),etc.,inaccordancewiththe historical situationsandconformingwiththeway peopleusedto viewthings.Whyisthezhengalso referred to as themusicofQin, (TheStateofQin[presentShenxi]--Y.K.),Qinzhengas wellasGuzheng?Thegiftedscholar of thelatter Handynasty,CaoZijianofthe JianAnperiodinhisKongHou Fu3wrote: Whyis thezhengofQinsofervent,theseofQisogentleand soft? Numerousotherclassicalreferences includetheTangdynastypoet WangWan4,whowrote: In anemptyroomthereisaQinzheng, andZhengJiuling's5lines: Whenthingsareat theirworst,whyshallIplaytheQinZheng? Cen Can in hisQinzhengsong6wrote: Haven'tyouheard?Themusicof theQinzhengis themostbitter. BaiJuyiinhispoem Zheng 7comparesthesoundoftheQinzhengwithotherinstruments, clearlike theseofZhao,unliketheracketof thehuqin. (Pipa--Y.K.)Inthesepoeticreferences,thetermsqinzheng,qise,zhao seand huqin,inaddition tobeingused incontrast witheachotherandservingtoprovide poeticantithesis,moreimportantlyindicate thelocalitywheretheseinstrumentswerepopular.Thecharactersprecedingthenamesoftheseinstrumentsrefer to thelocalityofsrcin,notthedynasticperiod.As tothemodernpreferenceforaddingthewordgu(3, ancient ),thisis notwrong,sinceitonlystresses thezheng's age-oldhistory.Thereferenceto musicofQin comes fromSimaQian'sShiJi8whichrecords Li Si's(d.208B.C.--Y.K.)admonitiontotheemperorconcerningthebanishingofforeigners, Playingthezheng,slappingone'sthighsandsingingasongpleasingtotheear-that is thetruemusicofQin. Overthepastseveralyears,it has beenerroneouslythoughtthatthetraditionalQinzhengartwaslost inShenxi,but this isincorrect.Inthe YuLinSongbook, 9fromtheYu Lindistrict ofShenxiProvince,theGuzhengis usedasaccompanimentthroughout,andthis isundoubtedlyaremnantof theQinzheng,this 2  beingimportantevidencethat theQinzhenghadnotbeenlost.Nevertheless,theQinzhengdidnot receivemuchoutside influenceand did notundergomuchdevelopment,so that itwasdescribedin theYan TieLun0lasaninstrument which doesnothaveabeautifulsound,andhasrigidtones. TheQinZhengwas a FolkInstrumentThezhengis agenuinefolk instrument.SangHongyang1lofthe WesternHandynastywroteintheYanTieLun: Peopleofthepast,duringtheirfeasts,eachaccordingtothecustomof theirclan,playedthezhengandbeatdrums. The words peopleofthepast showsthat some centuries before the WesternHan(206B.C.-23A.D.--Y.K.),thezhengwasalreadyquiteapopularinstrumentamongthepeople.Inlookingat both theQinandHandynasties,the references in the Yan Tie LunservetoaugmentLi Si's remarksconcerningtheso-called truesoundofQin. Afterwards,throughtheWei,Jin,NanBei,Sui,Tang, Song,Yuan,MingandQingdynasties,uptothepresentday,thezhengis mentionednotonlyinscholarlyhistoricalrecords,poems, songsandprose,but also inzhengnotationbooksrepresentingtheso-called ninedifferentstyles scatteredthroughoutChina.All theabove serve as evidence thatthezhengwaswidelypopularamongthepeople.Of course wecannoteliminatethepossibilitythat atcertain times thezhenghadbeenalso usedas anentertainmentinstrumentforfeudalrulersand enteredcourtorchestras,butthis wasanexceptionratherthan therule,anddoesnot affect itspositionas afolkinstrument.RefutationoftheFalseTheorythat theZheng OriginatedfromDividingtheSeApartfromthe abovementionedsrcinof thenamezhengbasedon itssound,therearealsotheoriesofitssrcinbased onitsconstruction:one thatthezhengandthese(,,-zitherresemblingthezheng,butbigger,withagreaternumberofstrings-Y.K.)have the samesrcinandanotherthat thezhengandthezhu(sbamboozither,nowextinct-Y.K.)are thesameinstrument. These areonlybased onhistoricallegendswhichtend togivestrangeandfar-fetchedinterpretations.Forexample,theSeShi12states, The YellowEmperorordered Su Nt toplaythefifty stringse,but could notbear thesorrowfulsoundandsplittheinstrument into atwenty-fivestringse. Thisundoubtedlydescribes theoutcome ofthenecessaryhistoricaldevelopmentof theinstrument,which in factcannotbeaccuratelyportrayed by any mythologicaltales. 3
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