How to play the guzheng correctly?

You have bought your guzheng, you light it at home, everyone looks fascinated, you begin to strum each of its strings and perceive the sound it has, you see that it weighs its own, that taking it from one place to another is complicated if it is large… You have done and thought absolutely everything with your guzheng, but have you thought about how to play it?

It is the magic question that must be asked in front of any instrument. Buying whatever it is without knowing how to play it, without knowing how we can emit a certain melody, is something that does not make sense. That is why a few days after you have the Chinese zither you have to rethink yourself, we say rethink yourself, you have to learn to execute it, little by little, without haste and without pause

Otherwise, you would be committing a sin with your guzheng and you cannot afford it. That needs to be amended and has come to this world for it: On this page, with the help of tutorial videos taken from Youtube and a clear, concise and brief text you will learn the basic strumming techniques to become familiar with the instrument

Today the adventure begins, that wonderful path that will lead you to be a true “guzhengist” . D-day has arrived, let’s go!

Essential steps to percussion the guzheng instrument

The video on the TwoSetViolin channel is the one that we are going to use to help you learn the basics of the instrument. The first thing that starts commented is that on the right hand side of the bridge we have the low tones of the guzheng and on the left we have the highest tones . To play each of the strings you always have to do 3 steps:

  • Raise your hand at an angle of approximately 90 degrees.
  • Put index finger hanging down
  • Bring your finger to the string you want to strum and with a smooth movement, pull your finger back

Between minute 1:28 and minute 2:00 it is explained how this finger has to be executed, look at it. The first string, the one that is furthest from the two people and starting the video at just 2:06, is the note C, the next string is the note D, the next (going from top to bottom) is the note Mi, the fourth string does not emit the F , it emits the Sun, the fifth note is the A and finally the Si

In the video, the two men have doubts that if he does not emit the note F and the Yes, how is it possible to play them? What strumming technique do you have to do? It is not difficult, although it will require a bit of practice. Set the video at minute 2:15 . Once this is done, starting with the third string from the bottom, which is the E, strum said string keeping your finger pressed on the same string but on the left hand , which is the one with the highest tones. The execution will be done on the right hand with your right hand

Starting at 3:06, it explains how to make the guzheng sound last longer, cause a deeper sound to be heard. To do the techniques we have to make movements in the hand up and down, not very long, and always at the same beat, as if you were beating an egg before making yourself prepare a French omelette, with the difference that you will do it with your index finger. At minute 3:32 you can see carefully how the woman makes that peculiar movement

Not only when moving the right hand is responsible for producing the wavy sound, also with the left hand we will serve to give it that touch of variety of tone and that it is not a simple double tone. To do this, we go from top to bottom or bottom to top in the sector of low or high strings. It is about playing with the guzheng and thus we will produce that typical sound of Chinese classical music

At minute 4:14 something already seen is revealed but it must be emphasized: whenever, when you go to play, put your left hand lying on the group of ropes with low tones, that is, on the left hand. Always keep an upright posture and your head almost fully upright to have a good field of vision at all times of the string you are going to play . Following the oriental traditions, any detail that we do can be vital. This is what happens from minute 4:20

During the act of playing the guzheng keep your feet in good posture and that nothing you do is unpleasant to look at , even the way you touch, if your face is more frowned or less frowned. Make sure that everything you do outside or not to the zither this care. You will thank us in the future, first for your health, and then for others 😉

There are melodies which do not require specific notes. To play them, with your right and left hand in their respective places, you are going to strum, without letting go and from top to bottom, the left-hand strings with your left finger and the right-hand strings with your right finger . Set the video to minute 4:57 to find out about this

Starting at 6:07, you have an example of how to type the strings. This is just a sample. We want you to be carried away by your imagination and stand in front of your guzheng as if you were going to play a concert and play an improvised tune. Remember that we have neither Fa or Si, the rest of the notes playing them is like any other instrument

So, what is the basic thing that you have to take into account when typing the guzheng, which is basically what we see from minute 6:00? The next:

  • A subtle and fast strum as if you are walking your finger up or down on the strings. If you bring it up, use your thumb, you bring it down, use your index finger or middle finger
  • If you make the wavy sound characteristic of Chinese music upwards, use your thumb. On the other hand, if you produce a deep melody downwards, use index finger or middle finger
  • If you are going to emit the notes C, D, E, G and A, you do not have to place your left hand at all times on the group of strings that overflows to the left of the bridge. If you are going to play, in addition to those notes, the F and the B, always press the string corresponding to that note on the left hand and type up or down with your index finger or thumb
  • Always make the shifting sound of the guzheng so that if your right hand goes up to the right side of the bridge, your left hand goes down to the left side of the bridge. When your left hand goes up, your right hand goes down . At no time do your two hands go in the same direction, always in opposite directions
  • When you produce the melody by interpreting up and down two strings close to each other, you have to produce the movement as fast as possible and, at the same time, move up and down in that same group of strings where you make this fleeting wiggle. ascending and descending

There are more videos on Youtube about how to play the guzheng. This one in particular seemed funny to us because it makes us feel in the skin of who you are now and each one of us, beginners who are valid to laugh. Convert those laughs for “oh or wow” of impression that they look at you with eyes like saucers amazed at how you play from today. YOU have the key

Show us that you are learning to play guzheng by contacting us. What kind of people are you, the ones who only talk or the ones who don’t talk and do? Here we do not want charlatans or onlookers who just read and go. We want real people. Unconventional people, people willing to do whatever it takes to learn. Know something? Whoever wants to, can. You can 💪!