John Thompson on the Guqin Silk String Zither
Pronounced "chin" (stringed instrument) or "goo chin" (old stringed instrument), the guqin throughout its long history has been the musical instrument most prized by China's literati. They categorized it as one of their "four arts", collected it as an art object, praised its beautiful music, and built around it a complex ideology. No other instrument was so often depicted in paintings, or so regularly mentioned in poetry. Because of the literati's fondness for writing things down, it also has the world's oldest detailed written instrumental music tradition, providing sufficient information to allow both historically informed performance (requiring use of silk strings) of the many early melodies, and practical exploration of the relationship between Chinese music theory and music practice.

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