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The Guqin Sounds Just Like ...
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The guqin sounds a little like a blues slide guitar. Think of the melancholy sounds of 1920s blues legend Robert Johnson and 1980s slide guitar king Ry Cooder. Cooder's soundtracks of "Paris Texas" and "Southern Comfort" are good examples, however the rhythm of the Chinese music is slower and more measured.

Just like a blues slide guitar player, the guqin player slides his or her fingers down the instrument's fret board, creating sliding, softer tones. The player may pluck the string once, yet produce five or six different notes.

Harmonics are also a major feature. The player lightly touches the note on the fret board and plucks the string creating a high, light and harp-like resonating sound. Extended passages consisting entirely of harmonics are common.

Visit www.guqin.org and www.ukchinesemusic.com/londonyoulanqin/ to hear examples of music.

(China Daily November 7, 2006)

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