Playing a Guqin

Nostalgia and an old fashioned love song. To the accompaniment of the wind blowing through tthe pine trees and the sound of water pouring over stones in a nearby creek, our 8th century Tang poet, Liu Changqing plays a favorite tune on the guqin (琴, qin, 古琴 guqin, a seven string zither-like instrument) . And nobody cares.

Playing the Guqin

these seven strings are crisp and clear,
like the wind in pines
an old tune that loves itself
but no one’s left to care.

泠泠七弦上, 静听松风寒。
古调虽自爱, 今人多不弹。

Liu Chanqing, 刘长卿

Línglíng qī xián shàng, jìngtīng sōng fēnghán.
Gǔdiào suī zì’ài, jīnrén duō bù dàn.

Liú Chǎngqīng

Liu Changqing’s Poem

Liu Changqing (劉長卿, ca. 709–785)

It seems that every generation laments the changing of musical styles. What was true for Liu Chanqing was true for the American musical group Three Dog Night and their hit song from 1971, Just an Old Fashioned Love Song. Enjoy, if you wish.

Guqin (qin) is a seven-string zither-like musical instrument. The qin is capable of a wide range of sounds, thus its popularity. Liangliang, meaning clear and crisp; the sound of water flowing over rocks. Jingting, quietly listen. Fenghan, a cold wind. Gudiao, an old tune, an old-fashioned love song. Jinren, the people of today.


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