Sounds

Guzheng

by Soniccouture

The Guzheng is a traditional Chinese instrument dating from the Qin dynasty (ca. 200 BC). It is the ancestor of the Japanese Koto and several other zither-like instruments found across East Asia.

In-depth

The Guzheng is a traditional Chinese instrument dating from the Qin dynasty (ca. 200 BC). It is the ancestor of the Japanese Koto and several other zither-like instruments found across East Asia. The modern Guzheng typically has 21 strings over movable bridges, and steel strings wound with nylon, although ancient instruments used silk strings. The strings are mounted on a large resonant half-tube box made of wu-tong wood, and the instrument is typically about 1.7m long. The strings are tuned by both moving the bridges and by adjusting tuning pegs. Notes are generally plucked with the right hand, on which the player wears tortoise-shell finger picks. The left hand is usually bare but is sometimes used to pluck accompanying notes and provide pitch bend and vibrato effects behind the bridge. Sometimes virtuoso performers use finger picks on both hands. Other playing techniques include tremolo (very fast repeated notes), harmonics and sweeping glissandos.

The Soniccouture Guzheng was recorded in 24-bit 44.1kHz stereo. Three articulations were sampled: right hand (finger picks), left hand (flesh), and harmonics (finger picks). We captured up to 10 velocity levels, 3 round-robin alternations for the right hand and 2 round-robin alternations for the left hand. This ensures natural attack transients with no "machine-gun" repetition. Across all 21 strings, this amounts to 1027 samples totaling just over 2 GB. We provide a method to play the Guzheng in its original tuning, or in chromatic tuning.

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