Post by Dick Glasgow on Jul 2, 2007 11:26:41 GMT 1
The modern-day guzheng is a plucked, half-tube zither with movable bridges and 21 strings, although it can have anywhere from 15 to 25 strings (a customized version exists with more than 44 strings). The guzheng's strings were formerly made of twisted silk, though by the 20th century most players used metal strings (generally steel for the high strings and copper-wound steel for the bass strings). Since the mid-20th century most performers use steel strings flatwound with nylon.
The zheng was popular as early as in the Warring States (475-221 BC), especially in the state of Qin in west China. That betrays the origin of the name qin zheng, Another hypothesis for its name came from a folk tale that se (a large table harp) was split in half to settle a family quarrel between two sons, thus creating the first two zheng. In the Chinese character the lower portion for zheng happens to mean "quarrel".
Zheng (Guzheng) is build with a special wooden sound body with strings arched across movable bridges along the length of the instrument for the purpose of tuning. In the early times the zheng had 5 string; later on developed into 12 to 13 strings in the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907AD) and 16 strings in the Song and Ming dynasty (from the 10th to 15th century). The present day zheng usually has 21-25 strings.