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An antique guqin in the lianzhu form

Alternative formsEdit


From Mandarin 古琴 ‎(gǔqín), made up of ‘ancient’ and ‘stringed instrument’.



guqin ‎(plural guqin or guqins)

  1. (music) A plucked zither-like stringed instrument (chordophone), traditionally featuring seven unfretted strings, originating in ancient China.
    • 1982: The Times, 25 May 1982, p.10 col. C
      Among those who will be making the Otter valley resound to the strains of the guzheng and erhu is Wu Wenguang, who plays a piece of music 1,800 years old on the guqin, an instrument known to have existed 3,000 years ago.
  2. (place) Guqin Tai 《古琴臺》 (Guqin Terrace or Heptachord Terrace, etc), the name of a place in Wuhan, China.

Usage notesEdit

  • In the past, the guqin was referred to only as the qin, but it has the prefix gu- to distinguish it from other instruments which are also called qin. It can be referred to as qin after guqin is used in the first instance.
  • The organology of the qin fits that of a zither, but in the past, it has been incorrectly referred to as a lute or harp.
  • It is sometimes confused with the guzheng (古筝) which is a different stringed instrument.



See alsoEdit

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