Guqin notation

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Description:
The notation of the guqin is a unique form of tablature for the Chinese musical instrument, with a history of over 1,500 years, still in use today.

History

Written qin music did not directly tell what notes were played; instead, it was written in a tablature detailing tuning, finger positions, and stroke technique, thus comprising a step by step method and description of how to play a piece. Some tablatures do indicate notes using the gongche system, or indicate rhythm using dots. The earliest example of the modern shorthand tablature survives from around the twelfth century CE. An earlier form of music notation from the Tang era survives in just one manuscript, dated to the seventh century CE, called Jieshi Diao Youlan 《碣石調幽蘭》 (Solitary Orchid in Stone Tablet Mode). It is written in a longhand form called wenzi pu譜〕 (literally "written notation"), said to have been created by Yongmen Zhou (雍門周) during the Warring States Period, which gives all the details using ordinary written Chinese characters. Later in the Tang dynasty Cao Rou (曹柔) and others simplified the notation, using only the important elements of the characters (like string number, plucking technique, hui number and which finger to stop the string) and combined them into one character notation. This meant that instead of having two lines of written text to describe a few notes, a single character could represent one note, or sometimes as many as nine. This...
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