North American Guqin Association

NAGA Guqin Events for May 2005


Dear qin friends,

Our NAGA Guqin events for April 2005 went very well. Everyone had a great time at all the events on April 17th. Please see the list of qin pieces with a spring theme prepared by Christopher Evans and the list of qin recordings with a spring theme prepared by Julian Joseph. ­Now it's time to start thinking about next month's.

On Sunday, May 8th, there will be a full day of qin events. The master class will teach how to appreciate the guqin as a musical instrument, as a collector's item and as a work of art. Students will get hands on experience in playing different forms and levels of qins and learn how to select a qin. Please note that due to Ms. Wang Fei's busy concert tour in the summer, this will be the last master class until August. The yaji will include flower theme guqin activities, and at the yaji students of the NAGA Introduction to the Guqin course will demonstrate what they have learned during their second month of qin study.

1.     The fifth guqin master class

2.     Dinner gathering

3.     Guqin yaji

The fifth guqin master class

The guqin is a unique musical instrument. Not only it is one of the four skills for being a scholar but also it has a high value been a collector's item. Historically, the guqin has been viewed as a symbol of Chinese high culture and the instrument most expressive of the essence of Chinese music. During the master class Ms. Wang will spend 3 hours talking about how to appreciate the guqin as a musical instrument, as a collector's item and as a work of art. You will learn about:

1.     Origins, legends and history of the instrument

2.     Construction, form and aesthetics

3.     Qin making process and famous makers

4.     Features of qins through the dynasties

5.     Materials and workmanship wood and lacquer

6.     Cracks (duanwen) calligraphy and seals

7.     How to evaluate the sound quality and workmanship of a qin

8.     How to select a qin

9.     Famous qins in history

10.  Qin accessories types of strings, tassels, soft and hard cases etc.

11.  How to make tuning cords (rongkou), tie the "butterfly" knot (yingtou) and mount strings (bring your own instrument, strings, silk thread or purchase them from if you want to practice yourself)

12.  How to maintain a qin

13.  How to select a qin of a particular quality and within a set budget (you can bring your own instrument for a free evaluation.)

14.  Qin tables correct height, wood, workmanship, aesthetics and their effect on the sound

15.  The 5 most important recordings, books, sheet music and handbooks you should have

Every student will get hands on experience in playing qins of different forms and levels and selecting a qin. Please bring your own guqin if you want to practice or get a free evaluation. After this class you will understand why the qin itself represents Chinese high culture and you will have a sharp eye when you want to purchase qin related products.

This master class will be held on Sunday, May 8th from 2pm to 5pm. The cost is $60 for people who are not currently enrolled in Wang Fei's private class, payable either in advance online (preferably), in which case the address will be given upon receipt of your payment, or at the door (cash only). If you want to pay at the door please email for the address and directions). The class will take place in the Fremont area. 

Please register now

These classes are open to all who are interested in finding out more about the guqin. For those currently learning to play from Ms. Wang Fei, they are an important component of the curriculum. The classes also provide necessary foundation knowledge before you learn to play from a reputable guqin teacher, as they are often very selective about which students they will teach.

Our master classes are held once a month. Please see details at

Places are limited, so please register as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Dinner gathering

After the class we shall have dinner at a very fine Chinese restaurant. Qin lovers and food lovers can meet informally.

The Bay area is very diverse and we are fortunate to have discovered many different cuisines there. For Chinese food alone, there are numerous good authentic restaurants. For all of you food and qin lovers in the Bay area, this is a great opportunity to meet other qin and food friends! Bring your friends along too! 

Date: Sunday, May 8th, 2005

Time: 5:30pm 6:30pm

Where: TBA

Please RSVP to Alice Tan by May 6th if you plan to attend this event. Email or phone 408-725-8668. 

Guqin yaji

On Sunday, May 8th, at 7pm there will be a guqin yaji at the Union City Library.

In Chinese culture, May is the flower season, so the next master class will have a flower theme. Our intention is that in addition to continuing with the topics we began this month, we shall do some further creative scholarly activities to enhance your enjoyment of the beauty of spring and enable you to experience something of the flavour of the yajis of ancient times. This is also a good time for you to study qin learning. Even an overall view of the piece titles will show you something of the richness of qin sources in Chinese cultural and musical history. Even studying the titles of pieces is like reading Chinese poetry. Just give you a quick idea a search in Cunjian Guqin Qupu Jilan (Zha Fuxi's catalog of qin scores and music) revealed 42 qin pieces with flowers and plants in the title! So the theme of the NAGA guqin events for May will be flowers. Christopher Evans will prepare a list of these pieces, and Julian Joseph will prepare a list of recordings. During the yaji Ms Wang Fei will give a lecture on how to appreciate the pieces You Lan and Mei Hua Sannong. You will find out about the oldest music score in the world, the 1400 year old score for the qin piece You Lan and why it is associated with Confucius, how when he saw an orchid growing alone among weeds he saw a reflection of his own situation. You will also learn why the plum blossom is so important in Chinese culture, why it is considered so noble. Through these pieces you will gain a deeper insight into Chinese culture.

This time the master class students will need to do a deep study instead of a broad one. Select one of the pieces Pei Lan (Admiring the Orchid), Wu Ye Wu Qiu Feng (Parasol Leaves Dancing in the Autumn Wind), Shuixian Cao (The Narcissus), and make a nice multimedia presentation (for example using PowerPoint). The presentation should include the background and history of the piece, the title(include Chinese characters, Pinyin and translation) and version, which masters played / dapued it, the handbook (qinpu) from which it came, to whom it is attributed, etc. You can do this individually or in groups. Please email Alice Tan which piece you want to do and who you want in your team.

Then we can play qin, chat about qin, meet qin friends face to face instead of online, listen to qin music by different players, probably from different teachers or schools, play instruments made by various qin makers, and exchange information. Students of the NAGA Introduction to the Guqin course will demonstrate their progress after their second month of qin study.

The qin gathering is open to anyone interested in guqin music. Other instrumental players and singers are welcome. We can enjoy doing some experimentation.

Date: Sunday, May 8th, 2005

Time: 7:00pm

Where: Union City Library meeting room
34007 Alvarado-Niles Rd.
Union City, CA 94587

(510) 489-1655

Please click here for directions.

Entry to the yaji is free and anybody with an interest in guqin is welcome. Bring your friends along too! 

If you wish to attend or plan to play something, please sign up and submit your program to MC Alice Tan by May 6th. Email or phone

At the request of many qin lovers, we will try to get together and have a yaji more often. We now aim to hold a dinner gathering and guqin yaji immediately after each master class. 

North American Guqin Association



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