The First Online Guqin Gathering Report
The first Internet-based guqin gathering was held by the North
American Guqin Association on February 16th, 2002, 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Pacific Standard Time (00:00 to 2:00 am GMT on February 17th,
Thirty-two people from USA, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Belgium,
England, Korea, Canada and Japan signed up for the event. Due
to technical problems, only ten people were able to log into the
event and in the end only seven people were able to communicate.
Five pieces were played during the gathering. Prof. Li
Xiangting attended the gathering.
Qin aficionados are few and far between, and the Internet provides
an excellent medium for bringing us closer together. This event
has shown that it is indeed possible to meet qin enthusiasts anywhere
in the world, play qin, and exchange information over the Internet.
We would like to share our experience with everyone who is interested
in our event, in guqin music and in experimental Internet music
Of the various web conferencing software packages available,
we decided to use Yahoo Messenger, because it is free and relatively
straightforward to set up. The procedure we used was:
1. In order to join the qin gathering, each attendee needed to
download Yahoo Messenger from http://messenger.yahoo.com/,
set up their Yahoo identity (i.e. a screen name and password)
and email their screen name to us.
2. We put this information onto our group list. Since this was
an experiment for NAGA members, attendees not already on our mailing
list had to join by filling out the online form at http://www.chineseculture.net/guqin/joinus.html.
3. We created a private chat room called Onlineguqingathering
on the day of the event. The event host Wang Fei sent an invitation
to everyone on the group list. People who were on the group list
and logged into Yahoo Messenger were able to attend the event
by joining the chat room.
4. Each attendee needed to plug a microphone into their computer's
sound card in order to speak and play, but those who didn't have
one could still type.
5. When people played the qin, they put their microphone under
one of the sound holes of their instrument. We could then hear
it clearly, including even subtle slides.
We introduced ourselves to each other by our real names (as opposed
to our screen names), our location and our experience with the
qin, talked a little, then started playing music.
*Wang Fei (California,
USA): Guan Shan Yue
*Li Xiangting (California,
USA): Oulu Wang Ji
(Wiltshire, England): Tian Lai
(Oregon, USA): Xiang Jiang Yuan
*Wang Fei (qin), Li Xiangting (xiao) (duet): Jiu Kuang
Limitations and suggestions:
1. Since Yahoo messenger is free software, voice communication
sometimes dropped out during periods of high network traffic.
2. People whose ISP providers used a firewall were not able to
successfully get into the event.
3. Attendees need to gain familiarity with the software before
the event. We spent more than an hour trying to help people to
get in, speak and listen.
4. We should write detailed instructions on how to use the software
before the next event.
We would like to thank everyone who has been interested in this
event and given their support, especially the following (in alphabetical
order of surname):
Professor Fred Lieberman
Dr. George Shen
MadameTsar Teh-yun (recognized as a pre-eminent qin master and
at 96 years old the oldest surviving qin performer)
Professor Bell Yung
Members of the De Yin Qin Society of Hong Kong
We plan to hold more online qin gatherings in the future. If
anyone is interested, please join our NAGA mailing list at http://www.chineseculture.net/guqin/joinus.html
and email us your Yahoo screen name. We will invite you to the
North American Guqin Association