top of page
About Us

The Boston Guqin Society is a group of individuals dedicated to the promoting of and educating on the art of guqin. The guqin is a seven-string zither of China. It is a fret-less instrument with a sound-hole on it's underside. The instrument's surface has thirteen inlaid markers, made of mother-of-pearl, gold leaf, or precious stone.The Boston Guqin Society holds public performances and lectures called Yaji.


Yaji are held with the hopes of educating and familiarizing the public with the art of guqin. Yaji focus not only on the musical tradition and repertoire of guqin but also on the traditions of various other Chinese arts such as tai chi, Chinese poetry, and Chinese painting. This is done to draw parallels between the various Chinese arts and guqin. Shining light on their similarities and differences, allows the audience to better understand the guqin and how it fits into the greater scheme of Chinese art and culture. The Boston Guqin Society was founded by Miss Shin-Yi Yang. Miss Yang has studied guqin at the National Taiwan University of Arts and the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts. Miss Yang currently resides in Cambridge Massachusetts.


also known as Gu-qin or chin is a seven-string plucked zither of China. Gu-qin means ancient qin and belongs to the zither family of East Asia. The soundboard is made of wutong wood (Firmiana platanifolia) with no fret and bridge, and the bottom board is made of zi wood (Catalpa kaempferi). The surface of the gu-qin has thirteen inlaid markers, which usually made of mother-of-pearl, gold leaf, or precious stone.

The qin has a history of 3000 years, part of which predates accurate documentation. A legend states the qin was invented by Fuxishi, a mythical half-dog half-human character. The qin became the representative of music in Chou dynasty (1155 B.C.). Its seven-string form and its ideology were standardized in Han dynasty (202 B.C.). Traditionally the strings of the qin were made of silk. However, since it was very hard to get good quality silk to make qin strings, they were replaced by steel strings wound with nylon. Today people are trying to reproduce silk-strings, so hopefully the quality of the traditional tone of qin can be heard again.

There are four categories of traditional Chinese music: folk music, court music, religion music, and scholar music. The qin belongs to the last category. Many scholars of that time were qin players such as Confucius. Throughout Chinese history, every scholar has to learn four art forms: qin (qin music), qi (chess), shu(calligraphy) and hua (painting). The fact that the qin was considered the primacy act tells us of its significance.

The qin accumulated an abundance of lore and anecdotes. It has the thought of Confucianism and Taoism. For example, the qin has three kinds of tone color: harmonic, open string and glissando. They represent respectively heaven, earth and mankind.

Also the instrument itself involves the cosmology and metaphysics. The length of the qin was 3 feet and 6.5 old Chinese 'inches' which symbolized the 365 days of the year, and the longchi (dragon pond, the larger of two sound openings in the bottom board) was 8 'inches' which symbolized the eight directions in which the winds blew.

Another unique characteristic of the qu-qin is that it has its own musical notation that is completely different from other instruments, which called jianzipu (simplified character notation, see example below). This kind of notation has no rhythmic indication. Therefore, one will never hear the same music with the same rhythm from two players, even though they may study with the same master. Thus, it gives ample space for the player's interpretation and expression.


Success! Message received.

Meditative Guqin Gathering


─ 古琴音樂與文化講座 ─

波士頓琴社主辦   琴人楊信宜主持


I. 琴曲彈奏   

II. 文化講座

講者:呂晨晨 〔哈佛大學建築與藝術史博士研究生〕


在佛教與中國傳統哲學的碰撞中,魏晉南北朝時期湧現出對於神識與身體的獨特觀念。人們開始關注心靈的感官,强調摒棄肉眼與肉耳的世俗感官體驗,而是用心眼與心耳去體會世界的真實面貌,即“内視反聼”。對於心眼與心耳的推崇,使得中國音樂審美尤爲關注圖像化的神游體驗,並在此時期湧現出“無弦琴” 、“嘯”等獨特的音樂行爲。

III. 交流時間

November 9, 2019, 2:00pm 

Union School Room, Bedford Town Center

12 Mudge Way
Bedford, MA 01730

※ 講座以中文進行、活動公開免費

bottom of page