List of Monumental sculpture projects 2015

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Tuesday, 12 March 2013

First contact with Guqin research 2000; 4th International Guqin Dapu Conference, Changshu, PRC; xyzQin # 1

I have a complete video record of the 4th International Guqin Dapu Conference, Changshu 2004.  Including some after conference evening informal concerts - called : YaJi - Elegant Gatherings, which happened in all the hotel rooms.  We were housed at a private resort owned by a bank in Changshu.  There were concerts non stop during the 4 days.  People met each other, exchanged ideas got all excited - people hung around in the hotel everywhere from 9h00 to midnight.

I purchased my first guqin made by Zhang JianHua in year 2000 at the occasion of 4th International Dapu Conference at Changshu, PRC - who is a famous qin maker now, in Beijing.  His atelier is shown in the prize winning book on Qin by Professor Cecilia Linqvist.  I have not been to his atelier but hope to do so when I visit Beijing next time.  Changshu is now declared Historical Heritage Town of Guqin by Unesco, and a very elegant museum of Guqin has been established.  Many years later, I have visited the museum and filmed the director Mr.Zhu Xi, a passionate Qin player.

I participated at the conference in 2000 and filmed the conference to have a record of the event - for my own reference purpose.  At that time, no one really had good equipment to do so.  I presented my research-creation project and found a suitable collaborator to work with me.  Professor Chen Changlin - a reknown Qin player and computer scientist was at the conference.  Chen Changlin was playing with a mini qin that he made himself.  It was a simple chipboard he cut from a retired computer cupboard and he added strings to the qin.  This little qin he gave me after we completed our research as a gift!    I thought it so marvellous that we could make a qin simply and it works!  He said he takes it with him everywhere in order to practice everyday.  I filmed his little qin playing session in his hotel room.  There were a few other young players.  The ambiance of the conference was very warm, everyone was so excited because the last conference on guqin had been 14 years earlier!

So, I felt very previleged and lucky a// to learn of this instrument up close, with this  group of passionate people in it, and b// that the conference had accepted my participation to present a project on the preservation and promotion of guqin using Digital Technology.  I wanted to do something meaningful with Digital Technology and as i had successfully received a research grant for my idea - why not do it with the guqin!  Take ancient Chinese Culture and bring it into todays world!  The instrument was very elegant and simple - with shapes of very clean lines - the sound is so human like - I decided that is the most worthwhile idea and I wanted to do "Qin and Qin Culture" with the grant.

At the time, some Hong Kong players proposed that I purchase a collectioner item from their own collection.   As I was a complete beginner, I prefer to begin at the beginning and buy a beginners guqin.  With the help of very enthusiastic Hong Kong friends, I had met Zhang JianHua and Wang Peng, and with careful deliberation, testing of sounds, playing notes, etc.  The dear friends collectively helped me choose a "Fu Xi" style qin.  Very big bodied, with a very nice sound.  It will age very well, they advised me.  

I am very happy with the Zhang JianHua qin.  I play with it and hang it up on my wall til this day.

I now have several qins.  Two prototypes, I had designed myself and had the embryo made to specification by Tian Shuang Kun, and the lacquer layer put on, through instructions by Zheng Min Zhong.  These were finished by a Cantonese Qin maker later as I had not enough off hour time to do it.  Qin number one is called "Half HunDun 2006", and Qin number two, "Small Hand scroll".  Pictures later.

In year 2011-2013, I finally could make an entire guqin by myself under the instruction of Master Shan ZheYuan at National Tainan University of the Arts, Taiwan, at the Chinese Music Department.  There is a Workshop where all kinds of Chinese instruments are made.  This would be the xyz Qin (number three for me), and its called "xyz Qin number 1" as these two xyz Qins are prototypes for other reasons which I will elaborate later in another post.

So as of today, 9Aug2013, I have a third completed qin made by myself.

I have great satisfaction just looking at it, seeing it leaning against a wall - in my bedroom.

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