Main Article Content
This dissertation is a comparative study of the Shaanxi Zheng school and Shandong Zheng School. The zheng or guzheng is a large zither with up to twenty-one or more strings and is one of the representatives plucked instruments in China. It originated in Shaanxi and Gansu and it developed from the original 5 strings to the present 21 strings, with the added strings broadening the range of sound and meeting higher performance requirements.
In the long-term development and evolution, different styles evolved due to different geographical locations. It is mainly divided into two schools of playing, the Southern school and the Northern school. The styles of the Northern school are further known as the Shaanxi school and the Shandong school. The two schools of zheng music were originally part of instrumental ensembles, and then these gradually evolved to solo form. Due to geographical location, dialects, customs and other aspects, the two schools have developed similarities and differences in musical form, composition, performance styles, and the influence of guzheng artists. The first part of the study deals with its history and briefly summarizes the historical origins of the two schools and introduces the principal musicians of the two schools. The second part is concerned with the description of the similarities and differences between the two guzheng schools, explained from the perspective of regional factors, local folk music, dialects, vocal styles and other factors that influence the creation of the two schools, as well as the personal style of the representative artists. The third part describes and analyzes the music of the two zheng schools with regards to melody, mode, scale, playing techniques, and rhythmic patterns. In the fourth part, two representative pieces of music, namely the “Qin Sang” song of Shaanxi Zheng School and the “Four pieces of Brocade” of Shandong Zheng School, are analyzed in detail for compositional techniques and performance practices.