If you are looking for Guqin lessons in Toronto, please see >>>the curriculum page<<<.

Yeah. Thats a guqin pro for you. No joke.

Yeah. That's a guqin pro for you. No joke.

The Chinese seven-stringed zither, or Guqin (read ku-ch’in / “goo-chin”), has often been misnamed as a Chinese Lute in many translations of classical texts. This was because the earliest English book on the subject, as written by Dutch Sinologist and diplomat Robert Hans Van Gulik translated the guqin as such in his book “The Lore of the Chinese Lute”.

This instrument was often perceived by popular media and common understanding that it is a dying tradition with few who understand the subtleties of the music, let alone the inner workings of the instrument. Those who played the instrument were often hidden masters of Chinese tradition, and bear the impression of being spiritually highly refined. Thus, few people today (including the Chinese themselves) are familiar with this instrument, and often mistake it with the guzheng. However, since UNESCO declared the art an “Oral or Intangible Cultural Heritage” in 2003, there has been a significant increase of awareness and a new following of players, as well breakthroughs in various related researches. The instrument and tradition is no longer as endangered as it once was.

The Internet is the key source of general information, new theories, and intercourse between the global communities of players, who have organized themselves in major cities to share their music and insights with fellow players. The Internet has also allowed easier access to the older archives stored in libraries around the world to be widely available for audience and researchers alike. (From “Standards of the Guqin”)There were various attempts on the digitization of Guqin tablature, but no widely recognizable consumer-based program is available. CAD-edited prints or scanned hand-copies, coupled with a five-line or number-staff are still the standard today. (From “Standards of the Guqin”)

Toronto is a hub of guqin activity on the Canadian East Coast. Since 2005, the University of Toronto Guqin Association has been actively connecting guqin players in and outside of the Greater Toronto Area, providing a platform for sharing music, and online resources for connecting other players and researchers. Continuing the UTQA since 2007, one of the the UTCCAS’s most successful results is the Facebook Guqin Global Group, which is vibrant in discussion on the instrument from its technical aspects to historical contexts of various guqin-related activities. Active membership are comprised of young scholars from Canada, Britain, Spain, China, and the United States.


Recently, the guqin made its display in the Opening Ceremonies of the XXIX Olympiad, during the performance on introducing Chinese painting. We hope that this is a sign of raising general awareness of the instrument, and spread this fresh bit of traditional air to cartharsize your soul.

21 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Frédéric L'Epée
    Nov 16, 2008 @ 13:36:59


    I am a french guitarist and a lover of Chinese music, especially guqin.
    Waiting to have an instrument (Chinese friends have bought one for me but could not bring it back in France), I have tuned my fretless guitar D-F-G-A-C-D. Even if the lower C is missing, I am begining to play some famous ancient tunes like Mei Hua San Nong and Liu Shui and I would like to buy reliable scores.

    Do you know how to get them ?

    Thanks for your answer and for your interesting site.

    Frédéric L’Epée – Paris-

    EDIT: Response sent via email! -JLY-


  2. Zoe
    Feb 05, 2009 @ 21:58:57

    i am a high school student in Toronto. I play Guqin .i wanna know how to contact u ~ do u have a Guqin club or something like that? i really want to join u.

    thank you!


  3. lena
    Feb 17, 2009 @ 09:49:05

    I am interested in Guqin but had not chance to learn before.
    I would like to know if there is any class available right now?


  4. Bonnie Victoria Siu
    Jun 16, 2009 @ 20:45:05

    I am newly interested in my chinese culture and would like to learn to play the Guqin. I am however interested in obtaining an ancient styled Guqin that I’ve read on wikipedia that has 10 strings.
    Do you offer lessons?

    Thank you,
    please contact me by phone if you can
    (416)725-9972 🙂

    Bonnie Victoria Siu


  5. 十八
    Oct 03, 2009 @ 16:22:03

    请问怎么才能联系到你们啊。。。。。。我英语不好 这么一长串子的英语= =。。。看不下去。。。。给个中文的吧。。。。。。QQ群什么的有吗??

    泪奔。。。。我留下我的QQ号。。。。。要是联系的话就加。。。。我找不到你们的 和你们在汉网上留言0.0没有人。。。理我。。。QQ:380790427


    • Satsuki Shizuka
      Oct 03, 2009 @ 16:54:13




  6. wendy
    Dec 13, 2009 @ 10:54:44

    Hi, 之前就一直想学的,但是那时候来多伦多不方便。所以就搁下了。现在搬来多伦多了。一直想找机会学习,但是多伦多有卖琴的地方么?现在活着一月份有上课么?



  7. VK
    Oct 02, 2010 @ 19:38:04

    Hi there,

    I want to learn Guqin. Somehow I fail to contact you by click the email option. Could you kindly give me any detail of Guqin lesson? Such as when and where will be the next lesson commence. Thanks a lot!



  8. Carli
    Feb 06, 2011 @ 18:12:06

    Hi there! Wow, I am surprised that there are guqin lessons offered here in Toronto! I’m interested in perhaps trying 1 lesson before deciding on whether I’d like to pursue this instrument. Where do you teach exactly in Toronto (i.e. downtown, Scarborough, etc)?

    Thanks! Your response it greatly appreciated,
    Carli C.


  9. Melissa Wang
    Feb 23, 2011 @ 08:14:05

    Hi there,

    I’m interested in learning guqin. If you could email me back with some details as to location and time that would be greatly appreciated.



  10. Adrian
    Nov 27, 2011 @ 01:03:53

    Hi there

    I currently reside in Richmond Hill – and am interesting in taking up the GuQIn- Before doing so, i want to make sure that this is an instrument for me.

    Is it possible (or do you know of any) shops that rent out the GuQin?

    If all goes well, I do look forward to purchasing one for long term.

    Also looking for lessons uptown Toronto – advice?



  11. Eléonora
    Nov 30, 2011 @ 23:11:59

    I love this blog, I am also a huge fan of this instrument…I downloaded “Flowing Waters” and it’s just such a special sound.


  12. Teresa
    Jan 11, 2012 @ 20:42:22

    Guqing is my favourite Chinese traditional musical instrument. I always want to learn how to play guqing. Please kindly advise when is your next class and how to register. Thanks!


  13. Katherine B.
    Jun 06, 2012 @ 17:21:50

    Hi, I am looking to purchase a Guqin sometime this year, if you know anywhere local or online that offers them at a decent price, please let me know!


  14. Sunshine
    Aug 20, 2012 @ 23:48:54

    Hi, I’m a Chinese girl who just moved to oakville from China.

    If possible, I would really like to know if there are any stores in Toronto that sells Guzheng (not Guqin).

    Thank you.


    • Satsuki Shizuka 五月靜
      Aug 21, 2012 @ 12:07:36

      Hi Sunshine;

      Unfortunately it’ll be a bit far: Both guqin places I have mentioned sell guzhengs, as well as the Harmony Music (yes, as in the one based in Hong Kong) store based in Scarborough. A Google search for them should generate a map.


      • Sunshine Quan
        Aug 26, 2012 @ 20:22:45

        Oh Thanks very much but I’ve already met a friend in Oakville who said that he could get me a fine Guzheng from China.

        Also, that friend is a tea master and he just opened a Chinese tea store in Oakville. He is preparing for some tea lectures now and he’ll probably need someone to play the Guqin, maybe you guys can cooperate or something like that.

        By the way, I have one Hanfu “Quju” and two Hanfu “Ruqun” at home now, and I don’t think I will always wear them (we wear uniforms at school), so I think I can lend them to you if you need them.

        Again, thanks, and best regards.


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