The guqin ([kùtɕʰǐn] ( listen); Chinese: 古琴) is a plucked seven-string Chinese musical instrument of the zither family. It has been played since ancient times, and has traditionally been favoured by scholars and literati as an instrument of great subtlety and refinement, as highlighted by the quote "a gentleman does not part with his qin or se without good reason," as well as being associated with the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius. It is sometimes referred to by the Chinese as "the father of Chinese music" or "the instrument of the sages". The guqin is not to be confused with the guzheng, another Chinese long zither also without frets, but with moveable bridges under each string. Traditionally, the instrument was simply referred to as the "qin" (琴) but by the twentieth century the term had come to be applied to many other musical instruments as well: the yangqin hammered dulcimer, the huqin family of bowed string instruments, and the Western piano are examples of this usage. The prefix "gu-" (古; meaning "ancient") was later added for clarification. Thus, the instrument is called "guqin" today. It can also be called qixian-qin (七絃琴; lit. "seven-stringed zither"). Because Robert Hans van Gulik's book about the qin is called The Lore of the Chinese Lute, the guqin is sometimes inaccurately called a lute.
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