Featured | A young man from Huzhou and his Guqin dream with database

2020-08-26 13:49:02 source: Huang Xiaoxing


How much energy does it take to make a Guqin, the traditional Chinese music instrument?

 

Lu Yunkai, a science student who deals with data and experiment has stepped into the world of Guqin by chance. This kind of collision to a post-90s like him is even more fascinating than being a director of a branch office in Poland. So he quit his job and became a full-time luthier, making and repairing Guqin.

 

微信图片_20200818165254.jpg


Generally speaking, there are very few Guqin players who take part in the Guqin business even in the whole country. It takes one to three months for production, and half a year to repair.

 

Working so hard, Lu Yunkai has his own purpose. Repairing Guqin is just a means. He intends to observe the craftsmanship of Guqin players all over the country while repairing them, and collect the data into his "Guqin database".

 

Lu Yunkai told his story to the reporter during the interview. 

 

"My interest in Guqin can be traced back to when I was a teenager. I fell in love with it at first sight. But at that time, Guqin was not popular and there was a little approach to study it", he said. 

 

微信图片_20200818165257.jpg


Later, I went to university to study computer science and did software development after graduation.

 

In 2015, I posted a post on the forum asking if anyone knew where to learn Guqin. A netizen left a phone number for me, and I found the teacher Tan Shaofei. He gave me a direct slap on the phone. "Give up. It's a waste of energy and money. Or you should go back and think about it."

 

I didn't think about it at all. I was determined to learn. The next day, I called him again, only to know that he didn't really want to let me down, but to scare off some people in this way. That's how I started my learning.

 

微信图片_20200818165300.png


Besides, I learned to make Guqin with a teacher from Taiwan. Every day after work,I went there to play and make piano at around 5 p.m. I also bought a pile of books and studied till two o’clock in the middle of the night.

 

I didn't feel tired at first. Later, however, the company asked me to work as a director in Poland, and my annual salary could be tripled. But that also means a lot more pressure. After a year's hesitation, I finally gave up going to Poland and became a full-time luthier in 2018.

 

My wife always said that I was a science student exploring the art world. She grows up in a Guqin family. Her grandfather was a worker in Suzhou National Musical Instrument Factory, passing on a complete set of silk string production process to her. She is also one of the few people who master this craft in China. Now we operate Qingjingsi Guqin studio together. I make Guqin while she makes the string.

 

After reading so many books and papers, I found that even though we have entered the Internet society, the luthier industry is still in the 1.0 era. Books only tell you to choose "light, loose, crisp and slippery" wood to make Guqin. However, there is no quantitative standard for what is "light, loose, crisp, and slippery" wood.

 

I gradually found that the advanced means can be applied to find standard answers to the original so-called experience and terminology.

 

I don’t like to work with "feelings". I always hope to quantify these feelings. For example, the uniformity of sound quality can be measured and adjusted with tools.

 

微信图片_20200818165317.png


I support the industrialization of Guqin production. Compared with the violin, the Guqin industry still falls far behind. Foreign industrialization is quite mature that the same batch of the violin has the same sound. However, the situation is not the same when it comes to Guqin.

 

People don't like studying Guqin with modern technology.

 

One thing I was particularly impressed by was that once luthiers were arguing about what kind of material should be used to glue the surface of Guqin in a group. There were different opinions, but no one could explain it clearly.

 

So I did an experiment about these glues, and wrote a report and sent it to the group. There was no response, however. My wife told me that some people did not understand what I was writing, and felt that I had challenged their authority.

 

微信图片_20200818165320.jpg


Thus, I rarely publicize the results of my own experiments anymore. In order to collect data, I thought about repairing, which would widen my horizon at the same time.

 

In fact, my quality of life has plummeted since I started studying Guqin. But what I really care about is that my database will be more and more perfect. After collecting and sorting out, I can provide an encyclopedia for the public, so that it will be easier for people to learn Guqin.


(Compiled and translated by Xu Yuhong)

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12230733 Featured | A young man from Huzhou and his Guqin dream with database public html

How much energy does it take to make a Guqin, the traditional Chinese music instrument?

 

Lu Yunkai, a science student who deals with data and experiment has stepped into the world of Guqin by chance. This kind of collision to a post-90s like him is even more fascinating than being a director of a branch office in Poland. So he quit his job and became a full-time luthier, making and repairing Guqin.

 

微信图片_20200818165254.jpg


Generally speaking, there are very few Guqin players who take part in the Guqin business even in the whole country. It takes one to three months for production, and half a year to repair.

 

Working so hard, Lu Yunkai has his own purpose. Repairing Guqin is just a means. He intends to observe the craftsmanship of Guqin players all over the country while repairing them, and collect the data into his "Guqin database".

 

Lu Yunkai told his story to the reporter during the interview. 

 

"My interest in Guqin can be traced back to when I was a teenager. I fell in love with it at first sight. But at that time, Guqin was not popular and there was a little approach to study it", he said. 

 

微信图片_20200818165257.jpg


Later, I went to university to study computer science and did software development after graduation.

 

In 2015, I posted a post on the forum asking if anyone knew where to learn Guqin. A netizen left a phone number for me, and I found the teacher Tan Shaofei. He gave me a direct slap on the phone. "Give up. It's a waste of energy and money. Or you should go back and think about it."

 

I didn't think about it at all. I was determined to learn. The next day, I called him again, only to know that he didn't really want to let me down, but to scare off some people in this way. That's how I started my learning.

 

微信图片_20200818165300.png


Besides, I learned to make Guqin with a teacher from Taiwan. Every day after work,I went there to play and make piano at around 5 p.m. I also bought a pile of books and studied till two o’clock in the middle of the night.

 

I didn't feel tired at first. Later, however, the company asked me to work as a director in Poland, and my annual salary could be tripled. But that also means a lot more pressure. After a year's hesitation, I finally gave up going to Poland and became a full-time luthier in 2018.

 

My wife always said that I was a science student exploring the art world. She grows up in a Guqin family. Her grandfather was a worker in Suzhou National Musical Instrument Factory, passing on a complete set of silk string production process to her. She is also one of the few people who master this craft in China. Now we operate Qingjingsi Guqin studio together. I make Guqin while she makes the string.

 

After reading so many books and papers, I found that even though we have entered the Internet society, the luthier industry is still in the 1.0 era. Books only tell you to choose "light, loose, crisp and slippery" wood to make Guqin. However, there is no quantitative standard for what is "light, loose, crisp, and slippery" wood.

 

I gradually found that the advanced means can be applied to find standard answers to the original so-called experience and terminology.

 

I don’t like to work with "feelings". I always hope to quantify these feelings. For example, the uniformity of sound quality can be measured and adjusted with tools.

 

微信图片_20200818165317.png


I support the industrialization of Guqin production. Compared with the violin, the Guqin industry still falls far behind. Foreign industrialization is quite mature that the same batch of the violin has the same sound. However, the situation is not the same when it comes to Guqin.

 

People don't like studying Guqin with modern technology.

 

One thing I was particularly impressed by was that once luthiers were arguing about what kind of material should be used to glue the surface of Guqin in a group. There were different opinions, but no one could explain it clearly.

 

So I did an experiment about these glues, and wrote a report and sent it to the group. There was no response, however. My wife told me that some people did not understand what I was writing, and felt that I had challenged their authority.

 

微信图片_20200818165320.jpg


Thus, I rarely publicize the results of my own experiments anymore. In order to collect data, I thought about repairing, which would widen my horizon at the same time.

 

In fact, my quality of life has plummeted since I started studying Guqin. But what I really care about is that my database will be more and more perfect. After collecting and sorting out, I can provide an encyclopedia for the public, so that it will be easier for people to learn Guqin.


(Compiled and translated by Xu Yuhong)

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