The SlowQin: An Interdisciplinary Approach to reinventing the Guqin

Ho, Echo and de Campo, Prof. Dr. Phil. Alberto and Hoelzl, Hannes

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

This paper presents an ongoing process of examining and reinventing the Guqin, to forge a contemporary engagement with this unique traditional Chinese string instrument. The SlowQin is both a hybrid resemblance of the Guqin and a fully functioning wireless interface to interact with computer software. It has been developed and performed during the last decade. Instead of aiming for virtuosic perfection of playing the instrument, SlowQin emphasizes the openness for continuously rethinking and reinventing the Guqin’s possibilities. Through a combination of conceptual work and practical production, Echo Ho’s SlowQin project works as an experimental twist on Historically Informed Performance, with the motivation of conveying artistic gestures that tackle philosophical, ideological, and socio-political subjects embedded in our living environment in globalised conditions. In particular, this paper touches the history of the Guqin, gives an overview of the technical design concepts of the instrument, and discusses the aesthetical approaches of the SlowQin performances that have been realised so far.