Volume 4, Chapter 6:

Dictionary of Left-Hand Symbols


da(4) (lit. “big”).  This is the so-called "chief finger" of Mencius.[1]  It is the first finger of the hand.[2]


shi(2).  According to the Zuo-chuan (左傳),[3]  this is Zi-gong's motion of the eating finger.  That is, the second finger of the hand[4].  shi(2) is at times used in the tablature.


zhong(1) (lit. “middle”).  It is called the "leading" finger.  This is the third finger of the hand.


ming(2) (lit. "name").  Mencius said: "Now we have the no-name finger".  This is the fourth finger of the hand.[5]


gui(4) (lit. "to kneel").  The two joints of the ring finger are bent so that the last digit of the finger "kneels" to press a qin string down.  This is used from the seventh hui up (towards the bridge).  When the hui are too close together, and gui presses down two strings, one may have flesh on one and fingernail on the other.  The technique of pressing a string with gui should be well practiced.  Practice it long enough so that there is no pain and so that no weak rough sounds are made.


yi(1).  The first hui.[6]  er(2).  The second hui.


san(1).  The third hui.  si(4).  The fourth hui.


wu(3). The fifth hui.  liu(4).  The sixth hui.


qi(1).  The seventh hui.  ba(1).  The eighth hui.


jiu(3).  The ninth hui.  shi(2).  The tenth hui.


shi(2)-yi(1).  The eleventh hui.  shi(2)-er(4).  The twelfth hui.


shi(2)-san(1).  The thirteenth hui.


In qin tablature, these positions marking the thirteen harmonics are written out in a normal way, but are not usually considered to be part of the set of qin (tablature) symbols.  However we list them here. 


Twelfth hui, sixth fen, second li.[7]  Ninth hui, sixth fen, second li.

Seventh hui, sixth fen, second li.  Sixth hui, third fen, seventh li. 


Fourth hui, third fen, seventh li.  First hui, third fen, seventh li.


These six harmonic positions, up to now have not been put in old qin handbooks.[8]  I have examined the string notes and determined them.  Details may be found in Volume 1, "Examination of the String Tones" (Xuan-lu-kao-shi 絃律考) in the section entitled "Explanatory Table on the Four Divisions of Harmonics" (四均泛音表說).[9]  But this is not the only reason, as one could use them in (new) qin songs.  Thus they are listed here. If on the first string (), at hui positions 1, 4, 7, 10, and 13, we consider that note to be "do" (), then we find those notes in harmony with hui positions, 2, 5, 9, and 11, the major seventh note (變宮) on the third string ().[10]  These (six new) harmonics do not match up, except in the case of string two (), where they harmonize with the fundamental sound of the string.


Hui thirteen, first fen, first li. hui ten, fifth fen, fifth li.


hui seven, fifth fen fifth li. sixth hui, fourth fen, fourth li.


third hui, fourth fen, fourth li.


These five harmonic positions are also not annotated in old handbooks.  Details may be found in the section: "Explanatory Table on the Four Divisions of Harmonics".


Hui thirteen, first fen, first li.  Hui twelve, second fen, fifth li.


Hui ten, eighth fen.  Hui ten.


Ninth hui, fifth fen, fifth li.  Ninth hui, fourth fen, second li. 


Eighth hui, fifth fen.  Seventh hui, ninth fen, second li. 


Seventh hui, sixth fen, second li.   Sixth hui, fourth fen, fourth li.


Sixth hui, second fen, second li.  Fifth hui, ninth fen, second li. 


 Fifth hui,  sixth fen, second li.   Fifth hui, third fen, fourth li. 


 Fourth hui, eigth fen.  Fourth hui, fifth fen, fifth li. 


 Fourth hui, third fen, seventh li.  Fourth hui, first fen, sixth li.


 Third hui, fourth fen, fourth li.   Third hui, second fen, second li. 


 Second hui, ninth fen, second li.   Second hui,  sixth fen, second li.


 Second hui, third fen, third li.   First hui, eighth fen.


 First hui, fifth fen, fifth li.  First hui, third fen, seventh li.


 First hui, first fen, sixth li. 


All pressed positions on the strings derive from the fundamental pitches ().  Some are found exactly at the hui.  Some are found between the hui, at some number of fen and li .[11]  Down through time in old qin handbooks, only a rough and inexact approximation of the position at some hui and some fen has been recorded.  Hui have certain categories in terms of (inter-hui) distance.  If far apart, then the distances between (the pitches) are not a finger wide, but if you press down incorrectly, you still may create a mistaken note.  If close together, then one finger may span the pitches and if you are too far to the left or right, then you may not hit the correct (note).  Therefore we must annotate the correct li position and then afterwards press and obtain the correct pitch.  I offer this as an excellent standard.  This is a clear improvement over previous people who only give a certain hui and fen position in their tablature.  (Above) when we have both a pressed note and harmonic at the same position, we place a small circle to the side.[12]  This should help to make things understandable.  All tablature hui positions, not yet entered into qin symbol collections, are now enumerated.


shang(4).  Any (move) towards the bridge could be called shang .  To move from the left to the right, all are called "to go up".[13]


xia(4).  Any move towards the nut (dragon's gums) can be called xia .  From the right to the left can all be called "to go down".


By shang we mean: after playing at some position, the finger moves up one position[14] to obtain sound.  Xia means: after playing, move down one position.  Or one may have two shang, two xia, or one shang, and one xia, or two shang, and one xia, or one shang and two xia.  In analysis of the usage of shang and xia as annotated in qin music, it should be understood that it is essential to hit the correct modal tone, and avoid some random move that does not involve the correct position. 


an(4).  Place the finger at some playing position and press the string down evenly.  We call this an (lit. "to press").  For more details, see the General Introduction to the Left Hand.[15] 


chuo(4). From slightly below the position, with a slanted finger, press and ascend up (towards the bridge) to the (playing) position.  Take advantage of this move to make a sound.  We call this chuo .[16]


zhu(4).  From slightly above the position, with a slanted finger press down and descend () into the sound position.  Take advantage of this and play a note.  We call this zhu .


*進復 jin(4)-fu(4) (lit., "advance-return").  [On one string, make two sounds.]  At a pressed position, after playing the string and obtaining a sound, then ascend () one (position).  There should be a sound, and we call this jin (advance).  Now descend

() and return back to the original position.  There should be a sound and we call this fu(return).  As an example, if we are playing at the ninth hui, we ascend one position to the eighth hui and call this jin.  We then descend one position and stop at the ninth hui and call this fu.


退復 tui(4)-fu(4) (lit., withdraw-return).  [On one string, make two sounds.]  After making a sound at a pressed position, then descend one position.  There is a sound and we call this tui 退 (to withdraw).  Then ascend returning to the original position.  We call this fu (to return).  For example, if playing at the ninth hui, then descending one position to the tenth hui, would be tui.  Then ascend one hui and stop at the ninth hui.  This would be fu. 


There are big and small versions of jin-fu, and tui-fu, and narrow or broad distinctions in moving up or down.  One should harmonize the movements according to the scale and not just perform it in a haphazard way.


分開 fen(1)-kai(1).  [On one string, make three sounds.]  On the same string, play it (with the right hand) twice.  First at a pressed position play and make a note.  Then the (left-hand) finger moves up a position to get a sound.  Then return to the pressed position and again play one sound.[17]  Hence we can say the playing divides it up (fen-kai).  In calculating this, there are two sounds played, and one slide up, hence three in all.


ying(4) (lit., "hard/firm").  Make a sound then go up (shang).  Do it directly and with a nimble movement.  This is slightly different from shang.[18]


tang(3).  While performing shang (ascending) up a position, with the final sound not yet finished, continue the sound, and push off back down.


yin(2).  As for yin, with the fingers pressing and playing at some position and having made a note, then go left and right back and forth a bit, nimbly moving with sound.  There should approximately be four to five revolutions, after which, one should return to the original position to finish.  If done too little, then the result is deficient.  If done too much, then the result can be annoying.  It should be done just right in a full and deeply satisfying manner.  Speed and length should not be performed beyond any fully satisfactory way. Treat it as if one was intoning (poetry), and then one will have a satisfactory sound.[19]


綽吟 chuo(4)-yin(2): Do chuo, then yin.


zhu(4)-yin(2). Do zhu, then yin.


落指吟 luo(4)-zhi(3)-yin(2).  The fingers fall to the string, and immediately play yin.[20]


長吟 chang(2)-yin(2). This is a yin that lasts for a long time.


細吟 xi(4)-yin(2). The sound made by yin should be subtle and minute.


ji(2)-yin(2). Yin played with quickness and urgency.


緩吟 huan(3)-yin(2). Yin played in a slow and moderate fashion.


huan(3)-ji(2)-yin(2): On the same string, play twice with yin used both times.  The first time play it slowly (huan), and the second time follows with urgency (ji).  There is never a case of using ji, then huan.


雙吟shuang(1)-yin(2): On the same string, play twice.  In both cases use yin.  This is not the same as huan-ji-yin (). 


定吟  ding(4)-yin(2) (lit. "fixed-yin"): At the place where you press and play,

using the flesh and bone of the finger, make a slight motion.  Do not move from the position.  Then "nail" the surface of the qin with the finger, and obtain a vital living sound.  Hence we say ding-yin 定吟.  Over time with assiduous practice, one will naturally obtain the technique.


逰吟you(2)-yin(2) (lit. "roaming-yin").  [Obtain two sounds.]  The finger takes advantage of performing chuo , and then retreats descending a bit.  It again does chuo back up, and again retreats a bit.  As a rule, there should be two sounds.  The fingers seem to wander.  The technique is similar to two zhuang with a slow release.  This is also called dang(4)-yin(2) 蕩吟.  Under no circumstances add in an additional sound because of another small retreat.


往來吟  wang(3)-lai(2)-yin(2).  For example, press and play at the ninth hui and make a note.  Then slide up (shang ) to the eighth hui position and play yin .  Then go back down to the ninth hui (xia ) and obtain a sound.  Then go back to the eighth hui and play yin again.  Then again go back to the ninth hui.  This is a double jin-fu more or less.  [See above for details on jin-fu.]  Here is another explanation.  At the pressed playing position, make a note.  Then slide down (xia) one position.  And then ascend back (shang) to the original position.  Again slide down to the previous position with a yin there.   These two kinds of wang-lai-yin are distinct.  This symbol is written down in order to avoid having to repeatedly write shang and xia.   The simplified characters used here simply mean using the yin technique while moving up and down.


飛吟  fei(1)-yin(1).  There are two explanations.  In terms of the pressed position, one may move up (shang) once, and then move down (xia) twice.  From the pressed place, slide up one position.  Then slide down and again slide down an additional position. [For example, press at the ninth hui, and slide up one position to the eighth hui.  Then slide down to the ninth hui, and again slide down to the tenth hui.]  The other interpretation says to slide up twice, and then slide back down twice.  From the pressed position slide up (shang) twice.  Then slide back down two positions and stop.  [For example, you press at the ninth hui, and ascend one position to the eighth hui.  Then you slide up again to the seventh hui.  Then you slide back to the eighth hui, and again slide down to the ninth hui.]  Examine the tablature at the necessary spot very closely.  In some cases it may be clear, or not annotated.  Judge what is written down and the sound as well, and produce a well-reasoned performance. 


nao(2).  With the finger at the playing position, move it back and forth with feeling, approximately exceeding the playing position by two to three tenths (of a hui) to make a sound.  It is bigger than yin, hoary and complete, and the technique is best when played out in a full, perfected manner.  Generally the smaller is yin, and the larger is nao.  Yin provides a living pulse, and nao gives ancient strength.  Thus each has its appropriate use.  Those who are good at yin and nao, must press the strings with feeling, and should avoid buzzing sounds.


緩猱 huan(3)-nao(2).  Play nao in a large and broad fashion.


急猱 ji(2)-nao(2).  Play nao with urgency and speed.


落指  luo(4)-zhi(3)-nao(2).   Similar to luo-zhi-yin 落指.


撞猱 zhuang(4)-nao(2).  We combine nao and zhuang.  [For zhuang, see below.]  Nao essentially means circling above and below a given position to make a note.  Zhuang-nao is similar to nao in aspect, but we only go above, and avoid moving below the current position. 


zhuang(4) (lit. “knock against”).  At the currently pressed position, you have already played and made a sound.  You use the left finger to quickly move slightly up (towards the bridge). Then quickly return to the original position to get another note.

This is called zhuang ().  This technique should be played in an electric-like way.  If played slowly, then you will make two sounds like jin-fu 進復.  Consider this well.


虛撞 xu(1)-zhuang(4).  At some pressed and played position, possibly move up (shang ) one position, and do zhuang.  Or move down (xia ) one position, and do zhuang.  Or another possibility: perform jin-fu 進復 and do zhuang.  Or tui-fu 退復 and do zhuang.  [As examples, one might press at the seventh hui and make a note, then move up one position, and do zhuang.  Or move down one position and do zhuang.]  After pressing and playing, moving up or down to get a note, and then doing zhuang – we call this xu-zhuang.[21] 


dou(4).  Similar to dou (to skillfully vie for something).  In playing and pressing the strings, both fingers must work to bring out a note.  At the end of playing the chou technique, smoothly add in a bump to the original position’s sound.  We call this dou .  The method for zhuang : after pressing and playing at a position, we quickly make a sound.  The method for dou : one must quickly and nimbly obtain a delicate and quiet sound.  This is best.  If the sound made (with dou) is muddy or too strong, one must make a mere touch and that is all.  If in a song, there are suitable places for using this technique, then use it.  It is like the use of the falling tone in a melody which gives a crying like tonality.   In any case, do not use this to excess as it will bore the listener.[22]


使 shi(3).  Given that the right hand has played, and the left hand uses dou , then we say dou.  If the right hand has not played, and the left hand uses dou, this is called shi 使.  It is important that there be no separation here if we are performing yin or nao .  Make it continuous.  [For example, if you press and play and make a note, then slide up (shang ) one position.  Then one could do yin, and when it is almost done, then do a zhuang up, and then return to the original position.  The finger ability here is key.] This is called shi 使.  It is not a xu-zhuang.


huan(4) (lit. “call out”).  [On one string obtain two sounds.]  Take advantage of moving down, and then move back up.  Connecting with the move up, then quickly move down.  It is similar but opposite to zhuang. [23]    [For example, one presses and plays at the ninth hui, and then moves down a little.  Then immediately following moving down, quickly move back to the ninth hui and then again quickly move down a bit.  This is huan.]  It is best if this is played in an electric and quick fashion, and clearly as well.  Note that the same simplified character may be used in place of to mean exchange the fingers.  These two (symbols) do not have the same meaning.



hu(3).  After pressing (with the left hand) and playing (with the right), hold the note for a moment, then ascend one position with a sound.[24]  If one then quickly passes to another string and presses and plays it, we say this is hu .  If there is no slight pause, we cannot call it the hu technique.


yan(3) (lit. “cover”).  The three fingers, thumb, middle, and ring all use the yan () technique.[25]  The method here involves using some left-hand finger and pressing a string to obtain a sound, thus yan.  The right hand is not used to play a string.  It is best to quickly strike the string on the face of the qin. 


虛罨 xu(1)-yan(3) (lit. “empty cover”).  We say yan if we perform yan after playing (a string with the right hand).  On the other hand, we say xu-yan 虛罨 if a string has not been played and only yan is performed.[26]  Although there is a distinction, there is only one yan technique.  In many cases, when using the ring or middle finger, the yan in question is actually a xu-yan. 


搯起 tao(1)-qi(3) (lit. “dig up”).  With the ring finger at a playing position and the thumb at a higher position (towards the bridge), use the thumb to pull up the string and make a sound.  Then the right hand in succession plays a string.  [For example, the ring finger presses at the tenth hui.  The thumb is above the tenth hui and uses the nail to pull up the string to make a sound, followed by a played sound.]  There is a distinction that can be made between two types of tao-qi 搯起.  In one case, it is done at a fundamental position, and in another case it can be done at a separated position.[27]  [For example, if the thumb presses at the ninth hui and pulls off from the ring finger (at the tenth hui), this is the fundamental position.  If the thumb is at the eighth hui and the ring finger is at the tenth hui, this is the separated position.  The thumb then performs this technique over the ninth hui.  Hence this is a separated tao-qi 搯起.]  With this kind of separated tao, errors are often made because the thumb incidentally touches a qin string and drags it making a sound.  In general, the thumb should be poised up above the string.  [Any fingers should be pressed in a firm way and should be as close to the desired strings as possible else the string may be stopped.  Take advantage of the ring finger pressing down the string, and perform the pull off.  Then the result should be clear and not muddled.]  As for the tao-qi technique, this is the work of the thumb.  However the ring finger must remain firmly in place so that (the thumb) can pull off and obtain the sound.  Otherwise the sound will not be clear.  This is the secret. 


對起 dui(4)-qi(3).  (This symbol is) similar to tao-qi 搯起.  Earlier qin players would first have a pressed and played note, and then the left thumb would pull off (zhua-qi 爪起) – this was called dui-qi 對起.  On the other hand, if at the beginning there is no pressed played sound, this was called tao-qi 搯起.   The general principle is that the left hand ring finger presses at some position, and the left hand thumb in succession plays a note. 


tuo(1).  At the end of making a sound with the tao technique, the ring finger then slides up (“drags up”) one position.  The sound is like a cicada’s cry coming out from a tree.


爪起 zhua(3)-qi(3) (lit. “claw up”).  The thumb pulls off the string at the playing position, and obtains an open (string) sound.  This is zhua-qi 爪起.


帶起 dai(4)-qi(3).  The ring finger at a position takes the string and pulls it off obtaining one open (string) sound.  We call this dai-qi 帶起.


放合 fang(4)-he(2) (lit. “release and harmonize”).  With the finger at the playing position, pull off and make a sound.  This is fang .[28]  Taking advantage of the fang (technique), quickly press a second string and with the right hand fingers immediately play a sound.  This should be like one with the fang sound.  We call the latter he .  [For example, if the ring finger presses the sixth string at the eighth hui position, and we perform the fang on the string to get a sound – then taking advantage of this fang, the ring finger subsequently presses on the seventh string, seventh hui, sixth fen, second li.  The right hand then uses gou to make a second sound that harmonizes with the previous fang to become one sound.]  Do not make the two sounds uneven. 


同聲 tong(2)-sheng(1). [Two strings together make a sound.]  On two strings not used in the same manner, make the sounds line up and sound together like one.[29]



同起 tong(2)-qi(3).  [Two strings together make a sound.]  On two strings together make one sound.  This technique is similar to tong-sheng (同聲).


推出 tui(1)-chu(1) (lit. “push out”).  Only the middle finger performs this

technique.  It is only used on string one.  We take the last two digits and at the desired position straighten the bones and muscles pushing out and releasing the string, obtaining the sound.


應合 ying(1)-he(2).  After pressing and playing at some position, with the fingers perhaps moving up () or moving down () there is a sound.  This is made in response to some other open string that has been played (by the right hand).  We call this ying-he 應合.  [For example, assume the ring finger presses and plays the fourth string at the tenth hui, and then ascends to the ninth hui, and you play the seventh string open in such as way as to harmonize with the fourth string.  Or press and play at the ninth hui, and descend (with the same finger) down to the tenth hui, and (at the same time) play the sixth string open, we can say this is mutual agreement and harmonizing.]  A song might have several shang and xia moves, all done according to the ying-he (technique).  One has to consult the music to know.[30]


虛按 xu(1)-an(4) (lit. “empty press”).   After playing an open string, take advantage of the sound in progress, and use the finger to lightly press on the string, restraining the remainder of the sound (the fundamental).  This is similar to harmonics in general.  One must do this in the center of the hui.  But with harmonics proper, when one plays the harmonic, one lightly touches upon the string – one touch and (your finger) rises up.  With xu-an 虛按, then after playing an open string, one lightly restrains the sound, and then the finger rises up.  One is clear and the other is not so clear.  There is a difference in the sound made.  One should clearly distinguish between the two.


泛起 fan(4)-qi(3).  [The harmonics rise up.]   The left hand fingers lightly float slightly touching the strings and are square in the center of the hui.  The right hand then plays the string.  The technique here involves both left and right fingers pressing and playing in conjunction.  The resulting sound is best when it is clear and crisp.  Consequently we can say that (harmonics are a) heavenly sound.  The name here (“floating”) is akin to the idea of a dragonfly skimming the surface of the water.  One touch and then rise up.  This is a good analogy.  The right hand should play firmly near the bridge (yue-shan).  The left hand must be at the center of the hui where it lightly touches (the string).[31]  The left hand should not be off to the side as the sound will fail.


 泛止 fan(4)-zhi(3).  This is to say that the harmonic section ends here. 


再作zai(4)-zuo(4).  According to the previous tablature section, do it again.  Altogether play (the section) twice.   



從頭再作 cong(2)-tou(2)-zai(4)-zuo(4).  From the beginning of the section, play one more time.  Altogether do it twice. 



 再作 cong(2) … zai(4)-zuo(4).  At the side of the tablature where we have the  symbol, start there again and repeat one time.  Altogether play (the section) twice.


二作 er(2)-zuo(4) (lit. “do twice”).  According to previous tablature, from

, repeat twice, for a total of three times in all.


入慢 ru(4)-man(4) (lit. “enter slow”).  Play slowly. 


 少息 shao(3)-xi(2).  A short pause.


大息 da(4)-xi(2).  A somewhat long pause. 


踢宕ti(1)-dang(4).  To play with a variance in tempo, quick or slow -- to add emphasis.[32]


  ci(4).  The second time at a position. 


ji(2).  To play quickly.


huan(3).  To play slowly.


qing(1).  To play lightly.


zhong(4).  To play loudly.[33]


lian(2) (lit. “connected”).  Several notes are jointed energetically without separation.  A straight line at the side of the tablature also has this meaning.[34]


jiu(4) (lit. “to follow on”).  To then play at a certain position or play at some other playing position at the same hui.  The long form may also be used.[35]


zhi(4) (lit. “to reach” or “to”).  Perform gun to () a certain string, or do li to a certain string, or fu () to a certain string. 


  qi(3) (lit. “begin/rise up”).  Used with dai-qi 帶起, tao-qi 搯起, tong-qi 同起, fan-qi 泛起, etc.


不動 bu(2)-dong(4) (lit. “don’t move”).  Do not move from the spot pressed (by the left hand), and then play other strings. 


 曲終qu(3)-zhong(1) (lit. “song-finish”).  A song is finished. 


At whatever playing positions are used, the techniques for choosing sound are not the same.  In some cases, after playing a sound, and the sound has issued forth, then you create another sound.  For example, with the yin , nao , zhuang , huan, jin-fu 進復, tui-fu 退復, shang , or xia techniques, this is the case.  In other cases, one takes advantage of playing a tone that is just starting.  These types include: chuo , zhu , dou , tuo , tang , fan , fang-he 放合, luo-zhi-yin 落指吟 and luo-zhi-nao 落指猱.  Although finger usage may have some similarities, the sounds themselves should be different, each clearly played, leading to a masterly playing style.

[1] Mencius is a Confucian philosopher.

[2] The thumb.

[3] A classic Confucian text.

[4] In the translation, we will call this the index finger. 

[5] This is the ring finger.

[6] Hui are numbered from the point of view of the player from hui one on the right close to the bridge, to the thirteenth hui at the far left.

[7] Remember that a hui is divided up into ten fen .  Each fen is divided into ten li .

[8] Having listed the basic set of harmonics, the author supplies a few unusual sets of harmonics.  In this case, we have harmonics produced by dividing the string area (from bridge to nut) into seven equal divisions.  From an interval tone point of view, if the string (or harmonic at the seventh hui) is deemed a unison, these harmonics would form a flatted seventh. 

[9] The first volume has not been translated and is a comprehensive exploration of both traditional pitch theory and how it maps to notes on the qin zither.  The "four divisions" refers to dividing a qin string up into equal halves, and then taking a remainder half, and divided it again, etc., as one way to find harmonic positions.  He also looks at harmonics produced by dividing the string up into 2, 3, thru 9 equal parts.

[10] Gong and shang here refer to traditional names for strings one and three. By major seventh, he means that for example the harmonic number two on the third string is the major seventh in interval terms compared to the seventh hui of the third string.

[11] Each hui is divided into ten fen, and each fen is divided into 10 li.   These measures are relative to the size of the space between any two hui.

[12] Because of scanning difficulties, here instead of using a small circle, we have underlined the pitch symbols.   For example, the first such symbol (hui thirteen, first fen, first li) is underlined.

[13] Shang literally means to move up, hence "shang yue-shan", to climb Mt. Yueh means to move towards the bridge, which is called the "yue-shan". 

[14] Usually a note in the pentatonic scale.

[15] Which is the predecessor section to this section.  "An" is a general term and refers to any technique in which the left hand is used to press down a string to the qin’s surface.

[16] Shang and chuo are not the same.  With shang, you play the string with the right hand, and then move up towards the bridge.  With chuo, you move up and play at the same time.  Furthermore, with shang you usually move up a note in the pentatonic scale.  With chuo you do not move up a note, but start slightly below the note you wish to play and slide into it.  Shang can be regarded as two notes.  Chuo is only one note.  The relationship between xia and zhu is analogous.  These four techniques are fundamental to the set of left-hand glissandi for the qin.

[17] The two sounds are played at the original left-hand position.

[18] One plays and then moves with shang, here the movements are more continuous.

[19] Yin is a rather standard vibrato.  Nao is slower and wider.

[20] With ordinary yin, one plays a note and then after the note is started plays the vibrato.  Here the vibrato starts at the time the note is originally played.

[21] Xu is used here because there is no right-hand playing just before the zhuang.

[22]According to Li Xiang-ting in his recent two VCD set (Guqin Jiaoxue,  Li Xiang-ting, Zhongyang Yinyue Xueyuan, Beijing Huanqiu Yinxiang Qubanshe, ISRC-CN-A64-00-301-00/V.G4, 2000) which has one CD oriented towards qin techniques, dou is like a zhuang, but with no pause (more continuous).  Our author here implies that it is subtle and quicker.

[23] Again according to Li Xiang-ting in his VCD, huan is simply the opposite of zhuang, a move down and then back up.  Zhu Feng-jie’s notion is similar but that there is one small extra move back down.  Professor Chen Chang-lin has told me in a private letter that huan is lighter than zhuang but its form may be similar, or as Li Xiang-ting states (down then up),  or even down, slightly up past the starting position, and then back to the starting position.  Interpretation here depends most likely on the piece and the performer. 


[24] Pause and glide up.  Note this is not too far off from the older () which has no pause and may have a couple of notes included in the slide up towards the bridge. 

[25] In guitar terms, this is a “hammer-on”. 

[26] In general, xu means that the right hand has not played with this and other left-hand techniques.

[27] Separated means a two position (or two note) separation between the thumb and ring finger.

[28] Typically the ring finger pulls a string towards the player.

[29] The left hand finger on a pressed string must make the same note as on an open string.

[30] Juxtaposition of different timbres on two qin strings is a common technique in qin music. 

[31] The hui mark harmonic positions.

[32] Rubato.

[33] Forte.

[34] Legato.

[35] Jiu implies connectivity between two phrases.