Traditional Chinese Musical Instrument

Ancient Chinese believed that the music could purify people's minds. More than 3,000 years ago, ancient China had some 70 types of musical instruments. The royal family and aristocrats had their own orchestra. For them, music was also a way to display their power, position and taste distinguished from common people. However, as music was never limited to the upper social class, the musical trend gradually turned from solemnity to entertaining. Huge and complex instruments like the bronze chimes gave way to more lively and easy-play wind and reed instruments. The Tang Dynasty, one of the strongest and most prosperous empires in Chinese history, was a golden age for musical development. Many of the Tang emperors were musicians or composers themselves. With frequent cultural exchanges with other cultures, a large number of exotic instruments were introduced, altered and finally adopted into the family of Chinese traditional instruments. Chinese traditional musical instruments can be mainly classified into three categories, string, wind and percussion. Here is a brief introduce to typical Chinese musical instruments.

Xun

Xun

Xun(Chinese: 埙) is a kind of wind instrument. It’s one of the oldest musical instruments found so far in China with a history of more than 7,000 years, and play a important role in world music circle. The instrument has been found along the Yangtze River and the Yellow River as Neolithic relics, and is believed very popular in ancient China. The ancestors used a kind of oval stone with naturally formed holes on it to hunt the preys. When thrown it at the animals, the stone produced a whist... More

 
Xiao

Xiao

Xiao (Chinese: 箫) is one of the oldest musical instrument in China. It’s a kind of wind instrument. It enjoyed a time-honored history. The melody of vertically-played bamboo flute or Xiao in Chinese, reminds people of a lonely moon highly hanging in the sky of a frosty autumn night. The sound of it is the sound of nature. The timber is soft, elegant. Development The earliest Xiao appeared during the Han Dynasty (206BC -220AD), and it was then called Qiangdi, which was popular among t... More

 
Sheng

Sheng

Sheng,one of the oldest musical instrument in China, is a kind of wind instrument. And it’s the oldest musical instrument used reed in the world. It has played an active role in promoting the development of Western musical instruments. In 1978, Paosheng, the earliest form of Sheng, were unearthed in Hubei Province in a royal tomb with a history more than 2,400 years ago. The development of the Sheng can be traced back to 3,000 years ago. The instrument is quite similar in form to another k... More

 
Pipa

Pipa

Pipa has four-stringed lute with 30 frets and pear-shaped body. The musician holds the instrument upright and play with five small plectrums attached to each finger of the right hand. The history of Pipa dates back at least 2,000 years. This instrument has extremely wide dynamic range and is remarkably rich and expressive. The original pipa comes to us from the second century BC. Poetry and drawings depict an instrument held horizontally and named for the forward (pi) and backwards (pa) pluck... More

 
Guzheng

Guzheng

Chinese Zither (Chinese name: Guzheng) is one of traditional musical instruments in China. It’s a kind of plucked instrument. It originated during the Warring Period more than 2,500 years ago in China. The earliest known versions were constructed with a bamboo frame and used silk strings. Its scale was pentatonic, using the notes DO, RE, MI, SO, and LA with a major note for each of its five strings. Because Guzheng was developed in a region called ‘Qin Guo', its name became known as ... More

 
Guqin

Guqin

Guqin, the oldest musical instrument in China, is also known as the Seven-stringed instrument. The body is a long and narrow wooden sound box. Usually, it is 130 centimeters long, 20 centimeters wide and 5 centimeters high. The surface is generally made of paulownia wood or China fir, and has seven strings stretched along it. On the edges are 13 inlaid jade markers. Catalpa wood is used for the base, and there are two holes, one big and one small, which are named the‘phoenix pool' and &lsq... More

 
Erhu

Erhu

Erhu, a kind of bowed instrument, is the most representative one in the Chinese traditional folk musical instrument. As one of the most popular Chinese string instruments the two-stringed vertical fiddle has a long history of more than 1,000 years. Capable of making expressive and haunting sound, Erhu is extremely popular in China today as a medium for both traditional and contemporary music as well as plays an important role in both solo and orchestral performances. Characters Although ha... More

 
Drum

Drum

China, Mesopotamia ancient Egypt, ancient India are regarded as home of drum. As a traditional percussion instrument, drum occupies a prominent place in Chinese culture. According to the ancient literature, it might as old as Chinese history itself. The existing earliest documentation of its application occurs in Oracle Inscriptions of the Shang Dynasty (1600BC-1100BC). As an old and wonderful form of art, the drum has been employed in almost every aspect of Chinese social life, including sac... More

 
Dizi

Dizi

Flute (Chinese pinyin: Dizi) is a kind of ancient Chinese musical instrument and is the most representative musical instrument with with strong ethnic characteristics. Dizi is always performed in occasions, such as Chinese traditional orchestra, western symphony orchestra and so on. It’s regarded as in inseparable part of wind instruments. Most of Dizi is made of bamboo, for bamboo Dizi has nice sound effect. For many Chinese people, the melody of the transversely-played bamboo flute c... More

 
Chinese Chimes

Chinese Chimes

Chinese chimes are large-scale musical instrument in China, which originated in the Western Zhou Dynasty (1046BC-771BC), and reached heyday during the Warring States period (770BC-221BC). Chinese Chimes are made flat with sharp corners like two tiles pieced together. So the sound wanes faster, making it possible to organize the bells into groups and play them as a rhythm instrument. Zeng Houyi's Bronze Chimes, thousands of years from now, are perhaps the greatest find among all the chimes uneart... More

 

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