Introduction and History of Chinese Traditional Instruments

1. 古琴 Guqin

It is also called “琴” (Qin) or “七弦琴” (Seven-stringed Zither) and deemed “Father of Chinese Instruments.” The oldest writing about Guqin is showed in 《詩經》(collection of poems) three thousand years ago, and the most similar instrument to Guqin was first found in ancient tombs in 5B.C.~2 B.C.


Guqin has large vibrating amplitude and a tone rich in the lower register which fits in with the sounds of the nature and the oriental culture.

2. 琵琶 PIPA

PIPA is a plucked string instrument and has been existing for over two thousand years. The most ancient instrument to be called “琵琶” was in 秦朝 (Qin Dynasty, 200 B.C.), and there were mainly two types of PIPA at that time. In 唐朝 (Tang Dynasty, 600 A.D.), PIPA became very popular and was considered one of the most important instruments.


“PI” and “PA” are two plucking techniques. “PI” and “PA” are played in forward direction and opposite direction respectively. Nowadays, PIPA has ongoing reformed to a pear shape instrument with four strings, use fingers instead of pick for plucking and changed the performing style from horizental to vertical.

3. 古箏 Guzheng

It is one of the oldest instruments in China and also called “箏” (Zheng) or “秦箏” (Qinzheng), which was named because of its high popularity in Qin territory before 220 B.C. Today, Guzheng has highly developed and is one kind of the traditional musical instruments among people in China.


Nowadays, Guzhengs are made with steel and nylon and have twelve to twenty-five strings. The smaller one near the head of the instrument is used for affixing the strings, while the bigger one in the middle is for the sound to transmit downward.

4. 二胡 Erhu

Erhu is a bowed instrument and has a long history. It was imported from northern minorities in Tang Dynasty (6 A.D. ~ 9 A.D.) After a long time of development, it derived into varios species, but the performing techniques are basically the same.


Erhu has beautiful timbre and can reach to three octaves in normal, so it can display all kinds of rhythms, speeds and styles of tune due to its wild range. It can also be played harmoniously with other string and wind instruments.

5. 笛子 Dizi

It is also called “竹笛” (Chudi, most Dizi are made of bamboo) or “Horizontal Flute”. Dizi was first showed from the rubbings of the ancient tombs and murals of Dunhuang in Han Dynasty. (2 B.C. ~1 A.D.) There are different kinds of dizi being used in China, but the most popular ones are “曲笛” (Qudi) and “梆笛” (Bangdi).


Among the bamboo, there are one hole for blowing, another for the membrane and still six others for the scale. Bangdi is much smaller and has higher pitch than Qudi. Didi has more than two octaves and has wilder range in the recent decades.

6. Plucked String Instruments

揚琴 (Yangqui) – It is known as Dulcimer and delivered to China in Ming Dynasty. (14 A.D. ~ 17 A.D.) and is a type of combination of both percussion and strings.

柳琴 (Liuqin) – It is named due to the shape – willow leaf – and is an instrument being spread and used in northern Jiangsu, southern Shangond and Anhui.

月琴 (Yueqin) – It is developed from the instrument Ruan. It has two octaves and is used as the accompanied instrument of various operatic music, folk singing and talks.

三弦 (Sanxian) – It has three strings and is developed from Xiantao in Qin Dynasty. (2 B.C.) There are two types of Sanxian in the north and south of China and with different styles.

阮 (Ruan) – It is also called “阮琴”(Ruanqin) or “阮咸”(Ruanhsien) and was created by people in Han Dynasty. (2B.C.) It is used in solo, accompaniment and orchestral works.

鼓琶 (Gupa) – It is created by Cheng Wu-Jia and is a kind of plucked instrument.



You can get more info!!!

Domo Music Group Website


This entry was posted in Chinese Instrumental Music and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Comments to Introduction and History of Chinese Traditional Instruments

  1. GerardDHavey says:

    Hello my member of the family! I wish to state that this post is amazing,
    great written and come with approximately all vital infos.

    I’d like to find out more posts such as this .

  2. MylesEMunter says:

    Excellent post. I was once checking continuously this blog and I am impressed!
    Very helpful info particularly the closing phase :) I maintain such
    information a great deal. I used to be seeking
    this particular info for the very long time. Thanks and best of

  3. HermanSKuhlo says:

    Having check this out I thought it was very informative.
    I appreciate you spending a while as well as to put this information together.
    One time i again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both
    reading and leaving comments. But so what on earth, it had
    been still worth it!

  4. DarinNDelvin says:

    What a material of un-ambiguity and preserveness of precious familiarity regarding
    unpredicted feelings.

  5. LesterSTaibi says:

    Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It actually was a enjoyment account
    it. Look advanced to more added agreeable from you!
    However, how could we keep in touch?

  6. FabianFWiebe says:

    Yesterday, while I was at work, my sister stole my iPad and tested to see if it can survive
    a twenty five foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now broken and
    she has 83 views. I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  7. LoganMOhms says:

    It’s very effortless to determine any matter on web as compared to textbooks, while i found this article at this

  8. DongCBulacan says:

    Hey! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone 3gs!
    Just wanted to say I love reading through your
    blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the great work!

  9. TommyTElwood says:

    Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any
    widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet
    my newest twitter updates. I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for
    quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some
    experience with something like this. Please let me know if you run into anything.

    I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to
    your new updates.

  10. JuliPAndel says:

    Aw, this was an extremely nice post. Finding the time and actual effort to make a superb article but what can I say I procrastinate a lot and
    don’t seem to get anything done.

  11. LunaEMoake says:

    If some one needs expert view regarding blogging then i advise him/her to head
    to see this blog, Continue the nice work.

  12. KingAUlbrich says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate your efforts and
    I am waiting for your further post thanks once again.

  13. ShonICreehan says:

    Pretty! This was an extremely wonderful article. Thank you for supplying this

  14. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but
    I find this matter to be actually something that I think I would never
    understand. It seems too complex and extremely broad for me.
    I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang
    of it!

  15. You’ve made some good points there. I looked on the net for
    more information about the issue and found most people will
    go along with your views on this web site.

  16. I do trust all of the ideas you have presented on your post.

    They’re very convincing and will definitely
    work. Still, the posts are too quick for starters. May just you please lengthen them a little
    from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

  17. BrandyGTalbot says:

    Remarkable things here. I am very satisfied to look your article.
    Thank you so much and I am having a look forward to
    touch you. Will you kindly drop me a mail?

  18. What’s up Dear, are you truly visiting this website regularly,
    if so afterward you will without doubt get good know-how.

  19. Excellent beat ! I wish to apprentice even as you amend your web site, how could i subscribe for a blog site?

    The account aided me a appropriate deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast
    offered bright clear concept

  20. I think the admin of this web page is actually
    working hard for his web page, because here every data is quality
    based data.

  21. AlbertineOVey says:

    This post provides clear idea in support of the new people of blogging, that genuinely
    how to do blogging.

  22. This site truly has all the information I needed about
    this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

  23. I always used to study post in news papers but now as I am
    a user of net so from now I am using net for articles,
    thanks to web.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

+ eight = 10