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Traditional Chinese Instruments: Strings of Eternity

Have you seen her(碰碰彭碰彭Jingxuan) playing ‘see you again‘ in France yet?

This video goes viral in CHINA and overseas with 14000000 views on Youtube within a year.

One of the reasons why 碰碰彭碰彭Jingxuan YouTube channel is super successful is that she picks all the camera friendly spots to film her traditional Chinese music playing.

What’s the instrument she is playing? It’s called Gu Zheng, one of the traditional Chinese instruments.

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In China, we have so many photogenic places are waiting for you to explore. Trust me, you will be impressed!

1. Guzheng古箏 — A Chinese Zither

Guzheng, also known as the zheng, is a Chinese plucked zither with a more than 2,500-year history.

The modern guzheng typically has 21 strings, is 64 inches (1,600 mm) long, and is tuned in a major pentatonic scale.

It is usually played by a female musician sitting on a chair in front of the instrument.

Players always wear fingerpicks made from plastic, resin, or other materials. Guzheng players often perform solo.

2. Pipa 琵琶 — Chinese Lute or Chinese Guitar

Pipa is a four-stringed Chinese musical instrument, belonging to the plucked category of instruments.

Sometimes called the ‘Chinese guitar’, the instrument has a pear-shaped wooden body with a varying number of frets ranging from 12 to 26.

3. Erhu二胡 — Chinese Violin

Erhu is a two-stringed bowed musical instrument, more specifically a fiddle, which may be the most common instrument in the Chinese orchestra.

Its history can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

It’s a very common traditional instrument to learn for Chinese kids.

4. Dizi 笛子 — Chinese Transverse Flute

Dizi, also known as the “bamboo flute”, is a Chinese transverse flute made of bamboo.

It is also an important instrument in the Chinese orchestra.

The dizi has a history of over 8,000 years, and is one of the oldest musical instruments in China.

This is the basic instrument to buy for your kids in China and almost each housewhole has one at home dusted still not knowing how to blow.

5. Suona 唢呐-Chinese Trumpet

Suona is a Chinese woodwind instrument similar to the oboe.

It is often used in Chinese folk music, and is also a popular instrument in the Chinese orchestra.

The suona has a history of over 1,000 years, and is known for its loud and piercing sound.

You will hear it at traditional Chinese funerals in the countryside.

6. Hulusi 葫芦丝 — Cucurbit Flute

Hulusi, a kind of free-reed wind instrument, is one of the musical instruments specially associated with Yunnan (and South China) ethnic minorities.

A hulusi has three bamboo pipes and a gourd wind chest at the end with the mouthpiece.

The center pipe has finger holes while the two on both sides are the drone pipes.

‘Phoenix Tail Bamboo under Moonlight’ (月光下的凤尾竹) is one of the most famous melodies played on a hulusi.

7. Fou 缶 — Chinese Drum

Fou is an ancient Chinese percussion instrument consisting of a crock, jar, pot, or similar vessel, which was struck with a stick.

Its origin dates back to the Xia or Shang dynasties, where it was used in ritual music.

It was first confirmed in 2005 that the Fou is an instrument, with the discovery of nearly 500 musical instruments in the Tombs for Nobles of the Yue State, Wuxi City, Jiangsu Province.

Its first modern appearance was made in Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony in 2008.

8. Bianzhong 编钟 — Chinese Chime Bells

Bianzhong, also known as chime bells, are a type of ancient Chinese musical instrument.

The earliest examples of bianzhong date back to the 3rd millennium BCE, and they were used as a form of ritual music in ancient China.

Bianzhong were traditionally made of bronze, and they were played by striking the bells with a mallet.

Each bell would produce a unique sound, and the bianzhong would be tuned to create a specific scale.

In the 8th century CE, the Emperor Xuanzong of Tang (r. 712-756 CE) is said to have had a set of bianzhong that consisted of 64 bells.

Today, bianzhong can still be found in China, and they are played in a variety of settings, from traditional Chinese music concerts to more modern pop music performances.

9. Xiao 箫 — Chinese Vertical End-Blown Flute

It is made of bamboo and has holes on the top. It is said that the xiao was developed from an end-blown flute that was used by the Qiang ethnic groups of Southwest China in ancient times.

The playing techniques for the xiao are like those for the bamboo flute.

The xiao is most suitable for playing long, quiet, and sentimental songs.

You can hear them a lot from the historical Chinese series shown on Netflix.

10. Guqin 古琴 — Chinese Seven-String Instrument

Guqin is a plucked seven-string Chinese musical instrument of the zither family.

It has been played for more than 2000 years in China.

Guqin music is traditionally considered to be cultivated and elegant.

The guqin has been associated with Chinese scholars and literati since ancient times, and it is said that “a gentleman does not part with his qin or se without good reason.”

Guqin music was traditionally used for storytelling, self-entertainment, and meditation.

The guqin is a very fragile and delicate instrument, and it is said that “one drop of water can ruin a qin.”

As a result, the guqin has been largely abandoned in recent years in favor of more durable and easier to play instruments.


On October 8, 2014, a group of young musicians gathered together and formed Zi De guqin Studio because of their shared love for traditional Chinese culture.

They play Chinese traditional instruments, wear costumes and makeup in ancient styles with the aim of transmitting traditional Chinese culture, wish to bring classical Chinese arts into everyday life and introduce it to the whole world.

Here is the most popular playing from them with 950000 views from Youtube and double the number within Mainland China.


How many traditional instruments can you recognize from the video below?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

What is the most traditional Chinese instrument?

The most traditional one is guzheng. It is widely considered the most popular traditional Chinese music instrument, and can be considered the equivalent of the piano in Western music.

What is China’s oldest instrument?

The oldest is Jiahu gǔdí (贾湖骨笛) dating back to around 6000 BCE. Gudi means “bone flute” in Chinese.

What are the 8 classification of Chinese instruments?

The eight classifications are silk, bamboo, wood, stone, metal, clay, gourd, and hide.

What is a Chinese drum called?

The tanggu (堂鼓; pinyin: tánggǔ) is a traditional Chinese drum from the 19th century.
It is medium in size and barrel-shaped, with two heads made of animal skin, and is played with two sticks.

What is a China boy instrument?

The bo (simplified Chinese: 钹) is a percussion instrument originating in China, a type of cymbal.
It consists of two plates that are clashed together. It is a concussion idiophone.

What is a Chinese instrument that is also called Moon guitar?

It’s yueqin, also called moon guitar, Chinese lute, one of a family of flat, round-bodied lutes found in Central and East Asia.

Do you need nails to play guqin?

Unlike other plucked instruments such as guzheng and pipa,  guqin requires little force to play.

What is the difference between a guqin and zither?

The essential difference is that guzheng features around 18 or 21 moveable bridges underneath its strings, where the guqin has none.
Both versions are known for the unique depth of their string resonance.

What is the Chinese violin called?

Er he

What is the difference between a dizi and xiao flute?

Dizi can be played both vertically (end-blown) and horizontally. “Xiao” was eventually given to the end-blown instruments.

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