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Traditional Chinese Music

Chinese music goes as far back as Chinese civilization and is highly distinctive compared to its Western counterparts.

Chinese musical instruments can be divided into four basic categories based on the method by which they are played. The first category comprises of stringed instruments such as the huqin. These are made of wood with a piece of snakeskin stretched over the sound box. They have two strings and the bow is permanently lodged between the strings. The second category is plucked instruments, of which there are three types: dulcimers, lutes and harps. The harp is made of either wood or bamboo with steel strings. In the past, the strings were made of silk. The third category is the woodwind section. These are flutes, pipes and Chinese trumpets, which use double reeds like the oboe but sound like a trumpet. The final category is the percussion section. The main instruments include drums, timpani, gongs and cymbals. For certain melodies, bells, xylophones, tuned gongs and the triangle are used. In traditional Chinese opera, the percussion section is called wuchang, or the martial scene.