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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 kind of instrument called the Paixiao.

Sheng originally consists of several bamboo pipes bound together with ropes or wooden frames. To make Sheng distinguishable from Paixiao, designers added bamboo reeds and a cup-shaped Dou to it. The cup-shaped Dou is made of calabash, and the blowtorch is made of wood. A dozen bamboo pipes are arranged on top of the Dou. After the Tang Dynasty, performers began to make wooden Dou. Later, Dou and the reed were made of copper.

sheng, traditional Chinese instrument

Sounds of Sheng

Sheng sounds bright and sweet, the alt of which is clear, the mediant (middle tone) soft, and the bourdon (low note) deep and loud. Among the traditional piped instruments, Sheng is most capable of performing harmonies. Sounds of Sheng for voices with good singability, which is full of Chinese folk style. Sometimes in grand traditional folk orchestras, alto, mediant, and bourdon tones are played together. Sheng is always used as an accompaniment to bamboo flute and Suona (a kind of tradition Chinese musical instrument).