|Dizi - Chinese Flute|
The dizi is a side blown chinese flute. It normally has six finger holes.
A rather distinctive feature of the dizi is that it has a membrane hole.
The membrane hole can be covered up with various membranes to make the dizi sound different.
Click here for diagram and terms.
The dizi is remarkably easy to learn to play. Click here for instructions on learning dizi.
Because dizi are usually made out of bamboo, they have a very mellow sound, which is different from that of
a wooden or plastic recorder. This coupled with the membrane makes it an indeed very unique sounding instrument.
Since its easy to make and sounds so good, the dizi has traditionally been very popular among the Chinese common people.
Today, the dizi is still used in Chinese classical music, and can always be heard during Chinese festivals.
Or if walking the streets of a Chinese city, one may be able to hear in the distance someone playing the dizi.
Its a special piece of world heritage that we should all enjoy.
The history of the evolution of the dizi is quite long - from the neolithic period's
gu di (bone flute), to today's dizi (Chinese bamboo flute),
it has already passed through 8000 years of testing.
Throughout the thousands of years, this musical instument, the Chinese flute, has progressively become more and more
cheerished by the ordinary people of China, using it basically as an accompaniment with folk music ensembles,
while also continuing to develop it as a solo art, which gave them a great performance edge and solo playing
Over two thousand years ago, Confusius is said to have written the Five Classics.
There was a also a "Sixth Classic", the Classic of Music, but was lost
to time - by the Han Dynasty it had completely disappeared. The Classic of Music, in Chinese, is called 樂經 (Yue4 Jing1).
Fortunately, about 1000 years ago, there was another book written, the Treatise on Music (also called the Book of Music) by Chen Yang.
Treatise on Music is called 樂書 (Yue4 Shu1) in Chinese.
According to the Treatise on Music, membrane pasting was invented by Liu Xi, in the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD).
Liu Xi said that his membrane invention was "to help produce better tone quality".
This early dizi prototype was, on account of its extra hole, named the "Seven Star Tube".
Then, during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1662 AC), the dizi gained a major popularity boost.
This is on account of the rise of Kunqu Opera.
Because the membrane makes the dizi loud and gives the tonal quality a very distinctive texture, the dizi is easier
to hear than normal flutes.
Ever since then, the dizi has been the de facto flute of China.
And hence the name Chinese flute that we use today.
|Types of Dizi by Length|
Chinese flutes are divided into different types, according to their length.
short dizi, with relatively high pitch.
medium sized dizi, with a lower pitch. It is normally 40 cm (about 15.75 in.) or more in length.
Large dizi -
long dizi, which have a seventh finger hole.
The large dizi was invented just in recent decades.
These three types basically denote length and the pitch of the instrument. Note that the Large Dizi
also has a seventh finger hole.
|Types of Dizi by Material|
We must also keep in mind the material which the Chinese flute is made of.
Bamboo is by far the most popular, with wood or jade maybe in distant second place.
In case of side blown membrane flutes, these are all also called dizi.
- Chinese bamboo flute - 竹笛 (zhu3 di2)
- Chinese wood flute - 木笛 (mu4 di2)
- Chinese jade flute - 玉笛 (yu4 di2)
- Chinese bone flute - 骨笛 (gu3 di2
- Chinese iron flute - 鐵笛 (tie3 di2)
Except for bamboo, these other types of flute are often rare and extremely hard to find.
Bamboo and wood may be the only good-sounding Chinese flutes.
With so much fake jade being produced in China, its hard to tell if its real or not.
In fact, its far more likely to buy a fake jade flute than it is to buy a real jade flute.
There aren't many factories or craftsmen making these specialty flutes.
They are more like collector's items. You may be able to request a craftsman
to handmake a specialty flute for you, but it would be extremely expensive.
If you would like a quote on a specialty flute, please contact us
for a quote. We will try to find the appropriate craftsman for your flute.
|For More Information|
If you'd like to know something else about Chinese flutes that isn't on this website, please contact us.
We'd like to provide you with the best information we can and answer any questions you might have.