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The guzheng is a plucked string traditional Chinese instrument. The actual instrument has 21 strings which are played with a plectrum enabling to pluck strings. The guzheng is a very ancient instrument which dates back to 2500 years.
The yangqin is a hammered dulcimer who has Middle-East and Persian roots: it was actually inspired by the Persian santur instrument. The yangqin arrived in China during the 17th century, but the mystery remains about its introduction into the country. Some think it would have arrived by sea, others by land, or invented by the Chinese themselves. Given its late apparition, it is considered as a relatively young instrument among the other traditional Chinese instruments.
The pipa is a piriform lute with four strings. Native of India or Central Asia, it was introduced in China during the Han Dynasty, evolved and took its particular form during the Jin dynasty (5th century). It was a very popular instrument in the Tang era, with four frets and four silk strings played with a plectrum. It has since evolved and now features thirty frets and four metal strings pinched with artificial tabs. Beside its popularity, the pipa is probably the most difficult Chinese instrument to play.
The erhu has appeared in China during the Tang Dynasty (7th century) but was invented about 2000 years ago in Central Asia. This instrument has two strings and is played with a bow. At the bottom of the instrument, a little wooden sounding box usually covered with snake skin, allows to amplify the sound played. The erhu is present throughout Asia in different shapes and features.
The Hulusi is a 2000-year-old Chinese instrument meaning “living fossil”. It is also called curcubit flute and is made of a gourd and of three bamboo pipes. Its sound is close to the one of the clarinet or its Chinese cousins the bawu and is pretty easy to learn. The Hulusi was originally invented by the Dai minority living in the Yunnan province, located in the South of China. These last years the notoriety of hulusi has expanded internationally.
The transverse Chinese Bamboo Flute – also named Dizi – is a traditional Chinese instrument made of bamboo. The dizi is a very popular instrument widely played in folk music, operas and orchestras. Recent researches have shown that the dizi is present in China since more than nine millennia! Today, the way of playing the Dizi, and its techniques vary whether you are in the North or South of the country. By the way, depending on where you are in China, different types of bamboo are used to make the instrument: purple in the North, white in the South.