Dizi

dee-zee
The dizi is an ancient woodwind instrument of Chinese origin. This aerophone is sometimes referred to as a bamboo flute as it is played using finger holes and comes in a wide variety of designs and pitch ranges. The sound of the dizi is a very common and typical of Chinese classical, opera and orchestral music, as well as pop music in China.
History of the Dizi
The dizi is one of the most ancient musical instruments that still exists today and its use has been traced back almost 7,000 years in China. It is thought to have been originally made from bone but later bamboo became the material of choice, around 4,500 years ago. In around 100BC, the dizi was also known as a hengchui which literally translates to “playing horizontally”. The dizi’s melodic capabilities and versatility in playing soft and also complex styles of music meant that it was adopted into stage dramas and operas at the start of the Qing dynasty in the 16th century. As the dizi established a place in Chinese folk songs, new playing techniques were developed including flutter tongue, tremolo and tapping. Today the dizi is still predominantly used in China for traditional folk and classical music. The dizi has been used in some modern classical Western compositions and notably in Western film scores that aim to depict Chinese culture, for example, Dreamwork’s Kung Fu Panda with music by Hans Zimmer and John Powell.
Inventor: Unknown

Where to Buy

£15 - £40

Hear the Dizi

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How to Play

A Chinese bamboo flute with six finger holes, played by blowing across the embouchure hole and covering the finger holes.

In Popular Music

In the western world, the dizi is barely featured in popular music other than film scores. It features in the score for Kung Fu Panda under the track name 'Master Oogway Ascends'. However, in Chinese traditional music, the unique dizi is featured in recordings of popular songs like 'The Flowing Springs in the Ravine' and 'Distant Green Valley'

Famous Players

Guo Yazhi, Gao Hong, Tang Junqiao

Close Relations

Xiao, Sheng
Video Credit: LessonsGoWhere
Understanding the Dizi
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Woodwind

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