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Chinese Musical Instruments


 (4.2) Bianqing (tuned chimes)

 Construction

Tuned chimes were used in ancient Chinese court rituals. Made of stone, they were suspended from a wooden frame in a graduated series, and played by striking with mallets. They have a clear, ringing tone, and are beautifully melodic.

 History

The oldest individual Chinese stone chimes discovered to date are four to five thousand years old, excavated from the Yao Temple archeological site at Xianfen, Shanxi Province. Sets of tuned stone chimes, capable of producing melodies, first appeared during the late Shang Dynasty. For over three thousand years, sets of tuned chimes and tuned bells served as the primary instruments of ritual Chinese court music, also known as "hanging music."


Stone chime; Tao Temple, Xiangfen, Shanxi Province

Tuned chimes; Shang Dynasty

Tuned chimes from tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng


Tuned chimes from tomb in Luozhuang, Shandong Province; Han Dynasty


 (4.3) Gu (drums)
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