Percussion Instrument

Bangu (Single-headed Frame Drum)

It is also commonly called Jing Bangu (bangu for Peking opera) There are generally two different types of Jing Bangu. The northern type has a solid tone quality, usually used for Peking opera and other northern musical dramas, with a relatively smaller central striking area. The southern type is loose and soft in tone, usually comes with a larger striking area and it is frequently used with the southern gong and drum ensemble, as well as for solo. The Jing Bangu leads the percussion section in the instrumental ensemble of the Peking opera.

Tanggu (Medium-sized Barrel Drum)

The common type of Tanggu is similar in shape to a barrel. Its tone quality can be modified by moving the point of striking closer to the centre of the surface, with varying dynamics. The Tanggu is constructed mainly in two types. The larger one can produce a deep and sonorous tone and the smaller is solid and forceful in tone quality.

The drum is traditionally used in folk festivals and celebrations with other instruments like luo (gong) and bo (cymbals).  



Bo (Pair of bronze cymbals)

They are commonly made of high-tin bronze. The performer strikes the pair together. The most common type now is the Jingbo, which is clear, sharp and forceful in sound quality. It is often use in the Peking opera. In local operas the instruments is often for the accompaniment of acrobatics fighting.


Luo (Gong)

Chinese gongs are made of high-tin bronze and they can be classified under different varieties, mainly because of their different tone qualities, acoustic features and performing styles. For instance, Dachaoluo is usually employed in weddings, funerals and temple ceremonies. The smallest Goujiaoluo can often be seen in theatre emsembles and it originates from the southern Fujian province.

Muyu (Woodblock or Slit drum)

It was originally used to accompany Buddhist chant. The sound can be produced by strking the muyu, which is a block of wood with a hollow interior. It is primarily used in Buddhist temples, but in music, it is mainly used for regular rhythms in the accompaniment.

Yunluo (Set of small bronze gongs)

The Yunluo is a set of small gongs, usually come in 10 in different pitches. They are suspended vertically in the same wooden frame. Each is attached to a cubicle within the frame by cords. The gongs are of the same diameter but varying in thickness. When struck with a small beater, the ones with thicker dimensions give higher pitches; while the thinner ones produce lower pitches.

In the redesigned type the number of gongs is increased, ranging from 29 to 38, and two mallets with either hard or soft tips, are used for different tonal effects. One sounds clang and solid and the other soft and drifting. Owing to the enlarged range, modification in thickness cannot produce any other pitches. Thus varying diameters are used for the new tones.

The yunluo are mostly seen in instrumental ensembles, and recently for solos as well.

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ompiled by Boon Sin Ler

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