Name: Dizi.

Type: Transverse Flute > Aerophone.

Region: China > Far East Asia.

Specimens: Three in collection.

Acquisition Source: For the specimen in the photo, is from Randy Raine-Reusch. My other specimens were found in Chinatown, Vancouver.

The dizi is a transverse bamboo flute, it is a member of the aerophone family of musical instruments. According to the Chinese system of classification the dizi is considered one of the major musical instruments in the bamboo category. The dizi is one of the principle instruments played in Chinese folk, classical and opera. In ancient times the dizi was known as “hengchui” or “hengdi”.

Early History: Several differing accounts of the origin of the dizi do exist. During the reign of Emperor Wudi (141 BC-87 BC). It is debated whether the dizi may have been imported into the Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE). Archeological digs in the Hubei province have revealed these specimens of dizi were hand carved from bone, they were proven to be quite playable despite their age of 8,000 years. The name “gudi” is applied to the bone flutes.

Recently archeologists discovered evidence of simple transverse flutes, although they lack the distinctive mokong have been present in China for over 9,000 years. Fragments of bone flutes are still playable today and remarkably similar to the modern dizi in terms of whole placement. The Jiahu neolithic site in central Henan province of China has yielded flutes dating back to 7,000 BC - 5,000 BC. A bamboo dizi dating back to the 2nd century has been found. The name “gudi” is applied to the bone flutes.

Varieties: In the 1930's, an 11-hole fully chromatic version of the dizi was created. Pitched in the same range as the western flute, the dizi's extra tone holes prevent the effective use of the membrane, therefore this instrument lacks the inherent timbre of the traditional dizi family. The bangdi and qudi, they are pitched a fourth apart, although the bangdi is the most prominent. Other varieties of dizi include the xiaodi or gaoyindi. The dadi or diyindi are pitched a fifth lower then the qudi. The deidi diyendadi are pitched an octave lower then the qudi.