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Chinese Culture >> Chinese Society, Traditions >>

Dizi Chinese Bamboo Flute

The Chinese bamboo flute, or dizi has a history of over 2000 years. It is a small, convenient pipe that is played horizontally and produces a resonant and clear sound. Dimo or flute membrane is stuck over the dimo hole on the instrument for it to produce its unique, penetrating tone. When played, the sound from the instrument is produced by the vibration of air columns within the bamboo flute.

Below is an introduction of the anatomy of the dizi.

- There are about 10 holes on a normal C Key Chinese bamboo flute, dizi.

- The 1st hole on the far left of the flute which is a distance away from the rest of the hole, is called the 'mouth hole'.

- You place your lower lip at the edge of the mouth hole, against the dizi.

- Air is blown directly across the hole.

- The hole next to the 'mouth hole' is called the 'membrane hole', or the 'mo kong'.

- This is where you stick the flute membrane called 'dimo' over the hole to produce its bright and distinguished timbre.

- Some Chinese bamboo flutes may have copper joints in between the 'mouth hole' and 'membrane hole'.

- When you twist the copper joint of the dizi outwards, the pitch becomes flat.

- On the other hand, when you twist the copper tuning inwards, the pitch becomes sharp.

- Twist the dizi apart instead of pulling as you may damage the copper joint.

- After the 'membrane hole' comes 6 other holes which are the finger holes.

- The last 2 holes at the end of the dizi act as air vents. They affect the overall pitching of the Dizi but you can leave them alone.

- If the dizi is in the key of C, covering 3 holes will give you the C note while covering all holes will give you the G note.

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