The collections




1. Pipa

Pipa has a fir-made body and paulownia-made face. Usually, a delicate title will be carved on back of the body. Pipa is the main instrument for nanguan performances.

2. Erxian

Compared to erhu, tuning pegs of erxian points to the opposite direction. The strings wind around the neck. A bow stick is used to produce a fricative sound.

3. Sanxian

Sanxian is mainly used in nanguan performance. Both sides of the sound box are covered by python skin. This instrument produces a heavy and deep timbre.

4. Dongxiao

Dongxiao is made of bamboo. and has a V-shape mouthpiece on top. A standard  Dongxiao should contain 10 blocks and 9 joints (shimujiujie) and the first hole is pierced from the third joint. Dongxiao produces a rich and beautiful timbre.

5. Xiangzhan

Xiangzhan is also called little “suona.” This instrument emphasizes the control of the air blown. Due to the loud sound it makes, it is usually used to cheer up the atmosphere.

6. Sikuan

Sikuan is also called “sibao.” (4 precious) While performing, each hand holds two pieces and shakes to make sound. The two pieces on each hand can also hit each other to make a more vigorous timbre.

7. Jiaoluo

Jiaoluo is also called “xiaojiao.” It is composed of wooden fish and xiaoluo. The wooden fish is hold by left thumb and middle finger, with the xiaoluo on index finger.  The right hand holds a piece of flat wood to percuss the wooden fish and xiaoluo.

8. Shuangzhong

Shuangzhong is also called “shuangyin,” or “shuangling”which means “double bells.”While performing, each hand holds one zhong (bell) and knocks each other in accordance with the melody. This instrument produces echoing sound.

9. Namyinpaiban

Namyinpaiban is a percussion instrument which contains 5 pieces of flat wood.  While performing, the left hand holds three pieces, and the right hand has two.  These five wooden pieces will hit one another to produce sound.

10. Pinxiao

Pinxiao belongs to the family of Chinese bamboo flutes. It can produce a clear timbre and enrich the whole melody.

11. Aizai

Aizai is also called “xiaosuona.” This instrument emphasizes the control of the air blown. Due to the loud sound it makes, it is usually used to cheer up the atmosphere.


1. Bangu

Bangu is also called “danpigu.”  In hakka, it is called “pakkoo.” Beiguan musicians call it “bangu” or “toushouzai.” This drum will be hung on a stand while performing.  It produces a solid and clear sound.

2. Paigu

Paigu is also called “xiaogu,” which sounds similar to “baigu.” One or two sticks will be used to hit the drum. The sounds it makes are solid and explosive.

3. Dagu

Dagu is also called “datanggu.” It has a wooden cylinder cover with cow leather on both ends. Two wooden sticks are used to hit the drumhead to produce deep and solid sounds.

4. Xiaogu

Xiaogu is also call “xiaotanggu,” “zhangu,” or “goyingu.” Xiaogu makes solid and resilient sounds with little lingering.

5. Ganggu

Ganggu is also called “huapengu.” It is a flowerpot-shaped drum. Dragon head ornaments are carved on four legs of the base. This drum makes a softer sound.

6. Tanggu

“Tanggu” is also called “tonggu.” Both sides of the drum are tightly covered by leather and lock into the wooden frame with nails. It is performed with a pair of wooden sticks, which has a thick head and thin end. The thin side of the sticks will be used to hit the drum.

7. Nao

Nao is made of brass. It has a round shape with a small and flat handle. Nao produces a loud, clear, and lingering sound.

8. Xiaoluo

Xiaoluo is also called “jiaoluo.” It is made of brass with smaller surface and protrudent center. Xiaoluo can produce a sharp and striking sound to enrich the melody.

9. Bangzi

Bangzi is made of a 4-inch solid wood with a hollowed center. It produces clear and melodious sounds and can be used as a leading instrument.

10. Yehu

Yehu is also called “kezaixian.” Yehu has a coconut body and is mainly used as an accompanying instrument. It makes a relaxed and gentle sound.

11. Jinghu

Jinghu is also called “diaoguizi.” Jinghu has a cylinder sound box and steel strings. It produces a sharp sound.

12. Haidi

The maximum length of haidi is usually 6 inches. It has a smaller parts as well. It makes sharp and loud sound.


Musical Instruments of Taiwanese Hakka Bayin (Eight Tones)

1. Yehu

It is also called “erxian” or “kezaixian” in Hakka language. Yehu is a high-pitched bowed string instrument.

2. Labaqin

In hakka language, it is also called “labaxian.”  The box is made of curved brass head covered by a plastic plate.  The shaft is a brass pipe with a big brass covered horn at the end.  This is where the sound comes out.

3. Jinghu

Jinghu is also called “diaogui”or“diaoguizai”in hakka language.  It is a high-pitched bowed string instrument.  Its sound box is made of bamboo and a produces high and sharp sound.

4. Yangqui

It is called “hudiequi” in hakka language.  Yangqui is a hammered dulcimer.

5. Sanxian

Sanxian’s frame and shaft are made of solid wood. Sanxian gets its name because there are actually 3 strings on it. It produces a rough but loud sound.

6. Qinqin

Qinqin usually has octagon or flower-shaped body with 3 strings. It is the only low-pitched plucked instrument in hakka bayin.

7. Danpigu

Danpigu is also called “beigu.” It is a small single-headed drum. The body is made of solid wood and is played by using two bamboo sticks hitting center of the drum head.  It produces solid and intense sounds.

8. Bangzi

Bangzi is called “qiaozi” in hakka language. It is made of solid wood with a trench on side. The wood stick is used to hit top of the trench to make sounds.

9. Zhuban

Zhuban is called “zhujie” in hakka language. It is made from two half bamboo clappers. There are two holes on each clapper. A cloth ribbon is used to connect them.  These bamboo clappers hit each other to make sounds.

10. Tanggu

Hakka called it “tonggu.” It produces medium volume of sound and is usually performed as a conductor.

11. Xiaobo

Xiaobo is called “zi” in hakka language. It is an imperative percussion instrument in hakka bayin. Xiaobo is sometimes used to control the tempo.

12. Zhengluo

Hakka called it “dingdang.” Zhenglou has a round shape just like tongluo with a wood trim. Strings go through the three holes on the edge to hang it on a wood frame.

13. Xiaoluo

Ziaoluo is called “wanluo” in hakka language. It produces a soft and circumlocutory sound. Xiaoluo looks like a round plate with trim. It is made of brass.

14. Daluo

It is called “bendiluo” in hakka language. Daluo is made of brass in round plate shape.  A padded wooden mallet is used to strike the plate to make sounds.


Musical Instruments of Taiwanese Aborigines

1. Lubuw

Lubuw is made of different materials, such as bamboo, vine, metal, and fabrics.  All reeds have different sizes and thickness; therefore, different vibrations could be produced.

2. Wood Drum

Wood drum belongs to the family of percussion instruments. It is usually played in celebration in accordance with the songs and dances of high volume.

3. Bow Harp

The bow is made of bamboo and the iron wire connecting two ends of the bow is used as string. While playing, the mouth holds one end of the bow with the left hand holding the other end.  The right hand will pluck the string to make sounds.

4. Singsingan (Waist Bell)

A singsingan is a waist belt decorated with small brass bells. While performing, it is put on the waist. The performer will swing, shake, or sway their body to make sounds.

5. Nose Flute

Nose flute is a bamboo flute with one or two pipes. The nose blows air into the pipes causing air vibration to make sounds.

6. Pestle

Pestles of different length, thickness, and weight are used to strike solid stone to cause vibrations. The way of performing such instruments is originated from millet husking.

Traditional Instruments of Han Chinese

Wind Instruments

1. Bili

Bili is now called “guanzi.”  The pipe is made of bamboo and wood.  There is a reed at the end and holes on the pipe.  It is performed vertically.

2. Cheba of Tang Dynasty

Cheba is also called dongxiao.  It is a wind instrument with 6 holes on the pipe  The air is blown through the hole at the end. It makes rich and pretty sounds.

3. Paixiao

Paixio is also called yaxiao, songxiao, and lai.  It is used in court music in ancient China.

4. Zhangjian

Zhangjian is also called “zhaojun,” “xianfeng,” “laba,” or “jianzihao.”  It is usually found in percussion and wind ensemble music (guchuiyue) or honor guard.

5. Sheng

Sheng is a multiple-pipe wind instrument with multiple pipes.  The prototype of Sheng can be traced back to Shang Dynasty.  Sheng with 14 or 17 pipes are the most popular types nowadays.


Plucked Instruments

1. 13-String Zheng

It is also called qinzheng. This plucked instrument has soft and elegant sounds. It is an instrument full of techniques of expression.

2. Sanxian

Sanxian is also called “xianzi.” It belongs to the family of plucked instrument. When playing, the body is put on the right lap with the head lean toward left. Left hand pushes the strings and the right hand or the plectrum is used to pluck the strings.

3. Se

Se is an ancient plucked instrument. It was used in yayue and praying ceremony in Sui and Tang Dynasties. Se has an unique charm.

4. Zhougruan

Zhougruan is a plucked instrument. The left hand holds the instrument and presses the strings. Meanwhile, the right hand uses the plectrum to pluck the strings.

5. Five-string pipa

Five-string pipa is an ancient plucked instrument. It is also called “wuxian.” While performing, it is held transversely in front of the chest. he left hand holds the instrument and presses the strings. Meanwhile, the right hand uses the plectrum to pluck the strings.

6. Guqin

It is called qin or yaoqin in the past. Now we call it guqin or qixinqin. It is a treasure of Chinese culture. In 2003, it was listed as “Would Intangible Cultural Heritage” by UNESCO.

7. Wuxianqin

The body is made of a single tree with a hollowed body which turns into a sound box. There is a bridge at each end. The length between these two bridges is 106 cm.

8. Zhu

Zhu is an ancient percussion instrument. It is used to mark the beginning of music in yayue or praying ceremony of Confucian temples.

9. Paiban

Paiban is also called chuoban, guban, and tanban. The clappers hit each other to make sounds.

10. Yu

Yu is an ancient percussion instrument. It is carved into the shape of a tiger. A “jian” is used to scrape the serrated back which contains 27 very thin slices of hardwood and this causes a “shua-shua”sound. when the shua sound happens 3 times,it indicates the end of a piece.

11. Huapengu

Huapengu is a membranophones instrument. It is derived from tanggu and can also be called nantanggu or ganggu. Huapengu produces low and powerful sounds.

12. Taogu

Taogu is also called tao or peddler’s drum. It is a membranophones instrument and is used in court yayue.

13. Huzuo Fengniao Gu

Huzuo fengniao gu is an ancient membranophones instrument. A pair of standing birds is used as the stand. The flat drum is hung on necks of the birds. The base is a pair of back-to-back lying tigers.

14. Muyu

Muyu is a percussion instrument. It is popular in the ritual music of Buddhism, Taoism and folk bands.

15. Mulugu

Mulugu is a percussion instrument. It is a small flat drum made of wood. Its wood base is craved into a bending deer and behind the deer is a drum which is the main strike point.

16. Bofu

Bofu is an ancient membranophones instrument which is used in court yayue.  It is played by hand to hit the drum.


Metal and Stone Instruments

1. Xiaobianzhong

Bianzhong is an idiophones instrument.  It is also called gezhong or yuezhong.  It is usually played in court yayue in ancient China.  Poles are used to hit the instrument to create clear and piercing sounds.

2. Daqing

Daqing is an ancient idiophones instrument.  At first, it was used in dance and music activities.  It can be seen in court praying and banquet music later.

3. Biannao

Biannao is an ancient percussion instrument made of brass.  Three to five pieces make a set and play in banquets as an accompaniment to dances or songs.

4. Bo

Bo was called tongbao in old days.  It is a percussion instrument.  There are many ways to play this instrument.  It is usually used in folk music ensembles, traditional drama, accompany to dance, and percussion band.

5. Huyinluo

Huyinluo gets this title because it makes tiger roaring sounds.  It is also called datongluo, and diyinjigluo.

6. Jiuyiluo

Jiuyiluo is an idiophones instrument.  The whole set of a Jiuyiluo has 10 gongs.  However, the top gong which performs a high pitch sound,is rarely used. therefore, it is called “Jiuyiluo” meaning 9 gongs.

7. Gouluo

Gouluo is also called goujiaoluo. It makes dog barking sounds. While  performing, index finger of left hand carries interior edge of the luo.  The right hand uses a flat wooden stick to hit the lou.


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