The different types of Chinese woodwind instruments can be categorized into 3
main groups based on the tones that they produce and the ways of playing the
blowing air directly into the instrument such as the "Xiao" and "Dizi".
blowing air into the double-reeded end of the instrument
such as "Suona".
blowing air into the instrument to vibrate the reeds
inside them, producing sounds such as the "Sheng".
Xiao (vertical flute)
The vertical flute is a five-holed instrument held in much the same way
as a clarinet. It produces a deep, airy sound.
Dizi (transverse flute)
The vertical flute has eight or ten holes rather than keys. It produces a bright
and lively sound in a higher register than the xiao.
(the Chinese oboe)
The suona is a double-reeded wind instrument with a large, flared opening
like a horn. It is
used to imitate high-spirited horses, to announce important
arrivals or events and to signal transitions between
scenes. The player holds it like a trumpet.
The sheng is a collection of bamboo tubes in varying lengths, fixed in
a base. The
player blows into a mouthpiece at the side of the base, which carries air
into the tubes to produce a sound similar to a harmonica.
Music courtesy of: www.chinesemusic.co.uk/english/InstrumentsPage.htm