Dapu 〔打譜〕 is the transcribing of old tablature into a playable form. Since qin tablature does not indicate note value, tempo or rhythm, the player must work it out for him/herself. Normally, qin players will learn the rhythm of a piece through a teacher or master. They sit facing one another, with the student copying the master. The tablature will only be consulted if the teacher is not sure of how to play a certain part. Because of this, traditional qinpu do not indicate rhythm (though near the end of the Qing dynasty, a handful of qinpu had started to employ various devices, such as dots, to indicate rhythm). If a player did not have a teacher, he had to work out the rhythm for himself.

By the twentieth century, there had been attempts to try to replace the "jianzi pu" notation, but so far, they have been unsuccessful; since the twentieth century, qin music is generally printed with staff notation above the qin tablature. Because qin tablature is useful, logical, easy, and is the fastest way (once the performer knows how to read the notation) of learning a piece, it is invaluable to the qin player and cannot totally be replaced.

The Qinxue Congshu 【琴學叢書】 (1910) uses a more detailed system involving a grid next to main qin notation; right grid line indicates note, middle indicates beat, left indicates how the qin tablature relates to the rhythm.

There is a saying that goes "a short piece requires three months to complete the dapu, and a long piece requires three years." In actual practice, it might not take that long to dapu a piece, but three months suggests that the player will have not only memorized the piece, but have achieved the correct fingering, rhythm and timing. Once the technique is mastered, emotion must be put into the piece. Therefore, it could be said that it really does require three months or years to finish dapu of a piece, in order for the player to perform it to a very high standard.

Rhythm in Qin Music

Although there is guesswork involved, the qin tablature has clues to indicate rhythm, such as repeating motifs, indication of phrases or how the notation is arranged. Throughout the history of the qinpu, many attempts have been made to indicate this rhythm more explicitly, involving devices like dots for beats. A major project to regulate the rhythm on a large scale was the compilation of the Qinxue Congshu tablature from the 1910s to 1930s. The construction of the written tablature was divided into two columns. The first was further divided into about three lines of a grid, each line indicating a varied combination of lyrics, gongche tablature, se tablature, pitch, and/or beats depending on the score used. The second column was devoted to qin tablature. 11

Western composers have noticed that the beat in a piece of qin music is subject to change. This is due to the fact that qin players may use some free rhythm in their playing. The beat will depend on the player's emotion or feeling, and how he interprets the piece. However, some melodies have sections of fixed rhythm which is generally played the same way. The main theme of Meihua Sannong, for example, uses a fixed beat. Some sections of certain melodies require the player to play faster with force to express the emotion of the piece. Examples include the middle sections of Guangling San and Xiaoxiang Shuiyun. Other pieces, such as Jiu Kuang, have a fixed rhythm throughout the entire piece.

Generally, qin melodies sound better with a steady rhythm and the composers had that in mind when creating pieces.


While certain rules of acoustics were followed in the construction of a qin, its external form could and did take on a huge amount of variation, both in the basic structure of the instrument and in the embellishments. Qin tablatures from the Song era onwards have cataloged a plethora of qin forms. All, however, obey very basic rules of acoustics and symbolism of form. The qin uses strings of silk or metal-nylon and is tuned in accordance to traditional principles.


According to tradition, the qin originally had five strings, representing the five elements of metal, wood, water, fire and earth. Later, in the Zhou dynasty, Zhou Wen Wang (周文王) added a sixth string to mourn his son, Bo Yihou (伯邑考). His successor, Zhou Wu Wang, added a seventh string to motivate his troops into battle with the Shang. The thirteen hui (徽|徽) on the surface represent the thirteen months of the year (the extra 13th is the 'leap month' in the lunar calendar). The surface board is round to represent Heaven and the bottom board flat to represent earth. The entire length of the qin (in Chinese measurements) is 3 chi, 6 cun and 5 fen (三尺; 六寸;五分); representing the 365 days of the year (though this is just a standard since qins can be shorter or longer depending on the period's measurement standard or the maker's preference). Each part of the qin has meaning, some more obvious, like "dragon pool" (龍池/龙池) and "phoenix pond" (鳳 沼/凤沼).

Names of (from left to right) the front, inside and back parts of the qin


A selection of different qin strings. Top to bottom: 〖太古琴絃〗 Taigu Silk Qin Strings 中清 zhongqing gauge with a container of 'string gum' 「絃膠」, 〖上音牌琴弦〗 Shangyin Shanghai Conservatorie Quality Qin Strings (metal-nylon), 〖虎丘古琴絃〗 Huqiu Silk Strings

Until the Cultural Revolution, the guqin's strings were always made of various thicknesses of twisted silk (絲/丝), but since then most players have used modern nylon-flatwound steel strings (鋼絲/钢丝). This is partly due to the scarcity of high quality silk strings and partly due to the newer strings' greater durability and louder tone.

Silk strings are made by gathering a prescribed number of strands of silk thread, then twisting them tightly together. The twisted cord of strings is then wrapped around a frame and immersed in a vat of liquid composed of a special mixture of natural glue that binds the strands together. The strings are taken out and left to dry, before being cut into the appropriate length. The top thicker strings (strings one to four) are further wrapped in a thin silk thread, coiled around the core to make it smoother. According to ancient manuals, there are three distinctive gauges of thickness that one can make the strings. The first is taigu 〖太古〗 Great Antiquity which is the standard gauge, the zhongqing 〖中清〗 Middle Clarity is thinner, whilst the jiazhong 〖加重〗 Added Thickness is thicker. According to the Yugu Zhai Qinpu, zhongqing is the best.

Although most contemporary players use nylon-wrapped metal strings, some argue that nylon-wrapped metal strings cannot replace silk strings for their refinement of tone. Furthermore, nylon-wrapped metal strings can cause damage to the wood of old qins. Many traditionalists feel that the sound of the fingers of the left hand sliding on the strings is a distinctive feature of qin music. The modern nylon-wrapped metal strings were very smooth in the past, but are now slightly modified in order to capture these sliding sounds.

Traditionally, the strings were wrapped around the goose feet (雁 足),12 but a device has been invented, which is a block of wood attached to the goose feet, with pins similar to those used to tune the guzheng protruding at the sides, so one can string and tune the qin using a tuning wrench. This is helpful for those who lack the physical strength to pull and add tension to the strings when wrapping the ends around the goose feet. However, the tuning device looks unsightly and many qin players prefer the traditional manner of tuning; many also feel that the strings should be firmly wrapped around the goose feet so that the sound may be "grounded" into the qin.


To string a qin, one traditionally had to tie a butterfly knot (shengtou jie (蠅 頭 結 / 蝇头结) at one end of the string, and slip the string through the twisted cord (rongkou 絨 剅/绒扣) which goes into holes at the head of the qin and then out the bottom through the tuning pegs (zhen 軫/轸). The string is dragged over the bridge (yueshan, 岳山), across the surface board, over the nut (longyin, 龍齦, dragon gums) to the back of the qin, where the end is wrapped around one of two legs (fengzu, 鳳足, "phoenix feet" or yanzu, 雁足, "geese feet"). Afterwards, the strings are fine tuned using the tuning pegs (sometimes, rosin is used on the part of the tuning peg that touches the qin body to stop it from slipping, especially if the qin is tuned to higher pitches). The most common tuning, "zheng diao" 〈正調〉, is pentatonic: 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 (which can be also played as 1 2 4 5 6 1 2) in the traditional Chinese number system or jianpu 〔簡譜/简谱〕 (1=do, 2=re, etc). Today this is generally interpreted to mean C D F G A c d, but this should be considered sol la do re mi sol la, since historically the qin was not tuned to absolute pitch. Other tunings are achieved by adjusting the tension of the strings using the tuning pegs at the head end. Thus manjiao diao 〈慢角調〉 ("slackened third string") gives 1 2 3 5 6 1 2 and ruibin diao 〈蕤賔調/蕤宾调〉 ("raised fifth string") gives 1 2 4 5 7 1 2, which is transposed to 2 3 5 6 1 2 3.

Cultural Context

The qin has been played since ancient times, and has traditionally been favored by scholars and literati as an instrument of great subtlety and refinement, as well as being associated with the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius.

“士無故不撤琴瑟,” "a gentleman does not part with his qin or se without good reason,"13

The guqin is nearly always used as a solo instrument, as its quietness of tone means that it cannot compete with the sounds of most other instruments or an ensemble. It can, however, be played together with a xiao (end-blown bamboo flute), with other qin, or played while singing. In old times, the se (a long zither with movable bridges and 25 strings, similar to the Japanese koto) was frequently used in duets with the qin. Sadly, the se has not survived into this century, though duet tablature scores for the instruments are preserved in a few qinpu, and the master qin player Wu Jinglüe was one of only a few in the twentieth century who knew how to play it together with qin in duet. Lately there has been experimentation with the use of other instruments to accompany the qin, such as the xun (ceramic ocarina), pipa (four-stringed pear-shaped lute), dizi (transverse bamboo flute), and others.

A painting by Chen Hongshou of a person with a qin.

In order for an instrument to accompany the qin, its sound must be mellow and not overwhelm the qin. Thus, the xiao generally used for this purpose is one pitched in the key of F, known as qin xiao 「琴簫」, which is narrower than an ordinary xiao. If one sings to qin melodies (which is rare today) then one should not sing in an operatic or folk style as is common in China, but rather in a very low pitched and deep way; and the range in which one sings should not exceed one and a half octaves. The style of singing is similar to that used to recite Tang poetry.

Traditionally, the qin was played in a quiet studio or room by the player alone, or with a few friends; or played outdoors in places of outstanding natural beauty. Today, many qin players perform concerts in large concert halls, almost always, out of necessity, using electronic pickups or microphones to amplify the sound. Many qin players attend yajis, at which a number of qin players, music lovers, or anyone with an interest in Chinese culture can come along to discuss and play the qin. The yaji originated as a multi-media gathering involving the four arts: qin, chess, calligraphy, and painting.

Ritual use of the qin

The guqin was also played in a ritual context, especially in yayue in China, and aak in Korea. The National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts continues to perform Munmyo jeryeak (Confucian ritual music), using the last two surviving aak melodies from the importation of yayue from the Song Dynasty emperor Huizong in 1116, including in the ensemble the seul (se) and geum (guqin). In China, the qin was still in use in ritual ceremonies of the imperial court, as can be seen in the court paintings of imperial sacrifices of the Qing court (e.g. The Yongzheng Emperor Offering Sacrifices at the Altar of the God of Agriculture 《雍正祭先農壇圖》, 1723-35).14 The guqin was also used in the ritual music of Vietnam, where it was called cầm.

Qin Aesthetics

When the qin is played, a number of aesthetic elements are involved. The first is musicality. In the second section of "Pingsha Luoyan," for example, the initial few bars contain a nao vibrato followed by a phase of sliding up and down the string, even when the sound has already become inaudible. The average person trained in music may question whether this is really "music." Some players pluck the string very lightly to create a very quiet sound during this phase; other players insist that this plucking unnecessary because, instead of trying to force a sound out of the string, one should allow the natural sounds emitted from the strings. The sliding on the string even when the sound has disappeared is a distinctive feature in qin music. It creates a "space" or "void" in a piece, playing without playing, sound without sound. When the viewer looks at the player sliding on the string without sounds, the viewer mentally "fills in the notes," creating a connection between player, instrument and listener. This cannot happen when listening to a recording, as the performer cannot be seen.

With a really good qin, silk strings, and a perfectly quiet environment, the sound coming from the fingers sliding on the string can be heard. The player, who knows the music, can “hear” this sound even if it is not there. When silk strings are used, the sliding sound might be called the qi or "life force" of the music. The really empty sounds are the pauses between notes. If a player cannot create a sound that can be heard when sliding on a string, it is generally acceptable to lightly pluck the string to create a very quiet sound, particularly during a live recording, when the player wants to convey sound as much as possible towards a third audience. 15

Guqin in Popular Culture

As a symbol of high culture, the qin is frequently used as a prop in various forms of Chinese popular culture, with varying degrees of accuracy. In television serials and film, the actors often mime the playing of a qin, with the actual music recorded by a professional qin player. Sometimes guzheng music, rather than qin music, is used. A faithful representation of the qin was used in the Zhang Yimou film Hero (英雄, 2002). Xu Kuanghua appeared to play an ancient version of the qin in the courtyard scene in which Nameless (Jet Li) and Long Sky (Donnie Yen) play go. The music was actually played by Liu Li, formerly a professor at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. 16 It is suggested in the film that Xu made the qin himself. 17

The qin is also used as a prop in older Chinese works of literature, such as Cao Xueqin's Dream of the Red Chamber.

Related instruments

The Japanese ichigenkin 「一絃琴」, a monochord zither, is believed to be derived from the qin. The qin handbook Lixing Yuanya (【理性元雅】, 1618) includes some melodies for a one-string qin, and the Wuzhi Zhai Qinpu contains a picture and description of such an instrument.18 The modern ichigenkin apparently first appeared in Japan just after that time. However, the honkyoku 〔本曲〕 (standard repertoire) of the ichigenkin today most closely resembles that of the shamisen 「三味線」.

The Korean komungo 「거문고」 may also be related, though distantly. Korean literati wanted to play an instrument the way their Chinese counterparts played the qin. For some reason they never took to the qin itself, instead playing the komungo, a long fretted zither plucked with a thin stick. The repertoire was largely the komungo parts for melodies played by the court orchestra. Another ancient Chinese zither, the zhu 「筑」, appears to have been plucked with a stick, so the komungo may also be related to that instrument.


  1. ↑ Zhang Yushu et al… Kangxi Zidian 【康熙字典】. Folio 28.
  2. ↑ John Thompson on the Guqin Silk String Zither (2005) Qin: Lute or Zither?. Retrieved November 12, 2007.
  3. ↑ Wei Yin. Zhongguo Qinshi Yanyi 【中国琴史演义】, 1-10.
  4. ↑ Masterpieces 2001 and 2003, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Retrieved November 12, 2007.
  5. ↑ Xin Yang, et al. (1997). Three Thousand Years of Chinese Painting. , 122.
  6. ↑ Zhou, Zi'an. Wuzhi Zhai Qinpu 【五知齋琴譜】. Volume 1, folio 1, leaf 18-28.
  7. ↑ These four figures are from an old handbook.Zhang, He. Qinxue Rumen 【琴學入門】. Volume 1, leaves 39, 40, 43 and 47.
  8. ↑ Ping Guo. Guqin Congtan 【古琴丛谈】, 112.
  9. ↑ Zhu, Quan. Shenqi Mipu 【神竒秘譜】.
  10. ↑ Fuxi Zha. Cunjian Guqin Qupu Jilan, 【存見古琴曲譜輯覽】, 3-44.
  11. ↑ A more detailed analysis can be found here: Rhythm in Early Ming Qin Tablature. Retrieved November 12, 2007.
  12. ↑ Gong, Yi. Guqin Yanzhoufa 【古琴演奏法】. Page 11 and 13.
  13. Li Ji: Quli, second half 【禮記‧曲禮下】.
  14. ↑ Rawski, E. Evelyn & Rawson, Jessica (ed.). CHINA: The Three Emperors 1662-1795. Pages 117, 126 and 127.
  15. ↑ London Youlan Qin Society, Yaji 5th September 2004. Retrieved November 12, 2007.
  16. ↑ Composer Achieves Goal with 'Hero' Score, Retrieved November 12, 2007.
  17. ↑ Guqin Master Xu Kuanghua, China Info Travel. Retrieved November 12, 2007.
  18. ↑ Zhou, Zi'an. Wuzhi Zhai Qinpu 【五知齋琴譜】. Volume 1, folio 2, leaf 10.


Chinese books on qin:

  • Gong, Yi. 1999. Guqin Yanzhoufa 【古琴演奏法】; 2nd ed., rev. inc. 2 CDs. Shanghai: Shanghai Educational Press. ISBN 7532066215
  • Guo, Ping. 2006. Guqin Congtan 【古琴丛谈】. Jinan: Shandong Book Press. ISBN 7807132094
  • Huang, Datong(ed.) 2005. Chiba Guqin Kao 【尺八古琴考】. Shanghai: Shanghai Conservatory of Music Press. ISBN 7806921680/J‧161
  • Li, Mingzhong. 2000. Zhongguo Qinxue 【中國琴學】 卷壹. Volume one. Shanxi: Shanxi Society Science Magazine Association.
  • Li, Xiangting. 1992. Tangdai Guqin Yanzou Meixue ji Yinyue Sixiang Yanjiu 【唐代古琴演奏美學及音樂思想研究】. Taipei.
  • Li, Xiangting. 2004. Guqin Shiyong Jiaocheng 【古琴实用教程】. Shanghai: Shanghai Music Press. ISBN 780667439X
  • Miao, Jianhua. 2006. Guqin Meixue Sixiang Yanjiu 【古琴美学思想研究】. Shanghai: Shanghai Conservatory of Music Press. ISBN 7806922245
  • Wu, Na. 2004. Guqin Chuji Jiaocheng 【古琴初级教程】. Beijing: Tongxin Press. ISBN 7805938350/J‧105
  • Wu, Zhao. 2005. Jueshi Qingyin 【绝世清音】; inc. 1 CD. Suzhou: Ancient Inn of Wu Press. ISBN 7805749086/G‧259
  • Xian, Zhi. 2006. Qi-xian Midao: Jingdian Guqin Gushi 【七弦味味道‧经典古琴故事】. Beijing: China Three Gorges Press. ISBN 780223171X
  • Xu, Jian. 1982. Qinshi Chubian 【琴史初编】. Beijing: The People's Music Press. ISBN 7103023042
  • Xu, Junyue and Xiaoying. 2006. Zhepai Guqin Yishu 【浙派古琴艺朮】. Shanghai: Shanghai Arts and Literature Press. ISBN 7532130304
  • Yao, Bingyan and Huang, Shuzhi. 2005. Tangdai Chen Zhuo Lun Guqin Zhifa: Yao Bingyan Qinxue Zhu Shu zhi Yi 【唐代陳拙論古琴指法‧姚丙炎琴學著述之一】. Beijing: Shu zhi Zhai Wenhua Co. Ltd. ISBN 9889873915
  • Yi, Cunguo. 2005. Taiyin Xisheng 【太音希聲】. Guizhou: Zhejiang University Press. ISBN 7308042618/J‧093
  • Yin, Wei. 2001. Zhongguo Qinshi Yanyi 【中国琴史演义】. Yunnan: People's Press of Yunnan. ISBN 7222032061/I‧866
  • Zha, Fuxi. 1958. Cunjian Guqin Qupu Jilan 【存見古琴曲譜輯覽】. Beijing: The People's Music Press. ISBN 7103023794
  • Zhang, Huaying. 2005. Gu Qin 【古琴】. Guizhou: Zhejiang People's Press. ISBN 721302955X
  • Zhou, Ningyun. 1915. Qinshu Cunmu 【琴書存目】.


  • Chu, Fengjie. 1855. Yugu Zhai Qinpu 【與古齋琴譜】. Fujian: Private publication.
  • Gu, Meigeng. 2004. Qinxue Beiyao (shougao ben) 【琴學備要(手稿本)】. Shanghai: Shanghai Music Press. ISBN 780667453
  • Wang, Binglu. 1931, 2005. Mei'an Qinpu 【楳盦珡諩】. Beijing: China Bookstore. ISBN 7806632972/J‧331
  • Wu, Jinglüe and Wenguang. 2001. Yushan Wushi Qinpu 【虞山吴氏琴谱】 The Qin Music Repertoire of the Wu Family. Beijing: Eastern Press. ISBN 7506014548/I‧78
  • Xu, Shangying. 1673, 2005. Dahuan Ge Qinpu 【大還閣琴譜】. Beijing: Cathay Bookshop. ISBN 7806632883/J‧322
  • Yang, Zongji. 1910-1931, 1996. Qinxue Congshu 【琴學叢書】. Beijing: Cathay Bookshop. ISBN 7805685525/I‧139
  • Zhang, He. 1864, 1998. Qinxue Rumen 【琴學入門】. Beijing: Cathay Bookshop. ISBN 7805688656/J‧236
  • Zhou, Zi'an. 1722, 2000. Wuzhi Zhai Qinpu 【五知齋琴譜】. Beijing: Cathay Bookshop. ISBN 7805688648/J‧237
  • Zhu, Quan. 1425, 2001. Shenqi Mipu 【神竒秘譜】. Beijing: Cathay Bookshop. ISBN 7805689733/J‧284

Journals, newsletters and periodicals:

  • Zhongguo Huabao 【中國畫報】. July 1986.
  • Beijing Guqin Research Association. Beijing Qin-xun 【北京琴讯】. March 2001 (volume 71).

English books on qin:

  • Binkley, James. 2007. Abiding With Antiquity 【與古齋琴譜】. ISBN 9781430303466
  • Gulik, Robert Hans van. 1969. The Lore of the Chinese Lute, 2nd ed., rev. (original 1940) Rutland, VT:; and Tokyo: Charles Tuttle and Sophia University; Monumenta Nipponica. ISBN 0804808694
  • __________. 1941. Hsi K'ang and his Poetical Essay on the Chinese Lute. Tokyo: Monumenta Nipponica. ISBN 0804808686
  • Hsu, Wen-Ying. 1978. The Ku'Chin. California: Wen Ying Studio, Pasadena
  • Liang, David Ming-Yueh. 1972. The Chinese Ch'in Its History and Music. Chinese National Music Association / San Francisco Conservatory of Music
  • Lieberman, Fredric. 1983. A Chinese Zither Tutor: The Mei-an Ch'in-p'u. Trans. and commentary. Washington and Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. ISBN 029595941X

German books on qin:

  • Manfred Dahmer: “Qin - die klassische chinesische Griffbrettzither." With Audio-CD. Uelzen: ML-Verlag

Music books:

  • Herbet, Trevor. 2001. Music in Words: A Guide to Researching and Writing about Music. London: The Associated Board of Royal Schools of Music. ISBN 186096236
  • Lai, T. C. & Mok, Robert. 1985. Jade Flute - the Story of Chinese Music. New York: Schocken Books. ISBN 0805239618
  • Liang, David Ming-Yue. 1985. Music of the Billion. New York: Heinrichshofen. ISBN 3795904749
  • Sachs, Curth. 1940. The History of Musical Instruments. New York: Norton & Co.

Non qin books (or books with a section on the qin):

  • Addiss, Stephen. 1987. Tall Mountains and Flowing Waters. Hawaii: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0824810392
  • Herdan, Innes(trans.) 1973, 2000. 300 Tang Poems 【英譯唐詩三百首】, Yee Chiang (illus.). Taipei: The Far East Book Co., Ltd. ISBN 9576124719
  • Liang, Jianmin(ed.) et al. 2000. Gu Hanyu Dacidian 【古汉语大词典】. Shanghai: Shanghai Cishu Press. ISBN 753260571X
  • Rawski, E. Evelyn & Jessica Rawson, (ed.) 2005. CHINA: The Three Emperors 1662-1795. London: Royal Academy of Arts. ISBN 1903973694
  • Temple, Robert. 1998, 1999, 2002, 2005. The Genius of China: 3000 years of science, discovery and invention. with Dr. Joseph Needham, FRS FBA (intro.). London: Prion. ISBN 1853755826
  • Wang, Yunwu. 1969. Wang Yunwu Da Cidian 【王雲五大辭典】. Hong Kong: Guanghua Book Department.
  • Wieger, L., S. J. 1915, 1927, 1965. Chinese Characters: Their origin, etymology, history, classification and signification. A thorough study from Chinese documents. L. Davrout, S. J. (trans.). New York: Dover Publications. ISBN 0486213218
  • Yang, Xin; Barnhart, Richard M.; Nie, Chongzheng; Cahill, James; Lang, Shaojun and Wu, Hung. 1997. Three Thousand Years of Chinese Painting. New Haven & London, Beijing: Yale University Press and Foreign Language Press. ISBN 0300094477
  • Zhang Yushu et al. 1921. Kangxi Zidian 【康熙字典】. Shanghai: Shanghai Old Books Distribution Place.
  • Zhonghua Xin Zidian. 1976, 1982. (Putonghua : Yueyin) Zhonghua Xin Zidian 【(普通話‧粵音)中華新字典】. Hong Kong: Chinese Book Department, Hong Kong Section. ISBN 962231001X
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Traditional Chinese musical instruments
Silk (string): Plucked: Guqin • Se • Guzheng • Konghou • Pipa • Sanxian • Ruan • Liuqin • Yueqin • Qinqin • Duxianqin █ Bowed: Huqin • Erhu • Zhonghu • Gaohu • Banhu • Jinghu • Erxian • Tiqin • Yehu • Tuhu • Jiaohu • Sihu • Sanhu • Zhuihu • Zhuiqin • Leiqin • Dihu • (Xiaodihu • Zhongdihu • Dadihu) • Gehu • Diyingehu • Laruan • Matouqin • Yazheng █ Struck: Yangqin • Zhu
Bamboo (woodwind): Flutes: Dizi • Xiao • Paixiao • Koudi █ Oboes: Guan • Suona █ Free-reed pipes: Bawu • Mangtong
Gourd (woodwind): Sheng • Yu • Lusheng • Hulusi • Hulusheng
Percussion: Wood: Muyu • Guban █ Stone: Bianqing █ Metal: Bianzhong • Fangxiang • Luo • Yunluo █ Clay: Xun █ Hide: Daigu • Bangu • Paigu • Tanggu
Others: Gudi • Lusheng • Kouxian