Today, there are numerous types of Chinese dizi available to musicians. For the amateur, this may prove confusing – what are the differences between them, and which should you pick up?
This post thus aims to let you have a clearer idea on what dizis are available out there.
Firstly, the most commonly used dizis belong to the categories of bangdi and qudi. Amongst these, the bangdis are shorter, and mainly comes in keys of A, G and F (C4 – A6). Suited for lively, Northern styles of playing, its tone is bright. The specifications of these dizis are as follows:
A Key: Length – 44.5cm (Range: E4-A6)
G Key: Length – 48cm (Range: D4-G6)
F Key: Length – 52cm (Range: C4-F6)
On the other hand, the qudi comes in the keys of E, D and C (G3 – E6), and is suited for the lyrical melodies of the South. The specifications of these dizis are as follows:
E Key: Length – 56cm (Range: B3-E6)
D Key: Length – 60cm (Range: A3-D6)
C Key: Length – 67cm (Range: G3-C6)
While the bangdis and the qudis cover a definite range, there are also the xiaodis and xindis/dadis, which are capable of playing notes at extreme ends. The xiaodi mainly comes in keys of D, C and Bb (F4 – D7), and its sharp timbre allows it to assume the role of musical leader in many pieces. The specifications of these dizis are as follows:
Bb: Length – 42cm (Range: F4-Bb6)
C: Length – 39cm (Range: G4-C7)
D: Length – 36cm (Range: A4-D7)
The xindis/dadis comes in the keys of Bb, A, G and F (C2 – Bb6), and generally possess a rich, solid sound. The specifications of these dizis are as follows:
Low Bb: Length – 75cm (Range: F3-Bb6)
Low A: Length – 77.5cm (Range: E3-A5)
Low G: Length – 91.5cm (Range: D3-G5)
Low F: Length – 95cm (Range: C3-F5)
In addition to these, there is also the koudi, which usually comes in D or G. Merely a few inches long with no holes except for the blowing hole and its two ends (an additional few holes may be found in longer models), the koudi’s pitch is mainly altered by adjusting the amount of hole covered by the musician’s thumbs. The resultant sound is extremely high in pitch, bright and piercing.
Since different dizis possess different keys, a musician typically owns many dizis to allow for playing across multiple keys. As most traditional repertoire belong to the keys of D or G, beginner students are encouraged to first learn how to play the D key qudi and the G key bangdi. With time, other dizis can be used, especially in alternative repertoire.
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