When it comes to choosing Dizis, we often differentiate them based on the makers, keys, or types of Dizis (eg. Bangdi, Qudi, Xindi).
However, Dizis are constructed from different materials as well. Today, we will be discussing about two of the most commonly used bamboo types – white bamboo (白竹, baizhu) & purple bamboo (紫竹, zizhu) for dizi construction and their differences.
So what’s the main differences, you may ask. White bamboo (also known as kuzhu or giant bamboo) is typically used for dizis made in the southern regions of China (such as Hangzhou), while purple bamboo is used for dizis made in the northern regions. The purple bamboo used to construct the flute is generally older as compared to the white bamboo used. Also, purple bamboo is more frequently used for low key flutes and white bamboo is mostly used for higher key flutes.
Do you need to adjust your techniques when moving from playing a white bamboo to a purple bamboo to a?
No. Generally the techniques used are the same. However, all dizis are unique and different regardless of bamboo types thus it is important for the player to adopt a suitable embouchure for each dizi.
How should decide whether to choose a purple bamboo dizi or white bamboo dizi?
Each bamboo type has its own characteristics. Some dizi players do have a preference over which type of dizi to purchase. It usually depends on what kind of timbre the musician is looking for in his or her instrument, or what kind of music he or she plans on playing with the dizi. White bamboo dizis produce a brighter and clearer sound while purple bamboo dizis produce a more mellow and gentler sound.
It should also be noted that there are many factors other than the bamboo types that play a part in affecting the timbre of an instrument as well, e.g. the age or thickness of the bamboo used etc.
Are there any differences in the crafting processes of different bamboo type dizis?
No. The crafting processes are the same. However, as purple bamboo is rarer than white bamboo, the waiting time needed for a maker to acquire a suitable piece of purple bamboo is thus longer because the dizi maker has to pick a piece of bamboo that fits his criteria in terms of physical structure and density. This consequently results in low supply and increased prices of purple bamboo dizis.
Here’s a video discussing about the two bamboo types and the respective dizis, including a comparison demo by one of our dizi instructor, Ng Wei Xuan.
We hope that this post was informative and useful. If you are interested in buying dizis, check out our webstore at www.easonmusicstore.com.