Top 5 Chinese Instruments

With every culture comes its own set of music and instruments. The same can be said for the Chinese culture. The Chinese have a variety of instruments to create a unique sounding music that can be enjoyed by everyone. Today, we’ll be taking a look at the top five Chinese instruments.

Chinese Instrument Erhu
Chinese Instrument Erhu

The Erhu

The Erhu is a two-stringed bowed musical instrument. Sometimes called the Chinese violin, it functions in a similar fashion where a bow is rubbed between two strings to create a pleasing sound. The Erhu is used a solo instrument as well as in small and large orchestras. Part of the huqin family of traditional bowed instruments, it is the most popular string instrument in China, used by various ethnic groups around the entire country.

Chinese Instrument Guzheng
Chinese Instrument Guzheng, picture courtesy of Matanya on wikimedia commons

The Guzheng

The Guzheng, also known as the Chinese Zither, is a plucked string instrument used in China. It is a large instrument, around the size of a person, with 21 strings that are plucked by the artist. The oldest Guzheng found had 13 strings and was dated to around 500 BC. It’s a very old, traditional instrument that has a huge role in Chinese history.

The Dizi 

Chinese Instrument Dizi
Dizi, picture courtesy of David290 on wikimedia commons

The Dizi can be comparable to a flute in Western culture. It’s a wind instrument with holes that operate in the same manner as a flute. Made out of bamboo, the Dizi is a popular instrument as it is easy to make, and easily carried. As a result, it’s very popular in Chinese culture. It’s one of the most popular instruments, having a role in the Chinese opera and Chinese orchestra. It’s even used by the people in China to create street or folk music.


The Suona

The Suona is another popular wind instrument in China. It resembles a double-reed horn, made out of wood. It has a distinct loud and high-pitched sound. Because of this, you can find the Suona in a lot of street music outdoors that requires music to be loud. It is more common in the Southern regions of China.

The Tanggu

Chinese Instrument Tanggu
Chinese Instrument Tanggu, picture courtesy of Holvv on wikimedia commons

The Tanggu is a traditional Chinese drum. There are two types of Tanggu, the small drum and the large one. They are roughly the same, except the smaller one would create a higher pitched sound. But overall, it’s a medium-sized drum, traditionally made out of buffalo hide. Along with other Chinese drums, they add a powerful beat to Chinese orchestral pieces.

Chinese culture is one of the most complex ones out there, and definitely one worth studying. In its instruments alone, there are hundreds to learn about. As the world modernizes, cultures are starting to spread throughout the entire world. Give your children the opportunity to take advantage of Chinese culture and let them learn Chinese. It’s easy! Just spend five minutes every day playing simple games and activities, and soon enough, they will be fluent in Chinese. Try it out today at!


Create Your Account

Enjoy a 7-Day Trial of Premium Membership

Reset Password

Forgot Password?

Welcome Back!