Saturday, September 6, 2008

Gudi (instrument)

The Jiahu gudi is the oldest known musical instruments from China dating back to around 6000 B.C.E. Gudi literally means bone flute.


In 1986, these bone flutes were excavated from an early neolithic tomb in Jiahu in the Wuyan County, Henan Province in Central China. They are dated to 6000 BC.


The average size of the bone flute is approximately 20 cm long and 1.1 cm in diameter, and the bone flutes are made from the wings of the red-crowned crane. These open-ended bone flutes have a variety of number of holes, ranging from one to seven holes; however there are some with eight holes, seven in front and one in back. The bone whistles are much shorter with lengths from 5.7 cm to 10.5 cm long with only a couple of holes. The number of holes and the spacing of the holes depended on what pitch the flute was supposed to make. Lee and Shen believed that the Chinese understood the "resonance of an air column" and were able to create an instrument that contained their "complete interval preference of Chinese music". Blowing into an end-blown bone flutes produces the same effect as blowing into a glass bottle. It was also believed that the eight open holes flute could play "all harmonic intervals and two registers". These harmonic intervals are said to be a "function of culture" and were of a larger set compared to the West. Bone flutes were also used for sacrificial purposes as well as bird hunting. Gudi are not very common now, but there are still people who continue to use these flutes for their music.

Sample Music


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