Variety of Gong

Traditional musical instrument

Chinese traditional musical instruments have a wide variety of shapes and structures. Each has its unique sound and playing methods, showing the wisdom and creativity of the Chinese nation passing down for a long history. Among the ancient musical instruments, there are four major categories, that is, "blow, percussion, flip, and pull" which last for a long time and absorbs the strengths of a large variety of foreign musical instruments for improvement. The development of musical instruments is closely related to social productivity. As the categories of musical instruments increased, musical instruments were classified by their materials in the Zhou Dynasty into: metal, stone, clay, leather, silk, wood, Gourd, and bamboo, known as "eight sounds".

Classification of Chinese musical instruments
Materials
Playing methods
Photo
Musical
Instruments Representative
Metal
Percussion instrument

Bianzhong:
Bianzhong of Marquis Yi of Zeng is the existing largest and most complete bianzhong in China.

Photo credit:
Chiness culture wibsite

Stone
Percussion instrument

Yunban:
It is a percussion instrument made by bronze in the shape of a cloud. In ancient times, governmental offices used it to gather the public. It was also used by temples for a Buddhist or Taoist mass.

Photo credit:
Chinese musical instruments wikipedia

Silk
Plucked instruments

Guzheng:
It is a plucked instrument with a wide range, clear sound, and rich expression.

Photo credit:
Chinese musical instruments wikipedia

Bamboo
Wind
instruments

Xiao:
Its sound is soft, light, and graceful, suitable for solo or played together with Qin or bamboo instruments.

Photo credit:
Chinese musical instruments wikipedia

Gourd
Wind
instruments

Sheng:
It can produce harmony and produces sound with blowing and inhaling. Its sounds are clear and loud.

Photo credit:
Chinese musical instruments wikipedia

Clay
Wind
instruments

Ocarina:
It is a closed tubular instrument burned with china clay.

Photo credit:
Chinese musical instruments wikipedia

Leather
Wind
instruments

Drum:
Drum was used not only as a musical instrument, but also a device to transmit information.

Photo credit:
Thunder King of Drums

Wood
Percussion instrument

Wooden fish:
A drumstick or a small wooden mallet is used to beat the resonance region at the external side of the instrument. The bigger a wooden fish is, the lower its pitch is.

Photo credit:
Chinese musical instruments wikipedia

Reference:

  1. http://www.hwjyw.com/
  2. https://zh.wikipedia.org/zh-tw/中国民族乐器列表
  3. http://minzuyueqi.baike.com/article-56555.html

  

The categories of gong

Among national musical instruments, percussion instruments have the longest history. Gong appeared commonly since Song Dynasty. Local governmental officers used gong to clear the way. After the 20th century, gong was widely used in daily life, such as performances of celebrations. Along with the development of traditional Chinese opera, gong turned into a musical instrument with rich expression. And traditional gong had undergone reform and innovation. There is a variety of gong. Some has fixed pitch, while some has higher sounds after percussion. And some has lower sounds after percussion. Gong belongs to vibration instrument with a simple structure. The body of a gong is in a round and curved shape with frame surrounding it. A drumstick is used to beat the middle part to produce sound via vibration.

 

Common types of gong
Type
Description
Photo
Big Gong
A big gong is known for its big surface with a diameter of about 30 cm. Its sound is wide, loud, deep, and soft with a long after-sound. Different parts of the surface can produce different sounds. The center produces low sounds, while the edges produce high sounds. Both the center and edges are beaten to present its wide and loud sounds and shocking effects.
https://youtu.be/oIahUrj036c
Small Gong
It is also known as Tangluo, Shouluo, or Jingxiaoluo. Its surface is small with a diameter of about 22 cm. There is no need to tie it with a rope. Its center bulges a bit. One uses his left-hand fingers to touch the inside of the gong, while using his right hand to beat it with a thin wooden sheet to produce sharp and loud sounds.
https://youtu.be/akGfk6KBOXc
Yunluo

It is also known as Jiuyingluo. It is formed by several small gongs with different diameters, thickness, and pitches arranged by its scale on a wooden shelf. One holds two drumsticks, each in one hand. One is soft while the other is hard so as to produce soft or loud sounds.

Video reference:
youtubeYunluo
(HKCO HongKong Chinese Orchestra)

https://youtu.be/HzRq04wUnIc
Zhang Gong
It is also called Xuanzi. It's the smallest gong as big as a palm with a diameter of about 10 cm. Its surface is flat like a plate. One can hold it in his palm and beat it with a small board in his right hand.

https://youtu.be/_P7XGuk_Z5M

Reference :

  1. Guandu Music Journal No. 15
  2. http://minzuyueqi.baike.com/article-56555.html
  3. http://www.tmia.org.tw/musical/china6-3.htm
  4. http://nrch.culture.tw/twpedia.aspx?id=8124
  5. http://www.zwbk.org/MyLemmaShow.aspx?zh=zh-tw&lid=139508