Sheng | Ancient Chinese Culture


Sheng has been one of the Chinese traditional musical instruments and earliest free reed instrument in China. Sheng is the only instrument which can blow harmony in Chinese traditional wind instruments. It is one of the wind instruments with crisp pronunciation, soft sound, etc.

Sheng contains three parts: reed, Sheng Miao (different lengths bamboo on Sheng’s body) and Sheng Dou (connect the mouthpiece on the bottom). Sheng was made of bamboo in ancient times, while it is mostly made of copper nowadays.

The history of Sheng can date back to 3000 years ago. It was quite popular during the period of Spring and Autumn Warring States (770BC~221BC). Later, Sheng reached the Persian through the Silk Road, and then it was introduced to the Europe.

There are lots of moving legends about the origin of Sheng, the most famous one goes that, in Miao (one of the ethnic minorities in China) cottage, there was a very beautiful girl named Bang Que. One day, she met a monster when she was out, when she felt hopeless a hunter appeared and saved her. However, after that, he ran after the monster and then disappeared. Bang was very upset. In order to help her, Bang’s father invented the Sheng. He then taught the young people to play it and before long, most young people could play the Sheng. When the Sheng competition was held, most young men came to attend it, including the young hunter. Bang recognized him at a glance, and then they fell in love with each other and soon got married.


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