Percussion instruments are played by striking the instruments’ surfaces. Commonly made from materials such as rock and bamboo, percussion instruments are used to maintain the rhythm of a performance. Percussionists are thus very important performers as they direct the rest of the orchestra and create the mood of the performance through their playing. Percussion instruments include Paiban, Luo, Bangu, Bo, and Bianzhong. The Bangu and the Yunlo are further elaborated on below.
The Bangu, also known as the Jing Bangu, is often the leads instrument of the percussion section of an ensemble. The face of the drum is made usually from cow or pig skin, and is about 25cm in diameter. When it is played, the Bangu is struck in the middle using a pair of bamboo sticks.
The Yunluo is a set of 10 small gongs that are mounted in a single wooden frame. Each gong produces a different tone from another as they are of varying thickness. Traditionally, the gongs of a Yunlo are of a uniform diameter, but a modern-day Yunlo may have up to 30 small gongs with varying thickness as well as diameters, in order to achieve a larger range of tones.
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