The dizi is the most common transverse flute of China. Dizi are made from bamboo and have six finger holes and are characterized by an additional hole covered by a piece of very thin paper-like fibre that buzzes when played. This fibre, known as di mo and either made from the inner layer of a certain type of bamboo or from a type of river reed, is readily available in Chinese music stores. The do mo is held in place by placing a small amount of natural gum or garlic juice around the hole, and slightly moistening as it is placed into position. The di mo must dry to the proper tension to produce the dizi's characteristic loud sound. Modern dizi can be found with additional keys to aid in playing accidentals, but traditionally players had a set of dizi, one for each desired key, and accidentals and slides were accomplished by very subtle adjustments of the fingers to cover only a quarter or half of a hole. Although a relatively easy instrument at first, the standard for good dizi playing is extremely high, and professional dizi players from China are stunning in their virtuosity, although they often lack the emotional depth that is found in flute playing from other cultures.
|© R. Raine-Reusch, Jan. 1999|