The Sheng, one of China’s Oldest Musical Instruments

According to one source, the Sheng dates back as far as 1200 BC. Many Westerners also call it a “Chinese mouth organ”.

An early Sheng was discovered in Hubei Province in a Zeng royal tomb dating back 2400 years to the Zhou Dynasty (1111-222 BC).

 The Sheng has also been found in Han tombs in Hunan province.

The Sheng is a wind instrument with a bundle of between 17 and 37 pipes. Music is made by blowing and/or sucking the air through a tube connected to the base.  The tubes are connected to shape like a gourd.

This instrument predates the organ, concertina, harmonica and accordion.

One source says that most modern shengs have 17 pipes that produce crisp, melodious tones using a chromatic scale.  Source: Sheng (instrument) – Wiki

If you want to learn more about Chinese music, see the Jing-Hu


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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One Response to The Sheng, one of China’s Oldest Musical Instruments

  1. […] The Sheng, one of China’s Oldest Musical Instruments « iLook China […]

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