The Pa Yin [八音] “eight tone” classification system is used to classify musical instruments according to what materials they were made from. However, the Chou-Li [Rites of Chou] an anonymous treatise compiled from earlier sources in about the 2nd century BC. Which had the following order: Metal, Stone, Clay, Leather, Silk, Wood, Gourd and Bamboo.
The same order was presented in the Tso Chuan [Commentary of Tso], attributed to Tso Chiu-Ming, probably compiled in the 4th century BC. The Pa yin system is correlated to the eight seasons and eight winds of Chinese culture, autumn and west, autumn-winter and north-west, summer and south, spring and east, winter-spring and north east, summer-autumn and south west winter and north, and spring-summer and south east, respectively.
Bamboo [竹] This category includes flutes [dizi, xiao].
Gourd [匏] is the category applied to free-reed [Hulusi, Sheng] .
Clay [土] it is a category applied to musical instruments that are baked of clay notably the xun [aerophone] and fou a percussion instrument.
Silk [絲] in short the silk category includes plucked [Guqin, Zheng, Yangqin] bowed [huqin family, erhu] and struck stringed musical instruments.
Stone [石] a category in which pitched ~ struck lithophones most notably chimes are found.
Metal [金] the metal category contains several struck idiophones. It also includes as the category indicates various metallophones they include a variety of gongs 鑼 and cymbals “po” 鈸. Musical instruments mainly struck idiophones that are made entirely from metal. This includes pitched and un-pitched instruments. This category includes the Laba a valveless trumpet entirely constructed of metal even though its an aerophone in principle.
Skin [革] membranophones. As the name indicates drums are classified in this category.
|Pa Yin / Eight Fold|