Suona

Name: Suona.
Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Shawm.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.112
Bayin: 竹 Zhú; Bamboo.
Country: China.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: Suona 嗩吶 [in traditional: Chinese 唢呐] the suona, also called laba [in Chinese: 喇叭] or haidi. It is a Chinese conical double reed musical instrument. It has a distinctively loud and high-pitched sound, and is used frequently in Chinese traditional music ensembles, particularly those that perform outdoors. It is an important instrument in the folk music of northern China. Particularly the provinces of Shandong and Henan.

In Northern China the suona is a very important musical instrument. Particularly in the provinces of Shandong and Henan, where has long been used for festival and military purposes. Often in accompaniment with other instruments, sheng, gongs, drums and occasionally with other instruments. Such wind and percussion ensembles are called chuida or guchui.

Stephen Jones has written extensively on its use in ritual music of Shanxi province. It is also common in the ritual music of Southeast China. In Taiwan, it forms an essential element of ritual music that accompanies Daoist performances of both auspicious and inauspicious rites, i.e., those for both the living and the dead.

It is an important instrument in the folk music of northern China, particularly the provinces of Shandong and Henan, where it has long been used for festival and military purposes. It is still used, in combination with sheng mouth organs, gongs, drums, and sometimes other instruments, in wedding and funeral processions. Such wind and percussion ensembles are called chuida or guchui.

The suona has long been used for festival and military purposes. It is still used, in combination with sheng mouth organs, gongs, drums, and sometimes other instruments, in wedding and funeral processions. Such wind and percussion ensembles are called chuida or guchui.

Suona Family: The instrument is made in several sizes. Since the mid-20th century, “modernized” versions of the suona have been developed in China; incorporating mechanical keys similar to those of the European oboe, to allow for the playing of chromatic notes and equal tempered tuning both of which are difficult to execute on the traditional suona.

The Suona Family
Names [in Chinese] Names [In English] Pitch
Haidi Piccolo G and F
Xiao Sopranino D and C
Gaoyin Soprano A and G
Zhongyin Alto D
Cizhongyin Tenor G
Bass *

Citations: Bibliography: Wang, Min 2001 – The Musical and Cultural Meanings of Shandong Guchuiyue from the People’s Republic of China. Ph.D. dissertation. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University ;
New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell London, 2001 ; Jones, Stephen 2007 Ritual and Music of North China: Shawm Bands in Shanxi Province ; SOAS Musicology Series. Burlington, Vermont: Ashgate Publishing ;

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