Name: Fang Sheng
Type: Gourd > Free Reed > Aerophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 412.132.
Pa Yin: 匏 Gourd.
Country: Henan Province, China.
Region: Far East Asia.
Description: The fang-sheng [literally “square sheng”] is mainly found in Henan province of China, and is not a very popular instrument compared to the more common circular sheng.
In comparison with circular sheng: The pipes are set in three straight rows or 5 pipes, 4 [inside] and 5. Yet this arrangement of pipes is much older than that of the circular sheng, according to early drawings of the hulusheng and the larger and lower pitched Yu [now extinct]. The circular pattern seems to have become popular at a later date.
Developments: Modern versions of the fang-sheng can be found made with metal wind chambers and there are versions with thirty-six pipes with small keys to assist in playing all the pipes. These are heavy and awkward instruments that are seldom in tune, and were developed to enable the fang-sheng to play “modern” orchestral music.
Citation: Randy Raine-Reusch [Fang-sheng Article @ asza.com]