Name: Suona.
Type: Double Reed > Aerophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.112
Pa Yin: Bamboo 竹 Zhú.
Country: China.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: Suona 嗩吶 [in Trad. Chinese 唢呐 simplified Chinese] the suona, also called laba 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.

History: 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. 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 Taoist performances of both auspicious and inauspicious rites, i.e., those for both the living and the dead.

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).

Suona Family
Size in Chinese Pitch
Piccolo Haidi G and F
Sopranino Xiao D and C
Soprano Gaoyin A and G
Alto Zhongyin D
Tenor Cizhongyin G
Bass Diyin Various Keys



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