Types of Musical Instruments

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Daoist Music
Classification and Forms of Daoist Music
Vocal Music
Instrumental Music
Musical Instruments
Schools of Daoist Music
Music of the Orthodox Oneness Tradition
Music of the Complete Perfection Tradition
Compilations of Daoist Music Scores
The Ritual of Jade Tunes
The Daoist Musical Scores Composed by Imperial Order during the Great Ming Dynasty
The Orthodox Rhythm of the Complete Perfection Tradition
Daoist Music of Different Places
The White Cloud Temple, Beijing Suzhou Mt Longhu
Mt Wudang Mt Mao Shanghai
Mt Lao Shanxi Plain Sichuan
The Northeast Taiwan Hong Kong

Musical Instruments

The early musical instruments used in Daoist rituals comprised percussion Magical Instruments ( 法器 Faqi ), such as bells, Inverted Bells ( 磬 Qing ), and drums, and to which were later added wind instruments, stringed instruments and plucked instruments. The musical instruments used by the Complete Perfection Tradition ( 全真道 Quanzhen Dao ) are differentiated from those used by the Orthodox Oneness Tradition ( 正一道 Zhengyi Dao ). The former mainly uses wind instruments and magical instruments, with a few stringed instruments and plucked instruments as subsidiaries, while the latter has always attached importance to Fasts and Offerings ( 齋醮 Zhaijiao ) music and uses a wide and complete range of musical instruments, including the flute, the horn, the sheng (a reed pipe wind instrument), the erhu (a two-stringed bowed instrument), the pipa (a plucked string instrument), the dulcimer, the sanxian (a three-stringed plucked instrument), etc.


Magical Instruments

Magical Instruments( 法器 Faqi ) are symbolic implements that manifest magic power during Daoist rituals. Ordinarily the magical instruments of temples are displayed on the shelves of the Ritual Altars ( 法壇 Fatan ). There are two categories of magical instruments in common use:

  1. Implements used for invoking immortals, paying homage to patriarchs, and exorcising evil agents, such as the Audience Tablet ( 朝簡 Chaojian ), the S-Shaped Ornamental Object ( 如意 Ruyi ), the Jade Document ( 玉冊 Yuce ), the jade seal, the precious sword, the Commandment Flag ( 令旗 Lingqi ), the Commandment Arrow ( 令箭 Lingjian ), the Commandment Plaque ( 敕令牌 Chiling Pai ), Tianpeng's Ruler ( 天蓬尺 Tianpeng Chi ), and the Plaque for Protecting the Altar ( 鎮壇木 Zhentanmu );
  2. All sorts of magical percussion instruments, including most the danao, xiaonao, dacha, xiaocha (big and small cymbals), pans, hand bells, big and small Wood Blocks ( 木魚 Muyu ), big and small drums, big iron Inverted Bells , and big and small copper inverted bells ( 磬 Qing ). The Ritual Implements ( 法器 Faqi ) used in Daoist ritual music are mainly magical percussion instruments.