Types of 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( 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:
- 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 );
- 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.