Chinese Instrument – Suona

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Suona, a double-reed air-sounding instrument. In the 3rd century AD, Suona was introduced from Persia and Arabia. The sound of Suona is magnificent and louder. The tube is made of mahogany and has a conical shape. The upper end is equipped with a copper core with a reed whistle, and the lower end is covered with a copper bowl. In Taiwan, it is called advocacy; in the south, it is a kind of “eight-tone” musical instrument. In Henan and Shandong, it is called a trumpet. There are famous songs such as Bainiao Chaofeng and Yuxi Urban.

Suona has strong penetrating power and infectious power. In the past, it was mostly used in folk singing clubs, Bangko clubs, drum troupes, and local folk art and opera accompaniment. After continuous development, it has developed into traditional suona and keyed suona, which enriches performance skills and improves expressiveness. It has become a distinctive solo instrument and is used in national orchestra and national symphony orchestra ensemble or opera, singing and dancing accompaniment.


In the 3rd century AD, Suona was introduced to China from Persia and Arabia.

In the Ming Dynasty, there was no record of Suona in ancient books. Qi Jiguang, a general of the Ming Dynasty, used suona in military music. In his “Ji Xiao New Book · Wu Bei Zhi”, he said: “Where the palm of the hand trumpets the flute, it means to play the suona.”

Ming Dynasty, Wang Pan’s “overturned Zi Yong horn” is the best description of the article suona: “Speaker, suona, a little song, and from the large cavity child Guan Chuan tangled, has only been listening to you pretentious army troops. Worry, the people are afraid of the people, were to tell what is true and what is false? Seeing it blows over this house, hurts the other house, and blows away the water.”

In the late Ming Dynasty, Suona had already occupied an important position in opera music, used to accompany singing and play cutscenes. In folk instrumental music based on opera music, suona has also become an indispensable instrument.

In the Qing Dynasty, Suona was called “Surname”.

In modern times, Suona became one of the most widely used musical instruments of the Chinese people.

On May 20, 2006, Suona Art was approved by the State Council to be included in the first batch of national intangible cultural heritage lists.

In the Guangdong area, Suona is also known as Dida.

Basic structure

Suona consists of five parts: whistle, gas card, invader, pole, and bowl. Eight holes are made on the wooden conical tube (the first seven and the second one). The upper end of the tube is equipped with a thin copper tube, the upper end of the copper tube is covered with a double reed whistle, and the upper end of the wooden tube has a copper bowl-shaped loudspeaker. Although Suona has eight holes, the seventh hole sound is the same as the tube sound, and the eighth hole sound is the same as the first hole sound.

In 1993, the famous wind musician Guo Yazhi invented the “live core” device for suona, which made the traditional suona play a chromatic and twelve-tone system, which enriched the expressive power of suona.

Suona movable core, its inner tube is connected with gas brand and nozzle, and has bolt groove, a spring is inserted into the outer tube, and the side of the outer tube has threaded holes, and then a bolt and nut for the fine-tuning sleeve are put on it. The hole passes through the threaded hole, and then enters the bolt groove of the inner tube. Adjust the telescopic distance of the inner tube with screws and nuts. After the lips compress the air nozzle, the inner tube shortens its interval, so each sound hole can produce semitones and increase The volume range of the suona can play various transposing music.

The core is one of the important parts of Suona. The reed is mounted on the top and the main tube is connected below. The traditional core is a single tube type, while the movable core is a movable sleeve type, which can be expanded and contracted to change the length, and the return depends on the action of a spring. When playing, press up into the live core with both hands, and you can play a temporary semitone or chromatic scale. If the active core is pushed in and locked, it can be used as a transposing instrument with high semitones, and the fingering remains unchanged. The small deviations in the interval relationship produced after the advancement can be adjusted by controlling the mouth strength, and the player can easily adapt and make effective corrections. There are 3 specifications of the live score, and because the length of its expansion and contraction can be adjusted, it solves the application problem of various tones of large, medium, and small suona.

Suona classification

Pitch classification

Suona is divided into three types: treble, midrange, and bass according to the pitch of the tube tone (using the pitch of the third hole as the key name). All the tube sounds above #f1 are high-pitched suona, those with #f~f’1 are mid-range suona, and those below f are low-pitched suona. For example, the suona whose tube sound is a1 is called D high-pitched suona, and the tube sound of a is called D midrange suona.

Length classification

Suona varies from place to place. There are big, small, rough, soft, and there are many types.

Xiao Suona: The pole is 22-30 cm long. The most commonly used is the rod with a length of 23 cm (also known as “three squeaks”). It is popular in Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian, Hunan, and Jiangxi provinces. The timbre is soft and ethereal. It is mostly used for solo or ensemble, especially with erhu ensemble. It is often accompanied by singing and dancing. Among them, the popular Hunan Suona is also used as an accompaniment to the rap music “Sudoku”. The whistles used in different places are also different, there are reeds, straws, and maroon gelatinous insect shells (but they are very soft to blow). Suona in Huichang, Jiangxi, the intruder is made of silver, and the diameter of the upper and lower mouths are very different. In the tube from the lower end of the intruder to the upper end of the eighth hole, there is a hollow tube, which is unique in sound. The ensemble with erhu and other stringed instruments makes it more pleasant to hear. Popular in Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian, Hunan, and Jiangxi provinces

Haidi: The pronunciation is majestic and high-pitched. Popular in Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui.

Zhong Suona: The pole is 32 to 40 cm long. The most commonly used rod is 37 cm long (also known as “black rod”). Popular in Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui. The volume is between large and small suona, and the tone is soft. Mostly used for singing and dancing accompaniment. Small and medium-sized suona are widely spread in the southern provinces of our country. The north is called “Southern Suona”. The volume of Zhong Suona is not too big or small, and it is very melodious when used in singing and dancing accompaniment.

Big Suona : The pole is 42 to 57 cm long. The most commonly used is a pole with a length of 50 cm (also known as a “big pole”). It is popular in the Northeast, Shanhaiguan, and East Hebei. The whistle is made of reeds, and the reeds are mostly pocket-shaped, and the sound is majestic and magnificent. They are often used to play large music.

Plus key suona : It was successfully developed in the 1960s. The sound holes on the rod are arranged according to the twelve equal temperaments, which has a sound semitone and convenient transfer. There are four types of treble, midrange, tenor, and bass. Compared with traditional suona, the sound is richer, the volume is increased, and the range is expanded.

Geographical classification

Hakka Suona

Hakka Suona has a long history. According to historical records, as early as a thousand years ago, “drummers were raised on the road, going to and fro people, even more incessantly”. Hakka Suona is divided into sad and happy tunes, which are brisk and joyful. When playing, they are vigorous and vigorous, harmonious and sweet; sad tones are euphemistic and resentful. Among the folks, suona has a deep foundation. Generally, people’s families have to invite a few suona hands to celebrate the excitement when they hold weddings, funerals, birthdays, move to new homes, and New Year’s holidays. To this day, they have to send their sons to join the army and cut the ribbon. Suona band. [8]

Zhou Jia Ban Suona

Zhoujiaban is the Zhoujia wind blowing class. It is also known as Zhoujia Suona class, Zhoujia drum music class, and Bolin trumpet. It is based on the Chinese wind master Zhou Zhengyu and other members of the Zhou clan who settled in Yinji Bolin Village in Lingbi, Anhui. Chinese folk music group. Since its inception in the late Qing Dynasty, the Zhou family has been passed down to the family for six generations and has gone through more than 100 years of vicissitudes. There are more than 100 musicians of men, women, and children, spanning Jiangsu, Shandong, Anhui, and Zhejiang, and are well-known overseas.

Xichang Suona

Xichang Suona mainly refers to the big Suona with three feet long and twenty-five feet long. It is an important part of Suona in northern Shaanxi. If the Chang Suona song card is divided by speed, there are three types: Adagio, Medium, and Allegro. The Adagio includes the Adagio and the original board (also called grabbing), which are all 4/4 beats, and the original board is slightly faster than the Adagio. The middle board and allegro are both in 2/4 time, and the allegro is faster than the middle board when playing. The middle board includes the flow board and the stack board; the allegro includes the second flow board and the Botou brand. Playing basically follows the pattern of a slow start, mid-continuation, and fast end. Each type of board connection must-have transitional music, commonly known as “over drum” or “chat” or “change board”. “Overdrum” should also be added to the same board style change card.

Qinyang Suona

The Qinyang Suona in Jiaozuo, Henan is a wooden oboe instrument. It has a large volume, a majestic and rugged sound quality, and is easy to play. It is good at expressing passionate and unrestrained scenes and great joy and sadness.

In 1606, Le Saint Qinyang people Zaiyu using scientific methods to clarify the Chromatic, solve ancient divergent views of the “palace spin phase” problem and improved suona pronunciation position, the suona octave foundation hole The “three-eyed pipe” was developed on the previous year, which has made great contributions to the development of national wind music in China. Zhu Zaiyu also acts as the foreman of the Qinyang Suona performance. He founded the “Golden Drum Club” at Jiufeng Temple. Every September 23rd of the lunar calendar, suona classes from all over the world gather here. Under the influence of Zhu Zaiyu, the number of suona classes in Huaiqing Prefecture gradually increased, such as the “Tonglehui” and “Jiajia Class” in the late Ming and early Qing Dynasty, and the “Majin Class” and “Mao Dan Class” in the Qing Dynasty and the Republic of China. The “Yinghe Class” has a great influence on the local area. There are common sayings in Qinyang: “Big sedan chair, Ma Jin blowing, Ma Jin blowing, not getting married”, “Girlfriends, son-in-law, and Mao Dan not blowing on the sedan chair”. Suona in Qinyang can be divided into four major factions as a whole. Taking Qinhe as the boundary, it is divided into Qinbei School and Quinnan School. The two schools have different playing styles.

Otake Bamboo Suona

Dazhu Zhu Suona , a unique bamboo suona in Yuehua Township , Dazhu County, Eastern Sichuan, is included in the Sichuan Provincial Intangible Cultural Heritage List with its vigorous and beautiful sound . Hundreds of years ago, when suona was introduced to Bashu, Dazhu people used local bamboo to make suona. After development, the craftsmanship of bamboo suona is becoming more and more sophisticated. The bamboo suona is composed of four parts: whistle, Tianxin, pole, and horn. The whistle is made of local oat stalks in Dazhu County, the poles are made of Luohan bamboo, a specialty of Dazhu County, and the horns are woven from locally produced yellow bamboo strips. After that, they are scraped and coated with earth paint. Loading and unloading; today’s big bamboo suona is 6 holes, a pentatonic fixed tone, its performance is diverse, the sound is vivid, and it is a folk treasure.

musical skills

Range tone

The traditional Suona tube has eight holes, which are pressed by the index finger, middle finger, ring finger, and little finger of the right hand, and the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and ring finger of the left hand (the left and right can be changed for those with different dominant hands) to control the pitch. Pronunciation manner, by mouth, to latch reed made whistle (i.e. spring), so that the vibration force blowing sound, and a vibration tube body through wood and metal bowl PA, suona be issued to the sound.

The common range of traditional suona is seventeenth, and its range is from low A to high A (Treble B is used occasionally, but it is difficult to blow).

The modern improved keyed suona has added buttons and semitone holes to increase the range and stabilize the pitch. The common keyed midrange suona, the common range is generally eighteenth.

D high-pitched suona uses a treble staff to record notation according to the actual pitch. Its total range is a(1)-b(3), and the common range in bands is a(1)-d(3).

The biggest feature of Suona lies in its ability to control the whistle with its mouth to make changes in volume, pitch, and tone , as well as the use of various techniques.

Breathing method

Mastering breathing is one of the basic skills of wind blowing. It is often said that “fullness of air and fullness” means that sufficient breath is the basis of “fullness of tone”.

The better breathing method is the “Pantian breathing method”. When inhaling, the lower abdomen shrinks inward, and the ribs of the chest expand outward; when inhaling, use the lower abdomen to control the rapid exhalation. Suona is generally inhaled quickly and more; while exhaling, it is slower and less. It is necessary to use abdominal movements to control the breath so that it meets the needs of playing music.

Three points should be paid attention to when practicing breathing:

  1. When breathing, relax all parts of the body that are not related to breathing. The breath should be controlled well, and the amount of breath should be used according to the needs. Generally speaking, inhale more and faster; exhale less and slow.
  2. To maintain the continuity of exhalation and inhalation, do not wait for the first breath to be completely exhaled before starting to inhale the second breath, but start to inhale the second breath before the first breath is completely exhaled, so as to be coherent Keep going.
  3. In general, you use your nose to inhale. Only use your mouth and nose to inhale at the same time when you are rushing for air or when it is not enough.

Playing technique

1. Circulating ventilation method

Cyclic ventilation is generally not commonly used, it is only used when playing certain sustained long notes. Its method is: use the power of the lower abdomen to control breathing, use the nose for inhalation, and use the mouth for exhalation. When the nose is inhaled, the ribs bulge, and the lower abdomen shrinks inward to make the breath move upward, that is, the pressure of the lower abdomen is used to send the breath into the mouth; then the breath in the cheeks is gradually expelled out according to the required amount, and with the exhalation, The lower abdominal muscles also gradually relax. Repeat the same process when you take in the second breath. It should be noted that at the end of the first process, the second breath should be inhaled through the nose without waiting for the breath in the mouth to be exhaled, so that the connection between the two processes is very coherent, and the ventilation cannot be heard. Traces, well maintain the continuity of the long tone. When practicing this breathing method for the first time, you can first prepare a reed and a bowl of water, then insert the reed tube into the bowl and blow air into the reed according to the above-mentioned cyclic ventilation method. Continuously bubbling, the method is basically right. After practicing this way, practice on the suona. When practicing, blow the eighth hole sound first, and then practice other sounds.

2. Air vibrato

Qi tremolo is a chanting sound, which is indicated by adding “~” to the note. Its playing method is: take a full breath, the lower abdomen strongly supports the breath and makes elastic contraction, the sound produced by it produces slight fluctuations, and its effect is like the stringing on a string. This kind of vibrato can be different in speed and strength according to the requirements of the music. Generally used for long notes, sometimes its fluctuations can express the styles of different nationalities or places.

3. Tooth vibrato

Tooth tremolo is also a chanting sound, which is indicated by adding the word “tooth” to the syllable “~”. Its playing method is to use the lower teeth to gently vibrate the root of the whistle to make it vibrate. This kind of tooth tremor is mostly used in wind opera, folk art, and folk style music. It can be divided into two types: hard tremor and soft tremor: hard tremor is to directly touch the whistle root with teeth, and soft tremor is to pad the lips between the teeth and the whistle root. Tooth vibrato is often used on one sound. At this time, attention should be paid to the uniformity of the vibrato.

4. Finger vibrato

Finger vibrato is also called “finger flower” in folk, and it is a very versatile technique. This technique is often used to express cheerful and enthusiastic emotions, and it is even more diverse when used to decorate the emotions of certain sounds in lyrical music. In performance, it is characterized by being able to clearly hear two adjacent sounds alternately appearing quickly. Although the alternating movements are very fast, the edges and corners must be very clear, otherwise, it will become the effect of chanting and lose the characteristics of vibrato.

5. Forearm vibrato

The effect of forearm vibrato sounds different from finger vibrato. Its playing method is not to punch the soundhole with finger movements, but to drive the fingers with the rapid shaking of the forearm. The direction of the jitter is perpendicular to the wooden pole. With it, the fingers repeatedly close and open the soundhole to make the pronunciation vibrate. This kind of vibrato has the characteristics of evenness and density, and it is more durable in time. It is often used in passionate passages in performance, especially in top notes.

Pay attention to the following three points when practicing:

① Do not move your fingers, rely solely on the forearm to move your fingers.

②Do does not lift your finger too high away from the soundhole, just leave it slightly.

③The fingers, wrist, and forearm should be kept in a straight line.

Tuning method

Suona is based on the instrument used in traditional tuning methods. Regardless of the size or the thickness of the wooden pipe, it is called “the original tone” by pressing all the holes (pressing all the sound holes, that is, the tube tone). This is a basic key name familiar to all comrades who play suona. Moreover, because it is a must-used tone for beginners, it is called “benxue” in the terminology of folk artists.

Regarding the naming of this “primary tone”, it is a general term that is used everywhere. Take the “seven inch” Xiao Suona as an example, its “this tune” pitch is equivalent to the central “C” or “1” of a keyboard instrument. Its scale is arranged as “1 2 5 4 5 6 7 1 2”, and then, taking the 1234567 seven notes of this scale as the name of the seven tones of “CDEFGAB”, we get “1=e, 1=D, i=E, 1:F, 1:G, 1:A, 1=B” phoneme fingering of each key.

Social influence

Suona is a folk wind instrument with a long history, widespread popularity, rich skills, and strong expressive power in China. It has a cheerful and bold pronunciation, high-pitched and majestic, rigid with softness, and soft with rigidity. It is one of the folk musical instruments that are loved and welcomed by the majority of people. It is widely used in folk weddings, funerals, marriages, marriages, rituals, music, and ceremonies. Ceremonial accompaniment for festivals and Yangko will.

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