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              Home History and Culture Zeng Houyi Bells: Gem of Ancient Chinese Art
              Zeng Houyi Bells: Gem of Ancient Chinese Art
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               Zeng Houyi Bells
              The set of bells, set of chimes and other instruments excavated from the tomb of Zeng Houyi (zēng hóu yǐ 曾侯乙), who was a Warring States (zhàn guó 戰國) duke in Suixian County (suí xiàn 隨縣), now Suizhou City (suí zhōu 隨州) in Hubei Province (hú běi shěng 湖北省), are the largest-scale ancient percussion instruments found so far. The musical instruments were discovered in the central chamber, which was the biggest, and the second biggest, the eastern chamber.
              Among the musical instruments found was a bell used for tuning other instruments, a ten-stringed plucked instrument, five Se (sè 瑟, a zither-like instrument) with 25 strings each, two  Sheng (shēng 笙) and one hanging drum (xuán gǔ 懸鼓). The other instruments found were three Xiao (xiāo 蕭, a reed instrument consisting of a bundle of 13 flutes, each of different thickness), seven 35-stringed Se and a small drum. The most distinguished among them were Zeng Houyi Bells (zēng hóu yǐ biān zhōng 曾侯乙編鐘) -- the gem of ancient Chinese Art:

              The Zeng Houyi Bells

              The Zeng Houyi Bells are three-tiered set which has 65 refined bronze bells, including a large Jian drum (90cm in diameter, the drum was suspended from a framework in such a way that the drum head faced the striker), one set of bells and one set of chimes. They formed the three sides of a rectangle.
              The musical range of the Zeng Houyi Bells, which can carry the main melody as well as the harmony, was more than five octaves, and of these three distinct groups have 12 complete notes each.
              All the musical instruments excavated from the Zeng Houyi tomb show superb craftsmanship and function surprisingly well. Indeed, some could not be surpassed even today.




                    整套編鐘共有65枚,全部是由青銅鑄造異常精美。編鐘依次列在曲尺型銅木結構的鐘架上。上下三層,總共加起來有65枚鐘。每件鐘體上都鐫刻有金篆體銘文,正面均刻有“曾侯乙乍時”(曾侯乙作) 曾侯乙編鐘的總音域有五個八度,僅次于現代的鋼琴??梢宰喑鑫迓?、六聲或七聲音階的音樂?,F代學者推斷這套編鐘不但可以演奏旋律,還可以演奏和聲。 


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