Discovery of the Bianzhong (梆子)

This video offers a great look at the discovery of a very important Chinese artifact and instrument that until 1977 was previously unknown by modern historians and man. The bianzhong is such a unique and incredible instrument, and the fact that they were still in superb condition when found over 2000 years after it was buried in the ground! BIANZHONG (梆子) - 16 to 65 bronze bells hung on a rack, struck using poles - They were an important instrument in China's ritual and court music TRADITIONAL CHINESE CLASSIFICATION: Metal RELATED INSTRUMENTS: - Bianqing - Fangxiang OVERVIEW: These sets of chime bells were used as polyphonic musical instruments and some of these bells have been dated at between 2,000 to 3,600 years old. They were hung in a wooden frame and struck with a mallet. Several sets of bianzhong were imported to the Korean court during the Song Dynasty. Pronounced in Korean as pyeonjong, the instrument became an important part in Korea's ritual and court music and is still in use. The instrument is called the hensho in Japan. ORIGINS: Although tuned bells have been created and used for musical performance in many cultures, zhong are unique among all other types of cast bells in several respects. They have a lens-shaped (rather than circular) section, the bell mouth has a distinctive "cutaway" profile, and the outer surfaces of the large bells feature 36 studs or bosses, symmetrically placed around the body in four groups of nine. This special shape gives zhong bells the remarkable ability to produce two different musical tones, depending on where they are struck. NOTES: - These bells usually have inscriptions on them from which scholars use as references for studying ancient Chinese writings

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