Huqin is the generic term for Chinese bowed-string instruments, a family
which, according to written records alone, number more than thirty. The
configuration of the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra incorporates the erhu,
zhonghu, gehu and bass
gehu. The Orchestra may also incorporate other types of bowed-string
instruments such as the banhu,
jinghu, yehu and leiqin depending on the
The term "plucked-string instruments" is in fact a generic term.
It includes the "plucked string" category, which is played with
the fingers or a plectrum, and the "struck-string" category,
which is played by hitting the strings with bamboo sticks. Plucked-string
instruments have a long history in China, and there are as many as forty
types, which add to the rich expressiveness of the genre. The configuration
of the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra incorporates the yangqin,
sanxian and guzheng.
Depending on the repertory, other types of plucked-string instruments
may be incorporated, such as the guqin, konghou or even the Western harp.
This category refers to all instruments which are sounded by passing an
airstream through a pipe. It has a long history in China and there are
many types. The tones are all different, and the playing techniques also
differ. In general, they can be subdivided into the following types: those
with the airstream passing through the holes (such as the di, xiao, xun
and paixiao); those with a double-reed (such as the suona
and the guan); those with a reed
(such as the sheng, bawu
and hulushi); and those
sounded by reverberation of the lips (such as the conch, the ox horn and
the brass horn).
In the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, the wind instruments in use include
the bangdi, qudi,
dadi and xindi; soprano
keyed sheng, alto paisheng and bass baosheng; the alto guan, bass guan
and suona, etc.. Depending on the repertory, the Orchestra also incorporates
other wind instruments such as the dongxiao, bawu,
xun, koudi and conch.
Percussion instruments refer to musical instruments that are played by
striking them with another object. Chinese percussion instruments have
a long history and a sizable variety. They can be used to highlight the
rhythm in music and create colourful tonal changes, or can be grouped
together in ensemble playing. Percussion ensemble pieces differ in expression
as the configuration differs.
The Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra's percussion section is primarily made
up of two sets: Chinese traditional percussion instruments and Western
percussion instruments (both with pitched and un-pitched categories).
Chinese traditional percussion instruments comprise the metal type (large
gongs, small gongs, cloud gongs, cymbals, bells and chimes etc.), the
wood type (clappers, bamboo clappers, bangzi and temple block etc.) and
the skin type (dagu, paigu, hand drums etc.). The other set comprises
Western percussion instruments such as timpani, xylophone, chimes, glockenspiel,
vibraphone, bass drum, snare drum and cymbals, etc.. The following is
a list of some