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CHINESE MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS. 149
but were of somewhat greater weight. The smallest bells were used in an instrument called Pien-tchoung, which consisted of sixteen of them, tuned in unison with the sixteen stones of the king. "We have already spoken of the efforts made to suppress the bells, and through them, the authentic pitch of Chinese music, by one of the conquering emperors.
OF THE SOUND OF BAKED CLAY.
Of this the Chinese made a deep-toned whistle, with five to seven apertures called Hiuen. This was probably the primitive instrument in China, as it is mentioned as already existing before the reign of Hoang-ty, about 2637 b. c. An ancient Chinese Dictionary speaks of the two varieties of these, saying, " the larger hiuen should be of the size of a goose egg, the smaller, of that of a hen."
OF THE SOUND OF SILK.
Under this head come all Chinese stringed instruments, for where we use catgut, the celes­tials use silken cords. Even in the semi-mythical age of Fo-hi, they made a simple instrument by extending threads of silk upon a board of light wood. Little by little the board was shaped to its purpose better; gradually also, the strings were laid with more precision and exactness, and the cords gave out tones deep or high, according to the tension to which they were subjected, or the number of threads of which they were composed; thus by insensible degrees came into existence






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