The chinese gong is an instrument of percussion in Chinese culture. Essentially, the gongs are made of bronze and are fashioned to look like plates. Chinese gongs have been used since the 6th century (the Northern Wei period). The earlier mentioned gongs are more complicated than other percussion instruments from Chinese culture. The earlier mentioned fact is true because the gongs are made in distinct shapes, names, as well as makes. Thus far, it is still impossible to stipulate all the different kinds of Chinese gongs that are utilized in China.
The different types of Chinese gongs
Of all the Chinese gongs, the daluo and jingdaluo gongs are the two most renowned gong families. The jingdaluo gongs are approximately 30 centimeters in diameter and have a playable surface area of roughly 5 centimeters. The small surface of the jingdaluo gongs allows them to have a larger pitch. Contrastingly, the daluo gongs are estimated to be 35 centimeters in diameter along with 10-12 centimeters of playable surface area. These gongs generate a darker tone.
The Chinese gongs that are incorporated into the Chinese orchestra comprise pitched gongs, ten-faced gongs, small gongs, and big gongs. The big gong lacks a definite pitch; however, it is capable of generating various pitches together with different overtones. The previously mentioned properties are reliant on the strength and location of the strike. Nevertheless, a gong is not primarily selected for its pitch but rather for its quality of sound.
The small gong is relatively smaller in size when compared to the big gong. The small gong is circular in nature in its middle. The instrument has a diameter of 15 centimeters and is played using a plank-like wooden stick. This gong is mostly used to input humor in the music if need be and can even be utilized in operas for characterization. In platforms such as the orchestra, the big and small gongs are used together.
The ten-faced gong constitutes a group of gongs that are set up on a stand. Primarily, a standing musician plays the gong using mallets. Every single gong possesses a diverse timbre, volume, and pitch, thus making it challenging for composers when accounting for it. The yunluo or pitched gongs are similar to the ten-faced gong in the sense that it constitutes several small gongs, which are played with mallets while fastened on a stand. These two gongs are often mistaken for each other in some regions leading to their names being frequently interchanged.
However, the pitched gongs are smaller with firmer and livelier tonal coloring. Due to the deficiency in standardization, there are more diverse gongs available such as the yunluo. Pitched gongs can be played in a fast manner, as the hard tips of the mallets give off more robust, clear tones, while the mallets, which are made of yarn, create resonant sounds.
The Chinese gong is the most renowned rich-toned instrument ever known to man. The vibration of the gong results in the production of sensational musical reverberations in the human body. The holistic nature of the Chinese gong causes the thickening of the air within the vicinity. The outcome is an engulfing sound field, which is full of resonance.