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Are there some good links out there in english for info on all of this?



Wikipedia has a series of pretty good articles on Chinese winds. Here are some links:

Xiao
Dizi
Bawu
Hulusi
Xun
Suona
Sheng

The dizi, I think, should particularly interest you as a player of Western concert flute, since it's the closest one - technique-wise. It's basically a transverse flute made of bamboo (although, as I said earlier, some can be made of metal or other materials), but its particularity is the extra hole near the one you use to produce the sound. That hole is meant to be covered by a membrane made of a very thin layer of garlic peel, glued there using the juice of the said garlic (makes the flute stink for a few weeks, yes ). When dry, that membrane will vibrate like that of a tiny drum when you play the flute, thus giving a very distinctive sound I find hard to describe (I guess it's not gonna help if I say it makes it sound a bit like the suona? ). I would record myself and send you the file, but to be honest that membrane makes the management of your breathing techniques a lot harder, and since I'm far from having the required skill level for that, I still play the dizi with a simple piece of Scotch-tape instead of the garlic membrane , which is just like not having the hole at all and makes for a much plainer sound (still beautiful in my opinion, but not what it's meant to be).

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What would be cool would be to find a duet piece and I could play and record with my flute, you could do the same for the xiao then we could combine tracks into a single piece. Might be an interesting project, time permitting.



Definitely interested.
That would have to wait a bit because I'm overwhelmed by the flow of my current obligations, but I like the idea. A little problem though: if a traditional piece for a duet of flutes exists, the one thing I'm sure of is that I won't be able to read it. My western music theory is rusty enough, but reading Chinese sheet music is something I'm absolutely incapable of . I'm not sure if western-style translitterations exist for traditional Asian musics...? I'll do a bit of research when I have the time.
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