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One of the most important musical instruments in use among the Chinese, one that is indispensable to their temple ritual, is the Sheng. This instrument is the representative of the gourd principle; originally the bowl was formed from a portion of a gourd or a calabash, the top being covered by a circular piece of wood with holes around the margin in which the pipes, seventeen in number, are fixed. In the side of the gourd is placed a mouthpiece or tube covered with ivory, through which the player draws his breath. Each pipe is fitted with a small free reed of copper. A small hole is made in each pipe just above the bowl, which prevents a pipe from speaking when the air is drawn in by the player, unless the hole is closed by a finger. --Baltzell, 1905


W. J. Baltzell, A Complete History of Music for Schools, Clubs, and Private Reading (Philadelphia: Theodore Presser Co., 1905) 27


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