Fundamentals of the bangdi

The bangdi is the dominant form of dizi from Northern China. Its general technical characteristics include:

  1. Tongue articulations of sort are largely to be expected;
  2. Pieces are almost always played very brusquely;
  3. Finger based ornamentation of all sorts are present, from various trills, duoyin, and glissandi huayin;
  4. Grace notes tend to be acciaccatura in nature.

Stylistically, the bangdi as a Northern China instrument is well-known for its virtuosic display of techniques. Mimicry of natural sounds like bird calls, bird song, and horse neighs often come to mind. To many people, the unqualified term of dizi usually evokes the bangdi.

Staccato playing is the bangdi's specialty, often with standard double tonguing and the T TK type of triple tonguing which can be likened to the rhythm of a galloping horse. Melodies played in legato have a bright feel to them, especially when compared to the qudi.

The bangdi is a loud instrument whose presence cannot be denied. As such, it must be played sufficiently carefully to ensure that intonation is on point, particularly when the notes played start reaching beyond F6.

On the same note, the embouchure requirements for the bangdi are very stringent---the orbicularis oris muscles that make the lips need to be strong enough to hold the tighter aperture needed. While most may believe that the bangdi is a good beginner's instrument due to its size (it is small), it can be argued that it requires more technical control than the other dizi.