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These traditional instruments are similar to ones played in the ancient city of Xi'an. Xi'an was China's capital and one of the world's largest cities during the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-906). Musicians from all along the Silk Road gathered there. Over time, the music of Xi'an blended the rhythms and melodies from east and west.

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Subhead Pipa These stringed instruments are called "lutes." In ancient China, similar lutes were played in the Emperor's court along with singing and dancing. Their strings were once made with twisted silk. To play a lute, the strings are plucked like a guitar.
Subhead Erhu The erhu was first introduced to China over 1000 years ago. This fiddle has two strings of twisted silk, a long neck, and small body covered with snakeskin. To play the erhu, a bow of horsehair and bamboo is moved across the strings.
Subhead Sheng A sheng is a wind instrument made of a circle of bamboo pipes. Players blow in or out of the mouthpiece and cover a hole in each pipe to play different notes. Chinese musicians played similar instruments at least 3,000 years ago. The pipes represent the folded wings of the phoenix, a mythical bird.
Subhead Drums Drums and symbols played an important role in ancient Chinese orchestras. Just like today, these percussion instruments provided the beat or rhythm to helped the orchestra keep the beat.