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date: 13 November 2019


  • Alan R. Thrasher


Frame drum of the Han Chinese in the Jiangnan region of central-eastern China. The diangu (‘point drum’), also known as huaigu (‘bosom drum’) and biqigu (‘water chestnut drum’), outwardly resembles the northern shugu, but is about one-third smaller. It has a thick wooden frame (diameter of about 18 cm), with a narrow rounded rim and broad shoulders on both sides that slope inward from the rim toward raised flat striking areas in the middle of the drum (about 6 cm thick at the centre). The striking area, known as the ‘drum heart’ (guxin), is a small circular opening in the otherwise solid frame (about 5 or 6 cm in diameter); the hole passes vertically through the frame as a cylindrical soundbox. The head is stretched across these surfaces, and tacked at the edges around the perimeter. The diangu has been used in accompaniment of Kunqu classical opera and other traditions of central-eastern China from about the 16th century onward. In traditional performance, the drum rests vertically on the right knee, supported by the right wrist, and is struck with a single thin stick held in the same hand. In accompaniment of Jiangnan ...

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