Invented by Zeng Dequan, for which he was awarded Chinese patent 203982772 in 2014, the quanyinguan combines features drawn from three traditional Chinese wind instruments - the bawu, hulusi and dizi.
The main part of the instrument is a bawu, with the traditional range of notes. This one is in the key of C major/A minor, so it has a basic scale of G, A, B, C, D, E, G and A, with low E being available as an underblown note. The mouthpiece is connected to the body via a rigid tube with a 90 degree angle, allowing the instrument to be played in the upright position. Attached to this tube, in between the mouthpiece and the main part of the instrument, is a pair of miniature hulusi, each with a single pipe. These can be switched on or off and provide drones of A and E, as you would find on a typical hulusi in the key of C/Am.
The dizi is a Chinese flute which has a very distinctive feature that sets it aside from other flutes. Much like the Vietnamese pilaoluong, the dizi has a small membrane called dimo (笛膜) fixed over a hole in the instrument's body, which adds a buzzing quality to the sound. The quanyinguan has a dimo added to a movable piece that fits around the main body of the instrument, allowing the effect to be turned on or off as the player chooses:
Here is an audio clip of a phrase first played without the dimo, then with the dimo engaged:
A Brief History of Mouth Blown Free Reed Instruments
What Is A Free Reed?
Origins Of The Free Reed
Eastern Free Reed Instruments
A Selective Discography Of Asian FreeReed Instruments
Western Free Reed Instruments
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