A relatively unknown instrument, the guanzi is an expressive wind instrument due to its capability of changing tone colour over a wide range. Seldom used in Chinese orchestral music till recently, this reed instrument’s husky yet refined sounds are a paradox to the ears.

In ancient times, the guanzi was known as bili, and was already used in court ensembles during the Sui Dynasty (581 – 619 AD).

There are different shapes and sizes of guanzi to accommodate the different keys that are used in a Chinese orchestra.