The sheng, a multi-reed mouth organ, is one of the oldest Chinese reed wind instruments. Numerous historical records have mentioned the sheng as an important instrument in ancient music, popular in the imperial palace and in court processions.
The sheng uses the vibration of free beating metallic reeds attached to bamboo pipes to create sound. The rich and dynamic sound qualities of sheng make it a popular instrument in the Chinese orchestra as it is capable of playing harmonies.
The traditional sheng has now been adapted to include three extended and larger instruments in the Chinese orchestra. They are high-pitched sheng known as gaoyin sheng, mid-pitched sheng known as zhongyin sheng and low-pitched sheng known as diyin sheng.