The yunluo (simplified: 云锣; traditional: 雲鑼 pinyin: yúnluó, [y̌nlu̯ɔ̌]; literally "cloud gongs" or "cloud of gongs"), is a traditional Chinese musical instrument. It is made up of a set of gongs of varying sizes held within a frame. It was also called yún'áo (雲璈) in ancient times.
The yunluo is a set of usually ten small tuned gongs mounted in a wooden frame, with each gong being about 9-12 cm in diameter, and the height of the frame being about 52 cm. The yunluo's gongs are generally of equal diameter but different thicknesses; the thicker gongs produce a higher pitch. It is often used in wind and percussion ensembles in northern China. Old drawings also depict a smaller yunluo with just five gongs, which was held by a handle by one hand and played with the other.
A modernised yunluo has been developed from the traditional yunluo for use in the large modern Chinese orchestra. It is much larger with 29 or more gongs of different diameters. Its height may be over 2m including its two legs on which it stands on the floor (the frame itself is about half its height); its width is about 1.4 m or wider.
In other countries
A very similar instrument called the ulla (hangul: 운라; hanja: 雲鑼 or 雲羅), which is derived from the yunluo, is used in the music of Korea.
- Video of an 18-gong yunluo, from The Musical Instruments E-book
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