Dizi was called the Horizontal Winds in ancient times. Later on, it was also called the Horizontal Flute. It was told that ZHANG Qian of the Han Emperor Wu (140 to 87 B.C.) firstly brought back the method of performing the Dizi from the Western Regions out of China to the capital Chang'an. It was clearly showed that from the rubbings of the ancient tombs and murals of Dunhuang of Han dynasty, Dizi was used as musical instrument at least 2,000 years in China. Since that on, Chinese people had made long-term practices on performing which developed most of the performing techniques of Dizi. These were reflected in full details on the Book Of Music by CHEN Yang of the Song dynasty, the Meaning Of Lulu (pitch) by ZHU Zai-yu of the Ming dynasty and the book Trend Of Music of the North Korea.
At present, there are different kinds of Dizi be used in the Chinese music. The most popular ones are the qudi used in the operatic music of the southern areas, such as Kunqu and the bangdi used in the operatic music of the northern areas, such as Bangzi. There are still other kinds of Dizi be used in local music. After the establishment of New China, musicians have made improvements on the traditional Dizi and invent some kinds of new ones. Although there are many types, the most popular ones are the Qudi and Bangdi.
Dizi is made with bamboo and has a range of more than two octaves. Along the bamboo, there are one hole for blowing, one hole for the membrane and six holes for the scale. Bangdi is much smaller and the pitch is higher than that of the qudi. These two kinds of Dizi are the main instruments of the ensemble. Besides of opera accompaniment, they are also used as solo instruments and accompaniment for folk songs and dances.
Nowadays, there are new reformations on Dizi. In preservation of the traditional six scale holes, there is a mechanic-operated system to be applied for the newly added semitone holes. A complete set of twelve different pitch Dizi is manufactured for the use in modern compositions, etc.