|About Guo Yu-shao, the Renovator of Flute Making|
|Guo Yu-shao was born in a poor family, after
a few years' study in a primary school, he became a flute making apprentice
at the age of 12. His master was Z.L.Gao from Shandong. Guo was bewitched
by the wonder of turning a piece of bamboo to life through the process of
sawing, drilling, burnishing, carving and tuning. Being trustworthy and
hardworking, he mastered all the techniques of xiao and dizi making from
his tutor. Later he worked in Guangzhou's largest instrument factory, from
a regular worker to a leading director.
|Y.S.Guo making flutes, photo taken 30 years ago|
|In 1966,Y.S. Guo worked with several flute makers to make the largest dizi flute in history-1.8 meter in length bass dizi. This flute surprised the audience when it was performed in a concert. Now this flute is still hanging on the wall of Guo's workshop.|
|Y.S.Guo playing the largest bass dizi flute. They made two, the other one is hanging on the wall.|
|"Now over 95% Guangzhou's exquisite
xiao and dizi are made by us." Guo reflected.
He has been making flutes for over 50 years, and no matter how bad his situation was, he never gave up flute-making.Guo commented that the thickness, boldness and texture of each piece of bamboo are not the same. It is only when a piece of bamboo is tailor-made according to its own quality and the performance focus that the flute will be brought to life and show its characters. "The design of Chinese flutes is very humanistic. Different performers will consolidate this feature." He said.
|Y.S.Guo exchanging experiences with a US flutist who visited their workshop years ago|
|About Guo Da-qiang, the "King of Nan Xiao"|
|Guo passed these techniques to his son, Guo Da-qiang. At the age of five he followed his father and played around in the flute factory. Now D.Q. Guo has over 30 years flute making experience. In 1997 when his father retired they opened a flute workshop- Yue Sheng Instruments Workshop. The father selects the materials and Da-qiang tunes the flutes. In the past his father used a few simple tools like a saw, a knife, a drill and a piece of sand paper and turned dry bamboo pieces to spirit. Now machines took the place of simple tools, but the step of tuning is still a painstaking manual step despite the help of tuning machines.|
|The Guo father and son playing dizi together in their flute gallery in 2004|
|D.Q. Guo is an expert in tuning because he has good ears. All dizi and xiao have to be tuned in concert pitch (A=440). It takes around a week to entirely finish tuning a flute. D.Q. Guo exceptionally loves xiao flutes. All the xiao he makes have unique characters. Under his marvellous craftsmanship, different flutists will bring out different temperaments of the flutes. So D.Q. Guo was crowned "King of Nan Xiao" by a famous flutist Zhang Wei-liang.|
|Guo's flute-making story highlighted by Guangzhou Daily, 1993. Photo-from left to right: Y.S. Guo, Huang Jin-chang (Professor of Xin Hai Conservatory), D.Q.Guo|
Guo's flute-making story reported as vanishing career by Guangzhou Daily, 2004