Chinese Music in Singapore

Chinese music is an important part for music in Singapore, especially the traditional Chinese music that is still practised today in Sinapore.

Traditional Chinese Music

The scale used for traditional Chinese music is pentatonic (five-pitch). The music is usually played in solo instruments or small ensemble of instruments. The musical instruments used consist of bowed strings, woodwinds, percussion and plucked strings. In Singapore, the most common musical instruments are dizi, erhu and guzheng


The dizi is a Chinese transverse flute. It is a major musical instruments for Chinese traditional music, especially in Singapore. The instrument is made of bamboo. Dizi is unique, as unlike other simple flutes that only has blowing holes, the dizi has an additional hole called the mo kong, located between the embrochure and finger holes. This hole is covered with a thin membrane made of inner bamboo cells. This membrane gives the dizi special resonating effect that made the sound produced brighter and louder.


The erhu is a bowed string instrument, which is known in the West as "Chinese Violin". Erhu consist of stick like neck, with two large tuning pegs at the top, and a sound box (resonating body) covered with phyton skin on the playing end. Two strings, which are very close to each other, are attached from the pegs to the base. The sound produced is distinctive due to the vibrating phyton skin.


The guzheng is a Chinese plucked zither (a musical intrument with numerous strings stretched across a flat box, played with fingers and a plectrum). The guzheng consist of 21 strings which are nowadays made of metals (e.g copper) or nylon and a movable bridge.

Singapore Chinese Orchestra

The Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO) is the only professional Chinese ochestra in Singapore. It was founded on 1996 under the initiative of the then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. Today, the patron of the orchestra is Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Its aim is to promote Chinse traditional and orchestral music to an ever-broadening audience. SCO has reached out through its Community Series concerts at the heartlands, Arts Education Programmes at schools and Outdoor Concerts at National Parks.

Since 2001, the orchestra is located at the Singapore Conference Hall

Singapore Youth Chinese Orchestra

Singapore Youth Chinese Orchesta (SYCO) is the youth wing of Singapore Chinese Orchesta. It is set up in 2003. The SYCO consist of highly talented young musicians aged 13 to 25, training and grooming them to be the future main musicians in SCO.

Through SYCO, young musicians have a chance to work together with senior musician in SCO, thus giving them experience in high quality professional music education and training in tradtional Chinese music.