When you close the three holes next to the blowing hole, you get the key of the Dizi, which is D in my case as well as in this video, and if I close all the holes, apparently I get an A. In this case, D is "1" in numbered notation and A is 5 with a dot under it, the lowest note in my Dizi:

Notes: enter image description here

Number notation in other keys: Dizi

But the song in the video is in G, and I can't even know what's going on anymore. The music starts with that "5 with a dot under it" but he's playing what is "1" in our Dizi in D (closing the three holes next to the blowing hole).

I didn't study music theory in depth yet. There are many things I don't understand yet. Is that the problem? Is it a transposing instrument or the song is transposed? I'm sorry if my question sounds silly, but my previous plastic flute was in C and now all of a sudden the songs are confusing.

Keep in my that if I follow the standard music notation as it also shows in the video, it works fine and natural. But Chinese music is almost always written in numbered notation. I have to understand what's going on.

2 Answers 2


The video is notated according to the lower line in your fingering chart "Key of G cipher notation". The numbering is relative to the key of the piece, not the key of the instrument: the piece is in G and the first note (D) is the fifth of that key so it's numbered 5. You could just as easily play it on a low G dizi reading the same numbered notation.

  • So the cipher notation is the equivalent of moveable "do"? Thus on the instrument played, I need to know the fingering for "re" rather than the fingering for the absolute pitch?
    – Aaron
    Jan 30, 2021 at 21:50
  • I've uploaded the image from my post. So, does it mean that I have to learn more than one "key" of the numbered notation? In the image, there are 5 keys! I thought I should use only the first one, that is "1 = D", equal to my Dizi. So if my score shows "1 = G", do I have to switch to the second line and learn all those different numbers?
    – user60723
    Jan 30, 2021 at 21:56
  • 1
    @Aaron Exactly, the Chinese notation is moveable do.
    – PiedPiper
    Jan 30, 2021 at 22:58
  • 1
    @BIG-95 Yes, the key of the piece is G and you are playing it on a D dizi, so 1=G (second line). You don't need a G dizi. Mostly you only need to use the first line.
    – PiedPiper
    Jan 30, 2021 at 23:02

I don't know the instrument, but I'll try to answer based on what you provided.

To me it seems that you are used to number notation in D, while the music written in other keys uses different numbering. In particular the note g apparently doesn't even have a number fingering in key of D, while in key of G it is written 1.

If you were able to read the melody properly, e.g. from the score, so that every melody note agrees with the video, you are fine. If there are however some differences (e.g. that g/g# note), probably you need to learn the number notation in G. Or get more fluent in reading western music notation – but that might be less feasible if most of the music you play is written using numbers.

  • 1
    The whole point of the Chinese numbered notation is that a piece can be played in any key. The player has to choose an appropriate instrument. That's the standard way of writing Chinese music, so OP has to get used to it.
    – PiedPiper
    Jan 30, 2021 at 21:12

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