30. The best Chinese traditional instrumental music albums (中国传统器乐音乐)

Much like real Chinese food, your mind will be blown.

The best approach is to start with the largest multi-artist anthologies available to get a general overview of what is there.

Then, you can start Googling by instrument. The main four instruments are undoubtedly:

but there is also amazing content on others including:

and there is of course the infinite Wikipedia instrument list: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Chinese_musical_instruments

Quality indicators:

  • bad:

    • Western instruments or modern digital effects

    • on YouTube: "relax" videos with boring generic music.

      They usually have some cute landscape scenes or overly produced good looking women as the thumbnail.

      Good video covers will show the musicians with their instruments, or Chinese traditional painting.

  • good: single instrument solo. There are some good multi-instrument and songs as well though, but harder to find.

Due to the language and political barrier, Chinese traditional music distribution is unfortunately atrocious, so learn what an ISRC is and don’t use BitTorrent which the Chinese call "BT".

If you find album cover pictures on Google images, the ISRC should be somewhere on the back.

Other good lists: