Category Archives: Aerophones



Name: Dulzaina.
Type: Double Reed > Shawms > Aerophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.112
Country: Spain.
Region: Iberian Peninsula & Western Europe.

Description: The dulzaina [in Spanish: in IPA: dulˈθajna or dolçaina or in Catalan pronunciation: dolˈsajna / dulˈsajnə] is a Spanish double reed instrument in the oboe family. It has a conical shape and is the equivalent of the Breton bombarde. Often replaced by an oboe or double reeded clarinet, as seen in Armenian and Ukrainian folk music.


Varieties: Many varieties of the dulzaina exist in Spain. In the Valencian Community it is known as a dolçaina or xirimita and is accompanied by a drum called the tabalet. The Catalan variety of the dulzaina is called a gralla, and the Basque variety is called a bolin-gozo. The term dolçaina was introduced into Catalan in the 14th century from France [the ancient word was “douçaine”].

Citations: Xavier Richart [Dolcaina article] ;


Name: Flabiol.
Type: Fipple / Duct Flute > Aerophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.211.12
Country: Catalan, Spain.
Region: Iberian Peninsula & Western Europe.

Description: The flabiol [in Catalan] pronunciation: [fləβiˈɔl] is a Catalan woodwind musical instrument of the family known as fipple flutes. It is one of the 12 instruments of the cobla. The flabiol measures about 25 centimetres in length and has five or six holes on its front face and three underneath.

Varieties: The two main types are the dry flabiol without keys, usually made of a hardwood such as bubinga, and the keyed flabiol, used in coblas for sardana dances and in other folk music ensembles.

The flabiol is normally played by the left hand while the player uses the right hand to beat a small drum [called tamborí] attached to the left elbow. All sardanes played by a cobla begin with a short introduction [introit] from the flabiol which is terminated by a single tap of the tamborí.

Its traditional geographic zone extends from the south of Catalonia to the Roussillon area of France, and from the Eastern strip of Aragon to the Balearic islands, where it is used as solo instrument with its own melodies.

Apart from being in the cobla for the performance of sardanes, the flabiol is also found in the reduced version of the cobla known as cobla of three quarters formed of one tarota or tible, a flabiol and a sac de gemecs [bagpipes].

Citations: Jeremy Montagu, Was the Tabor Pipe Always as We Know It?, in Early Music, Vol 9, No. 1. p 141 ; Simon Broughton, Mark Ellingham, Richard Trillo, World Music: The Rough Guide, Vol 1, p 108 ; Walter Aaron Clark, Isaac Albéniz: Portrait of a Romantic, Oxford University Press, 2002 p 197 ;

Sac De Gemecs

Name: Sac De Gemecs.
Type: Reeds > Bagpipes > Aerophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.112
Country: Catalan, Spain , Andorra & France.
Region: Iberian Peninsula & Western Europe.

Description: The sac de gemecs [in Catalan: pronunciation in IPA: ˈsaɡ də ʒəˈmeks] literally “bag of moans”, also known as buna [ˈbuna] in Andorra or coixinera [kuʃiˈneɾə], gaita [ˈɡajtə] or botella [buˈteʎə] is a type of bagpipe found in Catalonia. This bagpipe is also found in the neighbouring boarder region in France

Construction: The instrument consists of a chanter, a mouth blown blowpipe, and three drones. The lowest drone [bordó llarg] plays a note two octaves below the tonic of the chanter. The middle drone [bordó mitjà] plays a fifth above the bass. The high drone [bordó petit] plays an octave below the chanter, thus one octave above the bass drone.

Citations: Àlvar Valls Oliva – Roser Carol Romàn; Àlvar Valls i Oliva; Roser Carol i Romàn (15 November 2010 ; Llegendes d’Andorra. L’Abadia de Montserrat. pp. 95–. ISBN 978-84-9883-340-9.


Name: Veenu.
Type: Transverse > Flute > Aerophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.121.12
Country: India.
Region: South Asia.

Description: The veenu [in Sanskrit: वेणु; veṇu] in the Dravidian languages this flute is known by many names including [in Tamil புல்லாங்குழல் ; pullankuzhal], [in Malayam: പുല്ലാങ്കുഴല് ; pullāṅkuḻal], [in Kannada: ಕೊಳಲು ; Kolalu], [in Telugu: పిల్లన గ్రోవి pillana grōvi or వేణువు Vēṇuvu].

The veenu is one of the ancient transverse flutes of Indian classical music. It is an aerophone typically made from bamboo, that is a side blown wind instrument. It continues to be in use in the South Indian Carnatic music tradition.

History: The venu is discussed as an important musical instrument in the Natya Shastra, the classic Hindu text on music and performance arts. The ancient Sanskrit texts of India describe other side blown flutes such as the murali and vamsika, but sometimes these terms are used interchangeably. The venu is mentioned in the iconography of Hindu god Krishna.

Playing Techniques: Circular breathing is used when playing the venu as with numerous other Indian flute or single reed instruments.

Citations: Lochtefeld 2002, p. 747. Bruno Nettl; Thomas Turino; Isabel Wong; et al. 2015. Excursions in World Music. Taylor & Francis. p. 691. ISBN 978-1-317-35029-3. Dalal 2014, p. 163. Rowell 2015, pp. 99–103. The Bhaktirasāmṛtasindhu of Rūpa Gosvāmin. Motilal Banarsidass. 2003. p. 217. ISBN 978-81-208-1861-3. Tarla Mehta (1995). Sanskrit Play Production in Ancient India. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 149–150. ISBN 978-81-208-1057-0. Beck, Guy 1993. Sonic Theology: Hinduism and Sacred Sound. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0-87249-855-6. Caudhurī, Vimalakānta Rôya 2000. The Dictionary of Hindustani Classical Music. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-1708-1. Dalal, Roshen 2014. Northern Indian Music, Volume 1. Theory & technique; Volume 2. The main rāgǎs. London: C. Johnson. OCLC 851080. Gautam, M.R. 1993 – Evolution of Raga and Tala in Indian Music. Munshiram Manoharlal. ISBN 81-215-0442-2. Kaufmann, Walter 1968. The Ragas of North India. Oxford & Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-34780-0. OCLC 11369. Lochtefeld, James G. 2002. ISBN 978-0-8239-2287-1. Martinez, José Luiz 2001. Semiosis in Hindustani Music. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-1801-9. Nettl, Bruno; Ruth M. Stone; James Porter; Timothy Rice 1998, The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music: South Asia : the Indian subcontinent, Routledge, ISBN 978-0-8240-4946-1 Randel, Rowell, Lewis 2015. Music and Musical Thought in Early India. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-73034-9. Sorrell, Neil; Narayan, Ram 1980. Indian Music in Performance: A Practical Introduction. Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0-7190-0756-9. Te Nijenhuis, Emmie 1974. Indian Music: History and Structure. BRILL Academic. ISBN 90-04-03978-3. Wilke, Annette; Moebus, Oliver 2011. Sound and Communication: An Aesthetic Cultural History of Sanskrit Hinduism. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-024003-0.


Name: Gudastviri.
Type: Bagpipes > Aerophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.112
Country: Georgia.
Region: Caucasus.

Description: The gudastviri [in Georgian: გუდასტვირი gudastviri] is a drone-less, hornbill bagpipe having double or parallel chanters that is played in Georgia. The term comes from the words guda [bag] and stviri [whistling]. In some regions, the instrument is called the chiboni, stviri, or tulumi.

There are several forms of bagpipe as played in many regions through out Georgia, they include the Kartli, Pshavi and Racha [stviri], in Eastern Kakheti, in Adjara [chiboni], Meskheti [tulumi], Imereti [gudastviri].

Tuning: The Adjaran chiboni has a diatonic scale. It can produce two-part chords and two-part tunes. The two parts are produced by the simultaneous sound of both dedanis. The player’s left hand plays the highest notes of the scale on the left chanter tube, while the fingers of the player’s right hand covers and uncovers the lower notes of the scale, which is made possible by the limited number of finger holes [only 3 or 4 holes] disposed lower down, toward the distal end of the right chanter tube.

The range of degree of a chiboni is major sixth but the Rachian gudastviri’s diapason can be a minor, or a major seventh. The ends of the pipes are fixed inside the resonator/horn. The horn is made of Caucasian goat or bull horn. The gudastviri is decorated with silver bands, mounted with coloured glass beads, and numerous small chains.

There is a ball of cotton wool inserted into the open end of the horn, to absorb the moisture formed during playing. The bag (guda) can have a bag cover of cloth or leather, or have the natural goat hair left on the outside of the bag. The six holes of the left reed pipe emit notes of the first octave: F / E / D / C / B / A / G – the three holes of the right one emit deep-voiced notes: C / B / A / G.

Construction: The gudastviri has two main components. The first component is the bag being the [guda]. It is made from a whole sheep or goat skin or a sewed rectangular leather bag [guda]. The first being a whole sheep or goat skin, or a sewed, rectangular leather bag [guda].

The second is a yoked double-chanter [stviri] terminating in a single horn bell. This approach in design makes the gudastviri a member of the hornpipe class of bagpipes. There is a small wooden blow-pipe [khreko] with a check-valve tied into one leg, or corner of the bag. A fixed round wooden stock holding the chanter, is tied into the bag, in the opposite foreleg, or corner.

The chanter itself has two wooden pipes [dedani] of equal length, bore and wall thickness, which are inserted into the stock. The left chanter tube “leader” has the most finger holes, it is also called “teller” or “beginner”. The right chanter tube “bass” is called mebane or “deep voice producer”.

This bass pipe has three front-facing holes and the “beginner”, has six holes [but the Adjaran chiboni’s leader pipe has only five holes]. The three bottom holes of the left pipe are placed symmetrically across from the three holes of the right pipe.

Citations:The Gajdy Weblog of Ernesto Fisher [in Georgian] ხალხური ჰანგები, Khalkhuri Hangebi, “National Tunes”: a history of Georgian folk instruments ;


Name: Dentsivka.
Type: Fipple / Duct Flutes > Aerophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.221.12
Country: Ukraine.
Region: Eastern Europe.

Description: The dentsivka [in Ukrainian: Денцівка dentsivka] pronounced as “Denchivka”. It is thus classified as a duct flute. The dentsivka is often commonly called a sopilka, however, the dentsivka has a fipple, like the western European recorder.

Some dentsivkas [from Western Ukraine] have only five tone holes. In recent times chromatic ten-hole fingering was developed for this instrument that has carried on to most of the other instruments in the sopilka family.

The dentsivka is made in a number of sizes from piccolo tuned in F, prima in C alto in G tenor in F to the bass in C. Concert versions of the prima are available, the best being sold in Ukrainian music stores under the name “mala fleeter”.

Construction: Usually it is made from a tube of wood approximately 30 to 40 cm [12 to 16 in] length. Tone holes are cut or burnt into the tube and a fipple made at one end. If the fipple is in the top of the instrument on the same plane as the playing holes, instead of the underside, the instrument is a kosa dudka [in Ukrainian: Коса дудка], though they may fail to be distinguished.

The internal diameter is usually 12 to 14 mm [0.4 to 0.5 in] with the walls of the tube being 2 to 3 mm [0.08 to 0.12 in] thick. In the traditional instruments the tuning varied with the length of the tube, but was usually diatonic, with a range of two and a half octaves.

Citations:Humeniuk, A. – Ukrainski narodni muzychni instrumenty – Kiev: Naukova dumka, 1967. Mizynec, V. – Ukrainian Folk Instruments – Melbourne: Bayda books, 1984. Cherkasky, L. – Ukrainski narodni muzychni instrumenty // Tekhnika, Kiev, Ukraine 2003 – 262 pages. ISBN 966-575-111-5.


Name: Recorder.
Type: Fipple / Duct Flute > Aerophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.221.12
Country: Many.
Region: Continental Europe, Global.

Description: The recorder [in German: Blockflöte ; Italian: Flauto dolce or Flauto diritto ; in French: Flûte à bec or Flûte douce; Spanish: Flauta dulce or Flauta de pico] is a woodwind musical instrument in the group known as internal duct flutes. Internal duct flutes are flutes with a whistle-like mouthpiece in who the air when played is split by a labium. A recorder can be distinguished from other duct flutes by the presence of a thumb-hole for the upper hand and seven finger-holes: three for the upper hand and four for the lower. It is the most prominent duct flute in western classical music.

History: The recorder is first documented in Europe during the Middle Ages, and continued to enjoy wide popularity in the renaissance and baroque periods. The recorder was little used during the classical and later romantic periods. It was revived in the 20th century as part of the historically informed performance movement, and became a popular amateur and educational instrument.

Composers who have written for the recorder include Monteverdi, Lully, Purcell, Handel, Vivaldi, Telemann, Johann Sebastian Bach, Paul Hindemith, Benjamin Britten, Leonard Bernstein, Luciano Berio and Arvo Pärt. Today, there are many professional recorder players who demonstrate the instrument’s full solo range and a large community of amateurs.

Features: Recorders are made in various different sizes. They are classified according to the differing vocal ranges, soprano, alto, bass and tenor. The soprano [C5 the lowest note aka “decant”], alto [aka “Treble” note F4], tenor [lowest note C4] and bass [C5 the lowest note] in the recorder family.

Historic Recorders: Recorder consorts in the 16th century were tuned in fifths and only occasionally employed tuning by octaves as seen in the modern C, F recorder consort. This means that consorts could be composed of instruments nominally in B♭ / F / C / G / D / A and even E, although typically only three or four distinct sizes were used simultaneously. To use modern terminology, these recorders were treated as transposing instruments: consorts would be read identically to a consort made up of F3, C4 and G4 instruments.

This is made possible by the fact that adjacent sizes are separated by fifths, with few exceptions. These parts would be written using chiavi naturali, allowing the parts to roughly fit in the range of a single staff, and also in the range of the recorders of the period.

Transpositions [“registers”] such as C3 / G3 / D4, G3 / D4 / A4 or B♭2 / F3 / C4 all read as F3–C4–G4 instruments. This was possible as described by Praetorius in his Syntagma Musicum. Three sizes of instruments could be used to play four-part music by doubling the middle size, e.g. F3 / C4 / C4 / G4 or play six-part music by doubling the upper size and tripling the middle size, e.g. F3 / C4 / C4 / C4 / G4 / G4 Modern nomenclature for such recorders refers to the instruments relationship to the other members of consort, rather than their absolute pitch, which may vary. The instruments from lowest to highest are called “great bass”, “bass”, “basset”, “tenor”, “alto”, and “soprano”. Potential sizes include: great bass in F2; bass in B♭2 or C3; basset in F3 or G3; tenor in C4 or D4; alto in F4, G4 or A4; and soprano in C5 or D5.

The alto in F4 is the standard recorder of the Baroque, although there is a small repertoire written for other sizes. In 17th-century England, smaller recorders were named for their relationship to the alto and notated as transposing instruments with respect to it: third flute [A4], fifth flute [soprano; C5], sixth flute [D5] and octave flute [sopranino; F5]. The term flute du quart, or fourth flute [B♭4] was used by Charles Dieupart, although curiously he treated it as a transposing instrument in relation to the soprano rather than the alto. In Germanic countries, the equivalent of the same term, Quartflöte, was applied both to the tenor in C4, the interval being measured down from the alto in F4 and to a recorder in C5 [soprano], the interval of a fourth apparently being measured up from an alto in G4. Recorder parts in the Baroque were typically notated using the treble clef, although they may also be notated in French violin clef [G clef on the bottom line of the staff].

Construction: Recorders are traditionally constructed from wood and ivory, while most recorders made in recent years are constructed from molded plastic. The recorders’ internal and external proportions vary, but the bore is generally reverse conical i.e. tapering towards the foot to cylindrical, and all recorder fingering systems make extensive use of forked fingerings.

Citations: Montagu, Jeremy “Duct flute”. Grove Music Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2016-02-06 ; For example, Eve O’Kelly describes how Frans Brüggen “achieved worldwide recognition as a recorder virtuoso” in her book The Recorder Today, Cambridge University Press, 1990. ISBN 0-521-36681-X. p. 62 ; Lasocki, David. “Recorder”. Grove Music Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2016-02-06.

Pipe & Tabor

Name: Pipe and Tabor.
Type: Fipple / Duct Flute > Aerophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No: 421.221.12
Country: Spain, Many.
Region: Western Europe & European continent.

Description: The Pipe and tabor is a pair of instruments played by a single player, consisting of a three-hole pipe played with one hand, and a small drum played with the other. The tabor (drum) hangs on the performer’s left arm or around the neck, leaving the hands free to beat the drum with a stick in the right hand and play the pipe with thumb and first two fingers of the left hand.

History: Mersenne mentions a virtuoso, John Price, who could rise to the twenty-second on the galoubet. Praetorius mentions and illustrates three sizes of the Stamentienpfeiff, the treble [50.8 cm / 20 inches in length], the tenor [66.04 cm / 26 inches in length] and the bass [76.2 cm / 30 inches] the last being played by means of a crook about [58.42 cm / 23 inches in length].

A specimen of the bass in the museum of the Brussels Conservatory has middle C for its lowest note. Three-hole pipes made from bone and dating to the early Middle Ages have been found in England. There are images of medieval tabor players in buildings, for example York Minster, Lincoln and Gloucester cathedrals, and Tewkesbury Abbey.

Citations: “The Project Gutenberg eBook of A History of Pantomime, by R. J. Broadbent”. ; Flauta y tamboril. Gaita de Huelva, gaita rociera, gaita andaluza” – postmusicas – Retrieved 2016-05-31.

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