Category Archives: Aerophones



Name: Quena.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Notched.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.111.12
Specimens: 4 in collection.
Country: Many, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador.
Region: South America.
Acquisition Sources: Rene Hugo Sanchez, Vancouver Folk Festival. “market”.

Description: The queña [In Spanish: Queña or in Quechua: qina] It is a traditional pre-Colombian flute that is found in the Andes region, the Quena is played all the way from Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, North Western Argentina, Northern Chile and the Andean region of Colombia.

South America
South America

Playing Techniques: To produce sound, the player closes the top end of the pipe with the flesh between the chin and lower lip, and blows a stream of air downward, along the axis of the pipe, over an elliptical notch cut into the end.

Acoustics: It is normally tuned the G with G4 being the lowest note, all holes covered. The quena produces a very “textured” and “dark” timbre because of the length-to-bore ratio of about 16 to 20 subsequently causing difficulty in the upper register, which is very unlike the tone of the Western concert flute with bore ratio about 38.



Name: Sipsi.
Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Idioglots.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.211.2
Country: Turkey.
Region: Aegean, Asia Minor & Mediterranean.

Description: The sipsi [pronounced in Turkish / in IPA: sipˈsi] is a Turkish woodwind instrument. It is a clarinet-like, single-reed instrument used mainly in folk music. The word “sipsi” is possibly onomatopoeic. The sipsi is one of many reed instruments in Turkey used to play lead melodies in instrumental folk music. It is generally played in the Western part in the Aegean Region of Turkey. Most folk tunes played in this area with the sipsi are in 9/8 time signature.

Definition: The Turkish Language Society lists “sipsi” as 1. Ağaç dallarından yapılan düdük – a whistle or flute made from the branch of a tree. 2. Gemici düdüğü, Sailor’s while or pipe 3. Zurnanın dudaklara gelen kamış bölümü. The reed section that fits into the opening “lips” of a zurna.

Playing Technique: Musicians who perform on the sipsi use circular breathing as one would see in parallel other similar reed instruments.

Construction: The sipsi can be made of bone, wood, or reed, though the reed variant is most common. Its size varies from region to region, but it generally contains five finger holes in the front, and one finger hole in the back.

Citations: Bibliography: Akdeniz, Tayyar “Sipsi- Turkish Music Instruments- Folk Tours”. Folk Tours. Folk Tours LLC. Retrieved 2011-09-28 ; Reinhard, Kurt; Martin Stokes ; “Turkey: II Folk Music, 4 Instrumental Music”. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Retrieved 2011-09-29 ;


Name: Diplica.
Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Idioglots.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.211.2
Country: Croatia.
Region: Balkans & South Eastern Europe.

Description: The diplica is simple idioglotic reed instrument similar in design to the sipsi of Turkey or Arghul of Egypt. In Croatia it was once played in different forms in many regions. Today, it is preserved only in Slavonia and Baranja.

Construction: It contains a pipe with several usually five finger holes and a single reed. This instrument can be made from other materials such as the wood of an elder tree, straw or even goose feathers. Diplicas are most frequently made in the key of E in this case the rest of the tones of a diplica are: E / F# / G# / A / B and C sharp, diplica can also be made in the keys of C / D / F and G.

Citations: Bibliography: Websites:

Reclam De Xeremes

Name: Reclam De Xeremes.
Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Idioglots.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.211.2
Country: Ibiza Island, East Coast of Spain.
Region: Iberian Peninsula & Western Europe.

Description: The reclam de xeremes, also known as the xeremia bessona or xeremieta, Is a double clarinet with two single reeds, traditionally found on the Balearic island of Ibiza, off the east coast of Spain.

Various researchers believe that the reclam descends from a similar instrument of Hellenic Egypt. In any case, it does indeed appear to be very similar in design to other Mediterranean double reed pipes such as the Arabic midjwiz, the Tunisian zumarra, the Egyptian arghul and the Sardinian launeddas.

Tuning: Traditionally the finger-holes gave a pentatonic scale in a tuning varying by instrument.

Construction: It consists of two cane tubes of equal length, bound together by cord and small pieces of lead to stabilize the tubes. On each tube are several finger holes, traditionally four in the front and one on the back, though in modern instruments the back hole is often omitted. At the top end of each cane a smaller piece of cane holding the single reed, though in modern instruments the reed is often inserted directly into the bore.

Citations: Bibliography: Josep: El folklore musical. Alianza Editorial. Madrid, 1983. p. 374 García-Matos, Manuel ~ Instrumentos musicales folklóricos de España. Anuario Musical, 9 1954, p. 161 ; Websites ; Juanma Sánchez ~ :


Name: Launeddas.
Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Idioglots.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.211.2
Country: Sardinia.
Region: South Europe & Mediterranean.

Description: The launeddas [also called Sardinian triple clarinet or Sardinian triple-pipe] are a typical Sardinian woodwind instrument made of three pipes. They are a polyphonic instrument, with one of the pipes functioning as a drone and the other two playing the melody in thirds and sixths.

History: Predecessors of the launeddas can be traced back to approximately 2700 BCE in Egypt, where reed pipes were originally called ‘memet’. During the Old Kingdom in Egypt [2778-2723 BCE]; memets were depicted on the reliefs of seven tombs at Saqqarra, six tombs at Giza and the pyramids of Queen Khentkaus.

The launeddas themselves date back to at least the eighth century BCE and are still played today during religious ceremonies and dances [su ballu in Sardinian language]. Distinctively, they are played using extensive variations on a few melodic phrases, and a single piece can last over an hour, producing some of the “most elemental and resonant [sounds] in European music”.

Citations: Bibliography: Kroll, O. 1968 – The Clarinet. New York, NY: Taplinger Publishing Company ; Rice, A.R. 1992 – The Baroque Clarinet. New York, NY: Oxford University Press ; Surian, Alesso. “Tenores and Tarantellas”. 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla [Ed.], World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pg. 189–201 – Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0 ; Surian, pg. 190 ; “Franco Melis”. Musical Traditions Internet Magazine. URL accessed on 26 August 2005 ; F. W. Bentzon, The Launeddas. A Sardinian folk music instrument [Vol. 2. Acta Musicologica Danica n°1], Akademisk Forlag, Copenhagen, 1969 ; P. Mercurio, La Cultura delle Launeddas. Cabras. I Suoni del Maestro Giovanni Casu, Solinas, Nuoro, 2011.
F. W. Bentzon, Launeddas, Cagliari, 2002 ISBN 88-88998-00-4 ;


Name: Midjweh.
Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Idioglots.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.211.2
Specimens: 3 in collection.
Country: Egypt.
Region: Middle East & Mediterranean.

Description: The midjweh is an ancient folk clarinet found in the Nile region of Egypt. It has several analogue instruments that are found throughout the Mediterranean Near East and as far away as western China. The midjweh has two identical pipes bound together and parallel sound holes. The midjweh is considered to be one of the oldest instruments of the Nile region. The midjweh player is often accompanied by another midjweh player or a drummer.

The Midjweh one of the reed-pipes referred to in the Bible, and depictions of the midjweh are found on the walls of the Egyptian funeral chambers. The midjweh is also known by a number of names including midjwiz and midjwiz. Many people confuse this instrument with the arghul that is a related instrument with only one melody pipe and a drone.

Playing Technique: The pipes are played in unison by placing the fingers across both pipes. Both reeds are totally enclosed in the mouth, and circular breathing is employed to create a continuous flow of air. Circular breathing is awkward on this instrument though, due to the depth that the reeds extend into the mouth, and this has resulted in related instruments, such as the pungi or bagpipes, having wind chambers. The reeds are made by a slight cut into a small section of cane with a closed nodal point.

The performer holds the midjweh with both hands nearly horizontally in front of him with the finger-holes up. The bulk of the reeds are situated inside the mouth cavity with the player’s lips creating a tight seal around them. The first three fingers of one hand cover the top three finger-holes of both tubes, the first three fingers of the other hand the bottom three.

In order to finger both tubes simultaneously, the soft pads between the knuckles are used to cover the holes. The notes on the two pipes are purposefully tuned slightly apart from one another so as to produce an acoustic beat. The technique of circular breathing is used by performers to achieve a continuous flow of melody. Melodies are typically narrow in range. Each reed pipe is by itself not very loud, so having two of them sounding simultaneously increases the instrument’s volume.

Construction: The midjweh consists of two tubes, each made of three interlocking segments of reed fitted into one another. The longest segment is an open tube, it has s cylindrical bore. The midjweh has six equally distanced finger-holes in a row and lacks a thumb hole on the bottom side of the instrument. These two tubes are securely bound together with tarred cotton cord at three points along their length so that their lines of finger-holes run parallel to one another.

A short about 2 inches in length second section, likewise of two parallel tubes of cane, but with no finger-holes, is inserted into the top end of the finger-hole section. Separate 2-inch lengths of reed are then inserted into the top ends of the second section. These reed tubes, closed at their top end, have a deep back cut in them along much of their length to articulate a single flexible lamellae or idioglot reed, this instrument is classified as an idioglot because the reed is not a separate entity attached to the tube, but part of the tube itself.

Citations: Bibliography: Hassan, Scheherazade Qassim 2002 – “Musical Instruments in the Arab World.” In The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music v. 6. The Middle East. ed ; Virginia Danielson, Scott Marcus, and Dwight Reynolds. New York: Routledge, pp. 401-423 ; Marcus, Scott L. 2007 ; Music in Egypt: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture. New York: Oxford University Press ; Marcuse, Sibyl. 1975. A Survey of Musical Instruments. New York: Harper and Row ; Morris, R. Conway. 1984. “‘Çifte [çifte].” NGDMI v.1: p. 369 ; Picken, Laurence. 1975. Folk Musical Instruments of Turkey. London: Oxford University Press ; Poché, Christian. 1984 “Mijwiz [midjwiz, miğwiz, mizwidj; mizwij]” NGDMI v, 2: p. 661 ; Websites: Randy Raine-Reusch [Midjweh Article] @ ; Grinnell College Musical Instrument Collection [Midjweh article] ;


Name: Arghul.
Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Idioglots.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.211.2
Country: Egypt.
Region: North Africa & Middle East.

Description: The arghul [Arabic: أرغول or يرغول‎] also spelled argul, arghoul, arghool, argol or yarghul [in Israel]. It is a musical instrument. It has been used since Ancient Egyptian times and is still used as a traditional instrument in Egypt and Palestine.

Construction: The arghul is a double-pipe, single-reed woodwind instrument that consists of two tubes. A melody pipe with between five and seven holes and a longer drone [Arabic ardiyya, “ground”] pipe.

The tone of the arghul is similar to that of a clarinet, although a bit more reed-like. Unlike the similar midjwiz, the arghul has fingering holes on only one of the instrument’s pipes [the melody pipe] and the drone pipe has a detachable length that allows the player to alter the pitch of the drone.

Citations: Randy Raine-Reusch @ [arghul article] ;