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.

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. Or over an elliptical notch cut into the end.



Name: Shakuhachi.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Notched.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.111.12
Country: Japan.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: The shakuhachi [in Japanese 尺八、しゃくはち, shakuhachi, in IPA: ʃakʊˈhatʃi] is a Japanese end blown, notched flute. Originally introduced to Japan from China during the 7th century. The shakuhachi underwent a resurgence during the Edo Period [1603-1868]. The oldest shakuhachi in Japan is currently stored in Shōsō-in, Nara. It was used by the monks of the Fuke sect of Zen Buddhism in the practice of suizen [吹禅, blowing meditation].

Etymology: The name of the this particular flute “shakuhachi” is a compound word two different characters. The first word is [尺] “shaku” meaning “1.8 shake” which refers to the size of the instrument. The shaku is an archaic unit of length equal to 30.3 centimetres [0.994 English foot] and subdivided in ten subunits. “hachi” [八] means “eight”, here eight sun, or tenths of a shaku.

History: During the medieval period, shakuhachi were their most notable for their use by the monks of the Fuke sect of Zen Buddhism. The monks who played the shakuhachi in this sect were known as komusō [虚無僧] which translates as “priests of nothingness, or emptiness monks”. The repertoire practiced by these monks was called Honkyoku. These melodies were paced according to the players’ breathing. In which, they were considered meditation [suizen] and music.

During this era travel around Japan was restricted by the Shogunate. The Fuke sect managed to obtain an exemption by persuading the Shogun. As apart of their spiritual practice required them to move from place to place. The shogun in turn sent several of his own spies out in the guise of the Fuke sect monks as well. During their travels they played the shakuhachi for alms.

One famous song reflects this mendicant tradition [一二三鉢返の調]. The characters translate as “Hi fu mi, hachi gaeshi”, “One two three, pass the alms bowl”. This was made easier by the wicker baskets [tengai 天蓋] that the Fuke wore over their heads, a symbol of their detachment from the world.

Genres & Recordings: The primary genres of shakuhachi music are honkyoku [traditional, solo]; sankyoku ensemble with koto and shamisen and shinkyoku new music composed for shakuhachi and koto. Also this includes post-Meiji era compositions influenced by Western Music. The first shakuhachi recording that appeared in the United States was produced during the late 1960s.

Gorō Yamaguchi recorded A Bell Ringing in the Empty Sky for Nonesuch Explorer Records on LP. One of the pieces featured on Yamaguchi’s record was “Sokaku Reibo,” also called “Tsuru No Sugomori” [Crane’s Nesting]. NASA later chose to include this track as part of the Golden Record aboard the Voyager spacecraft. With in Western Music the shakuhachi became popular in Jazz, Free Improvisation, Popular Music, New Age and recording samples in software.

Tuning: The scale of the shakuhachi is set to a pentatonic minor scale.

Construction: Traditionally shakuhachi are constructed from the cutting the bamboo at the desired length from the root end of madake [真竹] Phyllostachys bambusoides. No shakuhachi are alike due to each piece of bamboo being unique. Each instrument is unique there for costing

Citations: Bibliography: Shakuhachi ~ Fundamental Technique Guidance, USA ; CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition. pp. 101, 28 ISBN 978-1535460705 ; Yohmei Blasdel, Christopher; Kamisango, Yuko June 1, 2008 ; The Shakuhachi: A Manual for Learning [Includes Practice CD] – Printed Matter Press ISBN 978-1933606156 ; Yoshikawa, Shigeru 2017. Websites: – International Shakuhachi Society ;


Name: Danso.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Notched.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.111.12
Country: Korea.
Region: Far East Asia.
Specimen: 2 in collection.
Acquisition Source: First specimen, Value Village, Hastings Sunrise 2nd specimen, Randy Raine-Reusch @

Description: The danso [in Hangul: 단소 in Hanja: 短簫 danso] also spelled tanso is a notched, end-blown vertically held bamboo flute that is used in Korean folk music. It is traditionally made of bamboo, but since the 20th century it has also been made of plastic.



Name: Chok.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Notched.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.111.12
Country: Korea.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: An end blown notched flute from Korea that is about 65 cm in length. It has six finger holes. The first of which, being the thumb hole is located on the back of the instrument. The treatise Akhak Kwebom [in Hangul: 악학궤범 in Hanja: 樂學軌範] compiled in 1493 specifies a cross-shape opening for the chok, a plug inserted into a tube similar approach in construction to a transverse flute.

A page of the Akhak gwebeom featuring the a diagram of a notched flute, chok.

Musical instruments with the name “chok”appeared in a large bequest of instruments for ritual music [aak] from the Song Era Chinese Emperor in 1116. The Akhak Kwebom [in Hangul: 악학궤범 in Hanja: 樂學軌範] 1493 indicates the chok was still used only in ritual music in the 15th century. This remains in practice even today.

Citations: Bibliography: Akhak gwebeom [in Hangul 악학궤범; in Hanja 樂學軌範] by Seong Hyeon 1439-1504 Historic Text ; Stanley Sadie ~ New Grove Dictionary Of Music ~ Pages 361-362 ;


Name: Mangtong.
Type: Aerophones > Free > Reeds > Pipes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 412.131
Country: China.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: The mangtong is a reed instrument that is a ground tube, it is also known among the Miao, Yi, Shui and Yao peoples. Miao language is called Dong Dong, Dong Guomu, meaning a reed. The instrument is called the “tube” and it means the big bamboo tube. Popular in Guizhou, Guangxi, Hunan and other provinces.

In Linxi Township, Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, a polyphonic tube called a pair of cylinders is popular. It is to open all the bamboo knots of the bamboo resonance cylinder and the first and the last ends are opened to a 45° angle at an oblique opening.

Playing Techniques: When playing, the resonance cylinder is placed horizontally and played by two people. It can emit two tones of the main tone and the genre of the tune. This pair of cylinders is extremely rare in other villages.

When playing the mangtong; depending on the size of the canopy, the method of play varies. The bass tube is to be played, the resonance tube is placed on the ground, the player supports the barrel with the left hand and the spring tube is played in the tube with the right hand. When playing the middle and high-pitched tube. The player plays the left-handed resonance tube and the right hand holds the reed pipe. Once can dance while playing.

Construction: The reed pipe is made of a thin bamboo tube. The middle bamboo joint is transparent. The upper end nozzle is used as a mouthpiece. The lower end is closed, and a rectangular hole is opened at the bottom end, and a copper reed is formed, without sound hole.

The reed pipe is made of a thin bamboo tube, the middle bamboo joint is transparent. The upper end nozzle is used as a mouthpiece. The lower end is closed and a rectangular hole is opened at the bottom end. A copper reed is formed, without a sound hole. Reed pipes can also be used as reed pipes.

The resonance cylinder is made of thick bamboo tube, the upper end nozzle is cut into a 45° slope shape, the middle bamboo joint is opened and the bottom of the cylinder has two forms: open tube and closed tube: common bottom end is closed and closed, which is closed tube shape, another.

Citations: Bibliography: Websites: Wayback Machine Article / Mantong ;


Name: Xun.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Vessel.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.221.42
Bayin: 土 Clay.
Specimen: 1 in collection.
Country: China.
Region: Far East Asia.
Acquisition Source: Randy Raine-Reusch @ China.

Description: The Xun [simplified Chinese: 埙; traditional Chinese: 塤; pinyin: xūn; Cantonese= hyun1] is a vessel flute of the Han Chinese, the main ethnic group of China. It is one of the oldest instruments of china having approximately 7000 years of history.

Most xun are usually egg shaped, with a flattened bottom. In the bayin classification system this instrument would be classified as a clay 土 as the bayin [eightfold system] classifies the instruments based on the materials the musical instruments are made of.

Construction: The xun is an egg-shaped aerophone, containing at least three finger holes in front and two thumb holes in back often a total of five or seven finger holes. It has a blowing hole on top and can have up to ten smaller finger holes, one for each finger. Although similar to an ocarina there is a clear fundamental difference. The xun lacks a fipple mouthpiece, unlike other Chinese flute-like instruments such as the Wudu and Taodi. The xun can come in a variety of sizes.

Citations: Bibliography: Jin, Jie 2011 – Chinese Music. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521186919 ; Thrasher, Alan 2000 – Chinese Musical Instruments. New York: Oxford University Press Inc. p. 16. ISBN 0-19-590777-9 ; Websites: Randy Raine-Reusch @ [Xun Article] ;

Vessel Flutes

Vessel Flutes, in the Hornbostel-Sachs classification system vessel flutes are those whose body behaves as a Helmholtz resonator. Such a body on these instruments are vessel shaped in the following designs, egg shaped as in the Chinese Xun, cone shaped as in the Ocarina.

Types of vessel flutes: These flutes have a fipple to direct the air at an edge. This side of the vessel flute sub-category includes the Gemshorn, Pifana, Ocarina, Molinukai, Tonnette and Niwawu.

Behaviour of vessel flutes: When a vessel flute is played; the air in the body of a vessel flute resonates as one. With the air moving alternately in and out of the vessel and pressure inside the vessel increasing and decreasing.

Blowing across the opening of empty bottle produces a basic edge-blown vessel flute. Multi-note vessel flutes include the ocarina.


Name: Wot.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Panflutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.211.12
Specimen: 1 in collection.
Country: Thailand.
Region: South East Asia.

Description: The Wot [RTGS: wot, pronounced as wòːt, also written as Vot] is a circular panpipe used in the traditional music of Laos and the Isan region of northeastern Thailand. It is often a major component in Pong-Lang ensembles.

The wot, a small compact inexpensive and beautifully shaped musical instrument, became one of the musical instruments in Thailand a few decades ago, according to Songsak Pratumsin [Lecturer, College of Dramatic Arts] who invented in 1968.

This wot is used during the harvest season when the farmers have a popular activity called “Wot Throwing Competition”. The one who throws the wot farthest is the winner. The Tail Wot makes two types of noise which are bass and treble, but does not sort into notes nor adjusts the tone playing music. Thus, it is not considered to be a musical instrument.

Varieties: The Tail Swing Wot – The former wot is a device for recreation which is typically not considered to be a professional musical instrument because it functions more as a toy. In the past, this type of wot includes the core, which is made of bamboo stalk that has grown in a proper time.

2. Circular Wot [general] This wot was improved by Songsak Pratumsin by using the main features of the Tail Wot. It produces only five notes, according to the characteristics of the folk pattern.

3. Panel Wot

4. Tail Wot used to play for fun and joyful rhythm and easy to play.

Citations: Bibliography: Websites:


Name: Kuvytsi.
Type: Aerophones > FLutes > Panflutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.112.11
Country: Ukraine.
Region: Eastern Europe.

Description: The kuvytsi [in Ukrainian: Кувиці, in Russian: Кугиклы, Кувиклы] are the Ukrainian and Russian variant of pan pipes. Pan pipes have been found in archeological excavations in Ukraine that date back some 5,000 years. The instrument consists of several pipes each of which, when blown endwise, produces one sound.

Various versions of the kuvytsi exist in Ukraine, such as the one-sided kuvytsi, which consist of a system of pipes from great to small in one lode or two-sided kuvytsi, which have their greatest pipe in the center. These instruments were used by ensembles in Chernihiv Province and also widely in Western Ukraine.

These instruments allow chromatic notes to be readily obtained, a semitone lower than the primary sound of the pipe.  This is done by bending the angle of the pipes with relation to the player’s lips. The air stream is thus broken on the far end of the pipe, rather than the end closest the lips.

Citations: Bibliography: [in Ukrainian] Гуменюк, А. Українські народні музичні інструменти, Київ: Наукова думка, 1967 – Мізинець, В. Українські народні інструменти, книги Мельбурна – Байда, 1984; Черкаський, Л., Українські народні музичні інструменти Техніка, Київ, Україна, 2003 262 с. ISBN 966-575-111-5 Kugikly – стаття з Великої Російської Енциклопедії; [in English] Gumenyuk, A. Ukrainian folk musical instruments, Kyiv: Naukova dumka, 1967 – Miinits, V. Ukrainian folk instruments, Melbourne books – Baid, 1984; Cherkassky, L., Ukrainian folk musical instruments Technique, Kyiv, Ukraine, 2003 262 p. ISBN 966-575-111-5 Kugikly – article from the Great Russian Encyclopedia ;


Name: Rondador.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Panflutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.112.11
Country: Ecuador.
Region: South America.

Description: The rondador is a set of panpipes whose tubes are arranged in a manner that allows for the playing of chords up to at least two to three notes in a single breath depending on the diameter of tube.

The rondador consists of cane tubes arranged in parallel side by side allowing chords to be played. The rondador is played by blowing across the top of the instrument. The Rondador is considered a national instrument of Ecuador.

Citations: Bibliography: Bishop, Douglas. “A Worldwide History of the Panflute”. Retrieved December 26, 2007 ; This family of pan flutes has many representatives: antara [Quechua] or siku [Aymara], chuli, sanka, malta [the most common variety of siku], toyo [bass siku] and rondador [Ecuador’s national instrument, a chorded pan flute]. Sergeant, Winthrop April 1934 “Types of Quechua Melody” ;