Category Archives: Duct



Name: Serdam.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Duct > Ring.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.221.12
Country: South Sumatra & Jambi Sumatra, Indonesia.
Region: South East Asia.

Description: The serdam is a duct flute that is found in South Sumatra and Jami Sumatra, Indonesia. The player utilizes circular breathing in performance. Playing the serdam often involves ornamentation in the melody and improvisation. On sad occasions the serdam is played when some one is dying or when a married woman longs for her home village or on certain days after a bereavement.

The serdam is about 50 cm in length. It is played in an oblique position. The duct is completed by a ring of bamboo a diameter wider than the flute its self. The ring its self is made from rattan. The distance of the finger holes is proportionate to the diameter of the bamboo.

Citations: Bibliography: Margret J. Kartomi, Stanley Sadie ~ New Grove Dictionary Of Music Vol, 3 Book P to Z Pages 347 ; Websites:


Name: Satara.
Type: Aerophones > Double > Duct.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.221.12
Country: Rajasthan, India & Pakistan.
Region: South Asia.

Description: The satara is a duct flute played in pairs, akin to the alghoza. It is played primarily in the desert regions of Rajasthan, North India and Pakistan. Satara are played by shepherd communities or by castes of professional musicians most notably the Langa. The langa have adopted the satara for several generations. The langa perform folk melodies that are improvised, variation and ornamentation.

In Rajasthan the satara consists of two independent wooden pipes, whose upper ends are fitted with a block to delineate the air-duct, terminate in a beak. Two kinds of satara are distinguished: Those who the two pipes are of the same equal length about 60 cm] and a relation of roughly ‘one in a half’ indicated by the term Dhodha added to the name.

According to the area where this instrument is played, the flutes are known as satara, Pava or Algoja. The last term in general denotes in Rajasthan and India especially in the north. Other duct flutes that are played in pairs but with two separate melody pipes of similar size.

Playing Techniques: Both flutes are played by one musician utilizing circular breathing called “nakasi” during performance.

Citations: Bibliography: C. Sachs Die Musikinstrumente Indiens und Indonesiens [in English: Musical Instruments, Indians and Indonesians] Berlin and Leipzig,1914, 2 / 1912 ; K. S. Kothari: Indian Folk Musical Instruments New Dheli, 1968 / 62 ; G. Dourmon: Flutes of Rajasthan, LDX 76645 [compact disc notes] ; K. Kothari: Folk Musical Instruments of Rajasthan, Borunda, 1977 ; C. B. Deva: Musical Instruments of India their History and Development, Calcutta 1978 ; Stanley Sadie ~ New Grove Dictionary Of Music, Book 3, P to  Z Page 302, 303 Websites:


Name: Svilpe.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Duct.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.211.12
Country: Latvia.
Region: Baltic States & North East Europe.

Description: The oldest example dates back from 1000 BC. It was made of bird bone, its length is 75 mm and diameter is 6 mm to 7 mm. Having only one sound hole such whistles were used recently as hunting decoys, signalling instruments and toys. They can also be made from bark, wood or clay.

The clay whistles are made in the images of birds, horses or demons. They usually have three finger holes, although a svilpe with only a single finger hole is rare. In Latgale, eastern Latvia, where clay whistles are most widespread, they are known as “Svilpaunieks”.

Citations: Bibliography: Arvidas Karaśka, Stanley Sadie ~ New Grove Dictionary Of Musical Instruments, Vol, 3 Book P to Z, Page 480 ; ISBN 0-333-37878-4 British Library of Cataloguing ; 0-9433818-05-2 Library Of Congress Cataloguing ;


Name: Svilpa.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Duct.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.211.12
Country: Lithuania.
Region: Baltic States & North East Europe.

Description: The Svilpa is a flute with out finger-holes from Lithuania. It is found mostly in the north-eastern regions [Alukštaitija]. In spring it is made from one or more pieces of osier or aspen bark. Instruments made from tin have been known since the earliest 20th century.

The svilpa can be encountered in the countryside until the 20th century to perform songs, dance melodies and improvisation. Nowadays it is used in folk music groups. Similar instruments are the Polish Fujuarka and Romanian Tilincă.

Construction: The svilpa is long and has a diameter of 1 to 2 cm. The svilpa can be of three types. End-blown, in which both ends are open and the upper end is cut at an angle. A duct flute or a transverse flute, with one end stopped and a mouth of made of 2 cm to 3 cm along the tube. Higher overtones of a natural scale can be produced on the svilpa by varying the pressure of breath and fully or partly closing the distal end of the tube with the index finger. The lower tones of the svilpa are weak, the higher tones increase with intensity.

Citations: Bibliography: Arvidas Karaśka, Stanley Sadie ~ New Grove Dictionary Of Musical Instruments, Vol, 3 Book P to Z, Pages 470, 480 ; ISBN 0-333-37878-4 British Library of Cataloguing ; 0-9433818-05-2 Library Of Congress Cataloguing ;


Name: Singkadu.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Duct.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.221.12
Country: North Sumatra, Indonesia.
Region: South East Asia.

Description: The singkadu is a duct flute played by the Mandailing and west coast peoples of North Sumatra. This instrument is almost obsolete but makers can be found in Sorkam on the West Coast, and in recent recordings it has been made in Mandailing. An old Batak singkadu is held in the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam.

Construction: It is made from a tube of bamboo about 20 cm in length and 1.5 cm in width. This flute has six or seven finger holes approximately 1 cm apart and together measures the length of a hand with fingers out-stretched. It is made of the buloh cino variety of bamboo, which in some areas is rare.

Citations: Bibliography: Stanley Sadie ~ New Grove Dictionary Of Music, Book Vol, 3 P to Z, Page 389 ;

Low Whistle

Name: Low Whistle.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Duct.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.221.12
Country: Ireland, Many.
Region: Ireland, Great Britain & Continental Europe.

Description: The low whistle or concert whistle, is a variation of the traditional tin whistle / penny-whistle. It is distinguished from the tin-flute by its over all length and lower pitch. It is most closely associated with the performances of British and Irish artists such as Finbar Furey and his son Martin Furey, Old Blind Dogs, Michael McGoldrick, River-dance, Lunasa and Davy Spillane. The low-whistle is increasingly accepted as a featured musical-instrument in Celtic music.

History: The development of the low-whistle carried on through the its earlier traverse flute descendants since the 16th century. Modeled after the the earlier 16th century transverse flutes in terms of finger-holes, the inner diameter of the conical bore and over all shape of the instrument.

Hence, the expression “Irish low whistle” is not denoting an Irish origin, but just an intensive use of this instrument in Ireland and, because of cultural similarity, in the whole British archipelago. While before long several notable instrument maker were producing low whistles, it is usually the River-dance tour of the 1990s that is credited with giving the low whistle commercial exposure and recognition outside traditional music circles.

Development: English flute maker and jazz musician Bernard Overton is credited with producing the first modern low whistle in late 1971, which he made with Finbar Furey after Furey’s prized Indian bamboo whistle was destroyed while on tour. Unable to repair it, Overton attempted to produce a metal replica and Finbar and himself spent many hours in the shed at the back of Bernard’s house in Rugby, designing, testing and ultimately perfecting the flute.

Usage: It is often used for the playing of airs and slow melodies due to its haunting and delicate sound. However, it is also becoming used more often for the playing of Irish and British jigs, reels and hornpipes, it being easier to produce some ornamentation on the whistle, due to the size of the finger holes. Although the tone varies subtlety from maker to maker. It is generally characterized by a more breathy flute-like tone then traditional tin-whistles.

Varieties: The most common low whistle is the “Low D”, pitched one octave below the traditional D whistle. A whistle is generally classed as a low whistle if its lowest note is the G above middle C or lower. Whistles higher than this are termed “soprano” or “high” whistles when a distinction is necessary. Low whistles operate on the same principles

Playing Techniques: Generally fingered in the same way as traditional penny-whistles although for many, a “piper’s grip” may be required due to the distance between the holes. They belong to the same woodwind instrument family of end-blown fipple flutes.

Citations: Bibliography: “about the instruments”. Retrieved September 18, 2014. “Whistling Low: History”. Whistling Low. 2001 ; Hannigan, Steáfán & Ledsam, David 2006 ; The Low Whistle Book. SVM Publications. p. 96. Notes: Including, among others, Brian Howard, Phil Hardy, Colin Goldie, Dave Shaw [who pursued a rolled conical design] and Jon Swayne [a tune-able wooden design] ;


Name: Fujara.
Type: Aerophones > Flute > Duct > External.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.211.12
Country: Slovakia.
Region: Continental & East Europe.

Description: The fujara [in Slovakian [ˈfujara]) originated in central Slovakia as a large sophisticated folk shepherd’s overtone fipple flute of unique design. It is technically a contrabass in the tabor pipe class.

Features: Ranging from 160 mm to 200 cm long and in 1.7 metres in length. The fujara is tuned in the available keys A / G or F. It has three tone holes [also called finger holes] located on the lower part of the main body. The sound is produced by a fipple at the upper end of the main body of the fujara.

Citations: Bibliography; Eischek, Oskár 2006 Fujara : The Slovak Queen of European Flutes. Bratislava: Hudobné centrum. ISBN 978-80-88884-91-0 ; Garnett, Rod 2004. Flutes of Slovakia: fujara, koncovka, šesťdierková píšťalka and dvojačka ; Laramie, Wyoming University of Wyoming. pp. 8–10. OCLC 55993856 ; Rychlik, Bohuslav Bob; American Musical Instrument Society (May 27, 2010). Folk Music from the Slovak Mountains: Lecture/Demonstration of the Fujara and Other Overtone Flutes. Benjamin Botkin Folklife Lecture Series. Thomas Jefferson Building: American Folklife Center ; Websites ;


Name: Xirula.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Duct.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.211.12
Country: Basque Region.
Region: France.

Description: The xirula [in Basque pronunciation: ʃiˈɾula ; spelled chiroula in French, also pronounced txirula, xülüla in Zuberoan Basque; Gascon: flabuta; French: galoubet] is a small three holed woodwind instrument or flute usually made of wood akin to the Basque txistu or three-hole pipe, but more high pitched and strident, tuned to D / G and an octave higher than the silbote.

The sound that flows from the flute has often been perceived as a metaphor for the tweet cadences of bird songs. Some scholars point out that flutes found in the Caverns of Isturitz and Oxozelaia going back to a period spanning 35,000 to 10,000 years ago bear witness to the early presence of the instrument’s forerunner in the region, while this view has been disputed.

Citations: Bibliography: Txistu”, Vitrifolk. Archived from the original on 2008-01-29. Retrieved 2008-03-17. Site in French “Txori erresiñulak”. Berria. Retrieved 2008-03-17. Site in Basque “La “basca tibia”: El mito de la prehistoricidad del txistu vasco”. Txistulari, 178. Retrieved 2009-06-15. Site in Spanish “EUSKAL MUSIKA: Basque Music”. North American Basque Organizations. Archived from the original on May 21, 2008. Retrieved 06/02/2008 ;


Name: Zuffolo.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Duct.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.221.12
Country: Italy.
Region: South Europe & Mediterranean.

Description: The zuffolo [also chiufolo, ciufolo] it is a fipple flute found in Italy. First described in the 14th century. The zuffolo has a range of over two octaves, from B3 to C6 [Marcuse 1975]. A larger instrument of the same name, with a lowest note of C5 appeared in the early 17th century [Fuller-Maitland, Baines, and Térey-Smith 2001].

Relatives: In Northern Europe there is a very similar instrument that is known by various names from the 14th to at least the 17th century. The earliest documented source is a 14th century Flemish manuscript copy of De Planctu Naturae by Alain De Lille. This manuscript documents 11 types of instruments two duct flutes. One of these is a single handed flute with three front finger-holes and one thumb-hole.

It is labeled, together with another instrument, with the generic Latin term “fistuli” and with the Middle Dutch word “floyt” [Lasocki 2011, 18–19]. In the early 16th century, a woodcut showing this same type of instrument is identified as “Russpfeiff” [from MHGer Rusch, “rush”] in Virdung [1511]. This name is spelled “Rüspfeiff” in Agricola [1529, fol. 5r], where the same instrument is also referred to as a “klein Flötlein mit 4 löchern” small little flute with four holes [Marcuse 1975b; Wasielewski 1878, 83].

At the beginning of the next century, Michael Praetorius depicted this instrument once again in the supplement [Theatrum Instrumentorum] to the second volume of his Syntagma Musicum, where he uses the expressions “gar kleine Plockflötlein” describing a very small little recorder, “garklein Flötlein” very small little flute, and “klein Flötlein” small little flute.

He gives the size of this instrument as about three or four Brunswick inches, its range as nearly two octaves, and its playing technique as involving “unten zum Ausgang darneben mit eim Finger regiret werden” regulated by means of a finger under the outlet.

The lowest open tone is shown in the woodcut as C6, but Praetorius does not say how much lower the instrument can be made to speak by using the finger to shade the bell opening [Praetorius 1619, 34, supplement Plate IX].

Construction: The zuffolo has a rear thumb-hole, two front finger-holes, and a conical bore. It is approximately 8 cm in length.

Citations: Bibliography: Marcuse 1975, Fuller-Maitland, Baines, and Térey-Smith, 2001 ; Agricola, Martin. 1529 Musica instrumẽtalis deudsch ynn welcher begriffen ist/ wie man nach dem gesange auff mancherley Pfeiffen lernen sol/ Auch wie auff die Orgel/ Harffen/ Lauten / Geigen/ vnd allerley Instrument vnd Seytenspiel/ nach der rechtgegründten Tabelthur sey abzusetzen ; Wittemberg: Georg Rhaw “ciufolo”. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers ; George Grove, “Picco”, A Dictionary of Music and Musicians [A.D. 1450–1880], by Eminent Writers, English and Foreign, vol. 2, edited by George Grove, D. C. L., 340–43. London: Macmillan and Co.: 750 ; Lasocki, David. 2001. “Flautino [I]”. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers ;


Name: Sopilka.
Type: Aerophones > Duct > Flutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.211.12
Country: Ukraine.
Region: Eastern Europe.

Description: Sopilka [in Ukrainian: Cопiлка, pronounced “so-pil-ka”] is a name applied to a variety of woodwind instruments of the flute family used by Ukrainian folk instrumentalists. Having six to ten finger holes. The term is also used to describe a related set of folk instruments similar to a recorder in sound and construction.

Sopilkas are used by a variety of Ukrainian folkloric ensembles recreating the traditional music of the various sub-ethnicities in western Ukraine, most notably that of the Hutsuls of the Carpathian Mountains. Often employing several sopilkas in concert, a skilled performer can mimic a variety of sounds found in nature, including bird-calls and insects.

Citations: Bibliography: Дверій, Р. Школа гри – на хроматичний сопілці /, 2008 Part 1-72 pages, part 2 – 68 pages, part 3 – 64 pages [in English: Door, R. School game – on a chromatic flute] ; in Ukrainian: Гуменюк А. – Українські народні музичні інструменти, In English: Gumenyuk A. – Ukrainian folk musical instruments] ; Київ: Наукова думка, 1967 ; Mizynec, V. Ukrainian Folk Instruments – Melbourne: Bayda books, 1984 ; Cherkasky, L. – Українські народні музичні інструменти // Техніка, Київ, Україна, 2003 – 262 pages. ISBN 966-575-111-5 ;