Category Archives: Duct


Caito De Cana

Name: Caito De Caña.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Duct.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.221.12
Country: Spain.
Region: Iberian Peninsula & Western Europe.

Description: The Caito de caña is a fipple / duct flute that was widely used by shepherds, children and dulzineros. The sizes of this instrument are variable depending on the maker. It is more of a recreational “hobby” instrument then anything else. They could have between 4 and 8 holes. It can be found throughout the peninsula.



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

Description: The baluat is a narrow end-blown duct flute found in slightly varied types in northern Sumatra, Indonesia. The instrument is used most notably by the Karo Mandailing and Toba Batak peoples of the province of North Sumatra, but also by the Gayo and Alas peoples of Aceh.

Varieties: Two types of baulat are distinguished in the Karo area: the baluat pingko-pingko and the baluat gendek. The relatively soft-toned baluat pingko-pingko is made from a bamboo tube usually 30 cm to 50 cm in length and 1 cm to 2 cm wide at the top. The louder baluat gendek is about 24 cm in length and 2 cm wide. Both types narrow towards the bottom and have six small finger-holes about 2 cm apart, sometimes with the third and sixth holes larger than the others.

Construction: A bamboo or wooden block inserted into the top forms a small duct. The duct directs the breath onto the sharp fipple or V-shaped edge opening cut just below the block. The lower end of the flute is usually cut at a node, which serves to strengthen the instrument. A small hole is made in the node.

Citations: Bibliography: Margaret J. Kartomi, revised by Gini Gorlinski ; Websites: Grove Music Online, Oxford Music Online / Baluat ;


Name: Atenteben.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Duct.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.211.12
Country: Ghana.
Region: Africa.

Description: The atenteben [atɛntɛbɛn] is a bamboo duct flute from Ghana. The instrument originated with the Akan ethnic group of south-central Ghana, particularly in the region of the Kwahu Plateau. It was first popularized throughout the nation by the Ghanaian musicologist Dr. Ephraim Amu [1899–1995].

It was also featured in the Pan-African Orchestra led by Nana Danso Abiam and Dela Botri, a former member of the Orchestra is among Ghana’s foremost exponents of the instrument. Since 2004, Botri has combined the atenteben with hiplife music on his recordings.

Etymology: Its name derives from the roots atente [the type of music played] and aben [Twi: ‘whistle’ or ‘horn’]. The famous Ghanaian composer and teacher Ephraim Amu developed the modern atenteben in the mid-1940s. He changed it from a transverse flute capable of playing only five notes to an end-blown vertical flute with a wooden block forming a duct just below a node.

Citations: Bibliography: Websites: Gavin Webb – Grove Dictionary Online [Atenteben article] ;


A duct or fipple is a constricted bevel that is carved into the mouth piece, that is common to end blown flutes, such as the tin whistle, recorder,  Catalan flabiol etc. These instruments are known as fipple or duct flutes or tubular-ducted flutes and are indicated by the code 421.2 in the Hornbostel–Sachs classification.

How the fipple / duct works: In such a construction the top [or head] of the recorder. A musician blows into the top of the recorder where the mouth piece lays. The head or top of the mouth piece which the fipple or duct is attached too. During performance the stream of air is operated by the “labium lip” producing a Bernoulli effect or siphon.

The air flowing over the voicing mouth creates a flow-controlled valve. Interaction between the air reed and the air column in the body of the instrument excites standing waves in the air column, which determines the pitch of the sound. This oscillation results in the “whistle sound” in ducted flue instruments. See wind instrument and flue pipe.

A distinct tone colour is usually determined by the dimensions of the instrument and the voicing mouth. Further more, the tone of the instrument is then slightly modified by the player’s technique or embouchure. In instruments such as the recorder, the player can vary the pitch of the resulting musical note by opening or closing finger holes along the bore of the instrument, thus changing the effective length.

The wind way consists of the wind canal or flue, the upper portion of the voicing or mouth as carved into the head joint itself, and the ducted flue wind way, as carved onto the top surface of the fipple block. The space created between the ducted flue wind-way and the labium edge is referred to as the mouth or voicing.


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 Pfeifen 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: Tarka.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Duct.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.211.12
Country: Bolivia & Peru.
Region: South America.

Description: The tarka [in Quechua, in Aymara: tharqa] is a pre-Colombian indigenous flute of the Andes. The tarka is a unique flute of the Andes made by artisans from the western region of Bolivia and Peru Sierra region.

Sizes: The tarka has three sizes who are tuned approximately a fifth apart representing grande [big], medio [medium] and pequeño [small]. Usually all three kinds of tarka are used together in a big ensemble, all playing the same melody on three voices at fixed intervals and accompanied by percussion instruments [tinya, wankar]. This traditional genre is called tarqueada.

Construction: The tarka is built around the fipple or duct. Tarka’s usually have six finger holes and lacks a thumb hole. Either available in plain design or highly ornate with carvings and coloured painting.

Citations: Bibliography: Websites: Grinnell College Musical Instrument Collection / tarka ; DBpedia / Tarka flute /


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: Nedun-Kulal.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Double > Duct.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.211.12
Country: India.
Region: South Asia.

Description: The Nedun-Kulal is a double duct flute, with central blowing-hole, of Tamil Nadu, south India.

Playing Techniques: The instrument is held vertically and lower internode, where the melody is played, has eight finger-holes; the upper gives a drone.

Construction: The Nedun Kulal of a long, thick bamboo tube with three internodes. At each node a shallow hole is made connecting the neighbouring internodes; these holes are partially covered with thin metal sheets to create the ducts, leaving the outer end of each hole open to form the mouths. A reed blowing-tube is inserted into the central internode, and the breath is channelled in both directions through the two ducts.

Citations: Bibliography: Alastair Dick, Grove Dictionary, Oxford University Press ; Websites ; Alastair Dick, Grove Music Online / Nedun kulal [article] ;


Name: Satara.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Duct > Double.
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 Pages 302, 303 Websites:


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 outstretched. 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 ;