Category Archives: Reeds



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: Launeddas.
Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Idioglot.
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 > Idioglot.
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 > Idioglot.
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] ;

Pi Joom

Name: Pi Joom.
Type: Aerophones > Free > Reed > Pipes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 412.131
Country: Thailand.
Region: South East Asia.

Description: The pi joom or pi so, or pi chum is a single reed free reed pipe found in a variety of forms through out Thailand. The Lanna people of Northern Thailand play the pi joom in a set of four of varying lengths. The Poothai people of Northeast Thailand play a single pi in combination with drums.

Throughout Thailand this instrument is endangered, except for the Lanna pi joom, which is taught at traditional music programs in the Chiang Mai music academies along with many other traditional instruments from the region.

Playing Techniques: Although the pi joom is related to the Chinese bawu, it is blown by putting the top end of the instrument in the mouth at an oblique angle to cover the reed, much like the dja mblai of Vietnam.

Citations: Websites: Randy Raine-Reusch @ [Pi Joom Article] ;

Dja Mblai

Name: Dja Mblai.
Type: Aerophones > Free > Reed > Pipes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 412.131
Country: Laos, Vietnam, etc.
Region: South East Asia.

Description: The dja Mblai is a transverse blown free reed aerophone of the Hmong people o Laos, with variations of the same instrument found in neighbouring regions. In Vietnam it is referred to as the Meo sao [Hmong Flutes].

The Dja Mblai are also related to the pi joom of Thailand and the bawu of southern China. Versions shown here have been collected in Thailand and Vietnam.

Citations: Bibliography: Randy Raine-Reusch @ [dja mblai article] ;


Name: Ala.
Type: Aerophones > Free > Reed > Pipes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 412.132
Country: Vietnam.
Region: South East Asia.

Description: The Ala is a free-reed aeroplane of the Bahnar people who reside in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, used for entertainment and personal pleasure. A fibre reed is mounted on a small block of wood and tied into place with a string.

This instrument has only three finger holes. The other pitches and vibrato can be produced by moving the fingers of the open ends of the pipe. This instrument is played by inhaling only.

Citations: Bibliography: Websites: Randy Raine-Reusch @ [ala article] ;


Names: Bawu.
Types: Aerophones > Free > Reed > Pipes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 412.131
Bayin: 竹 bamboo.
Specimens: 1 in collection.
Country: China.
Region: Far East Asia.
Acquisition Source: Randy Raine-Reusch @ China.

Description: The bawu [in simplified Chinese: 巴乌; traditional Chinese: 巴烏; pinyin: bāwū; also ba wu] is a Chinese wind instrument. Although shaped like a flute, it is actually a free reed instrument, with a single metal reed. It is played in a transverse [horizontal] manner. It has a pure, clarinet-like timbre and its playing technique incorporates the use of much ornamentation, particularly bending tones.

Origins: The bawu likely has its origins in the Yunnan Province of southwest China. It has become a standard instrument throughout China. The bawu is currently enjoying a popularity outside of its traditional roles.

Traditionally the bawu is closely associated with Indigenous peoples who live in Yunnan China, primarily the Hmong, Yi, Hani and other minority cultures in southwestern China. It is typically used as a solo instrument, and is often featured in film scores; it is sometimes also heard in popular music recordings.

Tuning: The bawu typically has a range of an eleventh: on an instrument in G according to Chinese custom, the note with three upper finger holes down this range is from B to E. The range is often misreported as a ninth, omitting two under-blown notes. Instruments with mechanical keys are available. Usually not in natural bamboo whose irregular shape would complicate construction], which expands the range upwards, or upwards and downwards a few notes.

For a diatonic scale, the lower two notes are in the fundamental mode of the reed, and the rest of the range is overblown, exciting the vibratory mode of the resonating pipe. The lowest scale degree, and the lowest overblown note are a minor third apart and fingered the same way; this unusually narrow overblowing behaviour suggests the instrument has some irregular overtones outside of the standard harmonic series.

Construction: The bawu is a free-reed aerophone with a cylindrical bore, made of a tube of bamboo closed off at one end by a natural node. Near the closed end, a small square hole is cut and a thin reed of bronze or copper is fastened, with a low plastic or bone mouthpiece around it. This reed is essentially a very thin sheet of metal with a long and narrow isosceles triangle cut into it, which is bent slightly outwards at rest.

When the instrument is blown, this thin triangle moves back and forth rapidly through the space left in the metal sheet from which it was cut, like a swinging door. This vibration sets the air column in the instrument in rapid periodic motion, creating sound.

The mouth does not contact the reed. Seven or eight finger-holes are positioned 90 degrees out of line with the reed, though this is adjustable in the common two-piece instruments provided with a metal tenon.

Citations: Bibliography: Websites: Randy Raine-Reusch [bawu article] @ ;