Category Archives: Pipes



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 ;

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] @ ;