Hulusi

Name: Hulusi.
Type: Free Reed > Aerophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 412.132
Pa Yin: 匏 Gourd.
Specimen: 1 in collection.
Acquisition Source: Randy Raine-Reusch, China.
Country: China.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: The hulusi [in traditional: 葫蘆絲; simplified: 葫芦丝; pinyin: húlúsī]. This instrument is also known as cucurbit, 筚 叨 叨, “筚” is the Han Chinese name applied to this instrument. “朗” and “叨”.

Etymology: The instrument’s Han Chinese “hulusi” name comes from the words hulu, meaning “gourd” and si, meaning “silk” referring to the instrument’s smooth tone. The same name of this musical instrument in Thai language is ปี่น้ําเต้า and “勒勒” in Weng Achang language.

The instrument is called pi lamtao in the Dai [Tai Nuea] language; Pi namtao in Lue language; in the Khun language Sipsong Panna; Kengtung in the Yuan, Lao language and Thai language language in [Northern Thailand]. in the Bai language “Hong Liao” is a common slang name for this musical instrument. Hong Lao also means gourd.

Development: Single pipe hulusi are rare, with two or three pipe instruments being the most common. One pipe is a melody pipe with seven holes, including the thumbhole, and the other pipes are drone pipes, which are sometimes stopped with bits of wax or cloth.

In 1958, a fourteen-note version was invented, and in the 1970’s a version with two melody pipes, tuned a fourth apart, was invented. The instrument on the left has two drones while the instrument on the right only has one. Advanced configurations have keyed finger holes similar to a clarinet or oboe, which can greatly extend the range of the hulusi to several octaves.

Construction: The hulusi is assembled from a gourd, plastic fitting to hold the three bamboo pipes in place. And an adjustable clamp with a screw to keep the three tubes held in place. The centre drone is considered the main playing pipe. It is where the finger-holes are drilled in. The other two pipes function as drones.

Citations: Randy Raine-Reusch @ [Hulusi article] asza.com

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