Name: Naw.
Type: Free Reed > Aerophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 412.132
Country: Yunnan China & Golden Triangle area, Thailand.
Region: South East Asia.
Specimen: 1 in collection.
Acquisition Source: Randy Raine-Reusch @

Description: The naw is a free reed aerophone found in Southern China and the mountainous Golden Triangle area. The naw or hulusheng [which literally means gourd sheng] is perhaps the one of the oldest members of the sheng family. There are two types of hulusheng found in the region: the raft type where the pipes are arranged in two rows, like the Vietnamese mbuat, and the bundle type where the pipes are arranged in a circle like the naw.

Usage: The naw is played by a number of the “Hill tribes” or minority peoples of the region, including the Yi, Lahu and Lisu peoples.

Playing Techniques: Due to the design and construction of the naw; the musician is able to “bend” notes. Circular breathing is utilized. The resulting music is very lively and quite loud, in spite of the bamboo reeds. Traditionally this instrument also played a coded language, which was used for unmarried people to converse with.

Construction: The naw has five pipes grouped in a circular cluster, whose open ends appear flush with the bottom of the gourd wind chamber.


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