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: Tanggu.
Type: Membranophones > Drums > Barrel.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 211.222.11
Bayin: 革 Gé leather.
Country: China.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: The tanggu [in Chinese: 堂鼓; pinyin: tánggǔ, pronounced [tʰɑ̌ŋkù]; the literal transition is “ceremonial hall drum” sometimes spelt as “tang gu”. It is a traditional Chinese drum from the 19th century. The Tanggu is known as “Tonggu”. During the Qing Dynasty, it was called “Zhanggu”. Orchestral works which uses the Tanggu includes Fisherman’s Song of the East China Sea and The General’s Commands.

Playing Techniques: The pitch and tone of the sound produced are not definite. It depends on the strength and which part of the drum skin is being hit.

Construction: Being a medium-sized barrel shaped with two heads on either side of stretched animal skin. It is played with two sticks. The tanggu is usually suspended by four rings in a wooden stand. There are two types of Tanggu – the Xiao Tanggu and the Da Tanggu. The only difference is that the Xiao Tanggu is smaller in size, and thus produces a higher pitch sound.

Citations: Bibliography: Citations: Bibliography: Jones, Stephen 1995 Folk Music of China: Living Instrumental Traditions. Oxford: Oxford University Press ; Lam, Joseph S. C. 1995 “The yin and yang of Chinese Music Historiography: The Case of Confucian Ceremonial Music,” Yearbook for Traditional Music 27: 34-51 ; Thrasher, Alan R. 1984 “Tanggu.” NGDMI v.3: 522 ; Websites: Grinnell College Musical Instrument Collection ~ Tan Gu ; dbpedia / tanggu drum ;


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 ;


Name: Sho.
Type: Aerophones > Free > Reeds > Gourds.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 412.132
Country: Japan.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: The shō [in Japanese, Kanji 笙 shō] is a Japanese free reed musical instrument that was introduced from China during the Nara period [AD 710 to 794]. It is descended from the Chinese sheng, although the shō tends to be smaller in size.

It consists of 17 slender bamboo pipes, each of which is fitted in its base with a metal free reed. Two of the pipes are silent, although research suggests that they were used in some music during the Heian period.

The shō is one of the three primary woodwind instruments used in gagaku, Japan’s imperial court music. Its traditional playing technique in gagaku involves the use of tone clusters called aitake [合竹], which move gradually from one to the other, providing accompaniment to the melody. A larger size of shō, called u [derived from the Chinese yu], is little used, although some performers, such as Hiromi Yoshida, began to revive it in the late 20th century.

The instrument’s sound is said to imitate the call of a phoenix, and it is for this reason that the two silent pipes of the shō are kept—as an aesthetic element, making two symmetrical “wings”. Like the Chinese sheng, the pipes are tuned carefully with a drop of bees wax.

As moisture collected in the shō’s pipes prevents it from sounding, performers can be seen warming the instrument over a small charcoal brazier when they are not playing. The instrument produces sound when the player’s breath is inhaled or exhaled, allowing long periods of uninterrupted play.

Citations: Bibliography: S. Kshibe and L. Traynor: ‘On the Four Unknown Pipes of Sho’, Toyo gakuho xxx, 1952 ; Sho and the Gagaku ; W. P. Malm, Japanese Music and Musical Instruments – Rutland, Vermont, 1959 ; [court orchestra music] Music of a Thousand Autumns; By Robert Garfias ; Websites: Randy Raine-Reusch @ [sho article] ;


The shawm [in IPA: /ʃɔːm/] is a conical bore, double-reed woodwind instrument made in Europe from the 12th century to the present day. It achieved its peak of popularity during the medieval and Renaissance periods, after which it was gradually eclipsed by the oboe family of descendant instruments in classical music.

It is likely to have come to Western Europe from the Eastern Mediterranean around the time of the Crusades. Double-reed instruments similar to the shawm were long present in Southern Europe and the East, for instance the Ancient Greek and later Byzantine, aulos, the Persian sorna and the Armenian duduk.

The body of the shawm is usually turned from a single piece of wood, and terminates in a flared bell somewhat like that of a trumpet. Beginning in the 16th century, shawms were made in several sizes, from sopranino to great bass, and four and five-part music could be played by a consort consisting entirely of shawms. All later shawms [excepting the smallest] have at least one key allowing a downward extension of the compass; the key-work is typically covered by a perforated wooden cover called the fontanelle.

The bassoon-like double reed, made from the same arundo donax cane used for oboes and bassoons, is inserted directly into a socket at the top of the instrument, or in the larger types, on the end of a metal tube called the bocal. The pirouette, a small wooden attachment with a cavity in the center resembling a thimble, surrounds the lower part of the reed—this provides support for the lips and embouchure.


Name: Lusheng.
Type: Aerophones > Free > Reeds > Gourds.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 412.132
Bayin: 竹 bamboo.
Country: Yunnan, China.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: The lusheng is a free-reed mouth organ played by Dong, Hmong and other related minority peoples of Yunnan, China. The Chinese lusheng is a version of the Lao gaeng differing in size and construction materials.

Traditional lusheng had six bamboo pipes that were set into a bamboo or wooden wind chamber. Their size ranged from 1/3 of a metre, approx. 1 foot to 3 to 4 metres, 3 to 4 yards.

Often they were played in ensembles of unison instruments, or of varying sizes and pitches, at festivals and village celebrations. Recent innovations to the lusheng have been in response to Chinese government ideologies, resulting in more pipes in order to play more complex music, and a set pitch to play with other instruments.

As a result there are now professional lusheng players performing orchestral repertoires that bear no resemblance to the traditional village music.

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


Name: Mbuat.
Type: Aerophones > Free > Reeds > Gourds.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 412.132
Country: Vietnam.
Region: South East Asia.

Description: The mbuat is a free-reed mouth organ of the Mnong People of Vietnam. Played as a solo instrument or in small ensembles, it was commonly used for expressing courtship between a man and woman.

The mbuat is very similar in form to ancient Chinese free reed mouth organs. The early Chinese instruments show gourds having six or seven holes for pipes arranged in two parallel rows exactly the same as the mbuat.

Construction: Other instruments of a similar construction found in the region include the kupuot of the Raglai people of Vietnam, and the plung of the Murung people of Bangladesh. It is interesting to note that the plung is often played in large ensembles of instruments of varying sizes and the sound is surprisingly similar to the lusheng ensembles of southern China.

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


Please note: I am adding these links to as an educational resource further broaden the resources with in world music that are appropriate to my site. Requests to be added to my site will be declined. This is out of a caution to not appear to be promoting something unintentionally.

This site does utilise google books and google patents to provide additional sourcing for documenting the origins of some instruments such as a patent number in file, particularly those considered to be inventions.

~ Graeme, Gibson.

Arabic Musical Instruments @

Debashish Bhattacharya @

Duduk @

Excavated Shellac @

Gregg Miner @

Grove Music Online @

Henry De Bruin @

John Pappas @

Jaron Lanier @



Palmer Keen @

Randy Raine-Reusch @

Ragabase @

Mouth Bow

The musical bow, bowstring or string bow is a simple string musical instrument part of a number of South African cultures, also found in other places in the world through the result of slave trade. It consists of a flexible, usually wooden, stick 1.5 m to 10 ft [0.5 in to 3 m] long, and strung end to end with a taut cord, usually metal.

The mouth bow, can be played with the hands or a wooden stick or branch. Often, a mouth bow is a normal archery bow used for playing music. Types of bow are different mouth-resonated string bow, earth-resonated string bow, gourd-resonated string bow, bridged string bow, spiked fiddle and bowed trough fiddle.

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