Tag Archives: Duct



Name: Bumpachu.
Type: Aerophones > Flute > Duct.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.211.12
Country: Sikkim, India.
Regions: South Asia.

Description: End blown bamboo duct flute of the Lepcha people of Sikkim, North India. Approximately 13 cm in length; the bumpachu is only about 9 cm in length and 2 cm in diameter. It is made of wood or bamboo.

Playing Techniques: In playing the bumpachu, tonguing the upper edge of the top hole while blowing across it and moving the instrument back and forth on the lower lip. The fingers of the right hand also play trills on the open lower end.

Usage: Bumpachu were first made and used by hunters for signalling in the dense forest without making a human sound that would scare off the animals. Later, hunters began imitating birdcalls, and a repertoire of patterns evolved. Variations to the instrument include having one hole in the middle of the pipe or sometimes moving a finger in and out of the open distal end in order to change the pitch, Birdcalls etc.

Citations: Bibliography: Elaine Dobson ~ Grove Music Online ;


Name: Salamuri.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Duct.
Hornbostel Sachs No#: 421.211.12
Country: Georgia.
Region: Caucasus.

Description: The Salamuri [in Georgian: სალამური Salamuri] is a Georgian, recorder-like instrument. One player can sometimes play two salamuris at once by using either hand.

The salamuri is a widespread wind musical instrument found in all regions of Georgia; especially in Kartli, Kakheti, Meskheti, Tusheti, Pshavi, and Imereti). Relics obtained from archaeological excavations prove the existence of the salamuri in Georgia during ancient times. Among the relics found by an archaeological expedition in Mtskheta [Eastern part of Georgia]. A bone pipe, found in 1938 at the northern section of Samtavro’s sepulchre. This salamuri is made of swan [shin] bone.

This instrument is a Fipple or duct flute in the same family as the recorder. In 1930 a bone salamuri [flute] was found together with other things in ancient burials of Samtavro in Mtskheta. Supposedly it dates back to the 15th-13th centuries B.C. and has only three small keys on the front side. The surface of the instrument is well polished. Its length is 19,9 cm. The size of blowing part is 1,1 cm and the bottom’s part is 1,8 cm.

It was found along with the remains of a 14-15 year old boy in a grave. Many other things were also put there: earthenware, crockery, arms, clothes, a talisman and so on. It is worthy of note that there were sheep bones, a bull’s head and feet bones there as well. On account of this the guide of the expedition the academician Iv. Djavakhishvili called it “The grave of a little shepherd”.

The examination of sepulchre dated it back to the 12th-11th century B.C. And if taken into consideration the instrument’s well developed design, it should have been widely spread in Georgia a long time before then. Bone-pipes [salamuris] were also found in the monastery at Uplistsikhe.



Name: Txistu.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Duct.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.211.12
Country: Leioa [Biscay], Spain.
Region: Western Europe & Iberian Peninsula.

Description: The txistu [Basque pronunciation in IPA: ˈtʃis̺tu] it is a duct flute that became a symbol for the Basque folk revival.

Etymology: The name may stem from the general Basque word ziztu “to whistle” with palatalization of the z [cf zalaparta > txalaparta]. This three-hole pipe can be played with one hand, leaving the other one free to play a percussion instrument.

History: Evidence of the txistu first mentioned as such goes back to 1864. Although it was used earlier it was not easy to establish when it first began. The txistu being the result of an evolution of the upright flutes widespread as early as the Late Middle Ages, when minstrels scattered all over the Iberian Peninsula brought in instruments that locals, noblemen first and common people later took on and developed.

At the beginning, txistu players [txistularis] were named in romance written records after the tabor [pipe and tabor were played together]: tamborer, tamborino, tambolín, tamborín, tamboril, músico tamboril, tamborilero, tamboriltero. However, when named after the flute, they are called in Spanish pífano, silbato, silbo, silbo vizcaíno or chilibistero.

The three-hole flute was played by people in much of Spain and Western Europe. Recordings of the Basque names came later; txilibitu, txirula, txirola, txürula, txulula, txilibitulari, txilibistari. Whilst some instrument fell into decay, from the Renaissance on the three-hole flute raised in its profile increasingly took on the length as we not it today [42 cm] in Basque Country.

In contrast, the [t]xirula, the version that prevailed on the eastern Basque Country Soule, Labourd and Navarre remained shorter in size. At that point, three-hole flutes were made of wood despite some instances of flutes made in bone.

The oldest txistu melodies were in Mixolydian mode in G. It is the same as the seventh mode in Gregorian chanting. More recently composed songs are still in G major, but in either natural or sharp F or, more rarely C. There are exceptions, however, in major F melodies with natural B.

Citations: Bibliography: Websites: The Txistu and the Txistularis article in Spanish from Wayback Machine [site] ;


Name: Suling.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Duct.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.211.12
Country: Indonesia, Philippines.
Region: South East Asia.

Description: A suling or Seruling is a Southeast Asian bamboo ring flute especially in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore. It is used in gamelan ensembles. Depending on the regional genre, a suling can be tuned into different scales.

The following regions where the suling is found include Borneo, Bali, Java [Central Java], Maluku, Sunda [West Java] throughout Indonesia. It is also found in in neighbouring Malaysian peninsula including Singapore, Mindanao and Sulu Philippines.

In Brunei, the suling today is played during a cultural festival and other events together with other Bruneian traditional instruments especially the Gulintangan. While in East Malaysia, especially in Sabah with a wide variety of aerophones. the instrument is played by all the interior ethnic groups in the state of Kadazan-Dusun, Murut, Rungus and Lun Bawang / Lundayeh. In Sarawak, the suling is mostly played by men in a Dayak people longhouse.

The Maguindanaon suling is the smallest bamboo flute of the Maguindanaon and the only one classified as a ring-flute the other two bamboo flutes of the Maguindanaon, the tumpong and the palendag are both open-ended flutes. Traditionally only the palendag was commonly played but because of the difficult nature of playing the palendag.

Both the tumpong and the suling have come to replace the palendag as the Maguindanaon’s most common aerophones. Also called suling by the Tausug, Yakan, B’laan and Tiruray. Other names for the suling include the lantey [Ata], kinsi [Bukidnon], dagoyong [Higanon] and a babarak [Palawan].

Playing Techniques: Air is passed through the suling via a blowing hole found at the bottom of the instrument and pitch is controlled via five finger holes on the top and one finger hole located on the bottom. Fingering position and speed of airflow through the duct determine the tone.

The wavelength of the sound resonance is altered by the fingering when the instrument is being played. In Sudanese music the playing techniques here are accentuated with grace notes. Such effects are named as wiwiw, keleter, lelol, gebos, petit, jengkat and betrik.

Tunings: Sulings usually have four or six finger holes. The 6-holed Sundanese suling can play at least three different scales.

Suling Scales
Names Solfeggio Notes
Pelog Degung Da Mi Na Ti La Da C B G F B C
Madenda or Sorog Da Mi Na Ti La Da  F B C A F
Salendro D C G F D

Pelog Degung: The pelog degung Da Mi Na Ti La Da or as represented in intervals, 1 2 3 4 5 1 nearly corresponds to do si sol fa mi do or 1′ 7 5 4 3 1  or C B G F B C in the Western diatonic scale.

Madenda or Sorog: Da Mi Na Ti La Da 1 2 3 4 5 1 nearly similar to fa mi do si la fa 4’ 3’ 1’ 7 6 4 or F B C A F in the

Salendro:  1 2 3 4 5 1 nearly identical to the western diatonic scale Re Do La Sol Fa Re 2′ 1′ 6 5 4 2 or D C G F D in the Western diatonic scale.

Mandalungan: a rarely used scale

Construction: Sulings are made from a species of bamboo “tamiang bamboo” [Schizostachyum blumei, Nees].

Citations: Bibliography: Awang Mohd. Zain Jamil Al-Sufri [1990] ; Tarsilah Brunei: sejarah awal dan perkembangan Islam [in Malay]. Jabatan Pusat Sejarah Kementerian Kebudayaan, Belia, dan Sukan. Keat Gin Ooi [1 January 2004]. Southeast Asia: A Historical Encyclopedia, from Angkor Wat to East Timor. ABC-CLIO. pp. 923–. ISBN 978-1-57607-770-2 ;


Name: Shialtish.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.211.12
Country: Mari El, Russian Federation.
Region: Volga, Ural Region, Eurasia.

Description: The shialtish wooden duct flute of the Mari people who live in Volga-Ural region in the Russian Federation. The flute is made from the stem of an angelica plant or wood. It has two to five finger holes and it is 40 cm to 60 cm in length. Formerly very widespread. It was sometimes used as a bird lure.

Citations: Bibliography: New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments Page 372 Shepor ; Websites:


Name: Recorder.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Duct.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.221.12
Country: Many.
Region: Continental Europe, Global.

Description: The recorder [in German: Blockflöte], [in Italian: Flauto dolce or Flauto diritto], [in French: Flûte à bec or Flûte douce], [in Spanish: Flauta dulce or Flauta de pico] is a woodwind musical instrument in the group known as internal duct flutes. Internal duct flutes are flutes with a whistle-like mouthpiece in who the air when played is split by a labium.

A recorder can be distinguished from other duct flutes by the presence of a thumb-hole for the upper hand and seven finger-holes: three for the upper hand and four for the lower. It is the most prominent duct flute in western classical music.

History: The recorder is first documented in Europe during the Middle Ages. The recorder continued to enjoy wide popularity from the renaissance and baroque periods. The recorder was little used during the classical and later romantic periods. It was revived in the 20th century as part of the historically informed performance movement, and became a popular amateur and educational instrument.

Repertoire: Composers who have written for the recorder include Monteverdi, Lully, Purcell, Handel, Vivaldi, Telemann, Johann Sebastian Bach, Paul Hindemith, Benjamin Britten, Leonard Bernstein, Luciano Berio and Arvo Pärt. Today, there are many professional recorder players who demonstrate the instrument’s full solo range and a large community of amateurs.

Features: Recorders are available in various different sizes. They are classified according to the differing vocal ranges, soprano [the highest pitch], alto, tenor and bass. The soprano C5 the lowest note aka “decant”, the alto aka “Treble” note F4, the tenor lowest note C4 and bass C5 the lowest note in the recorder family.

Historic Recorders: Recorder consorts in the 16th century were tuned in fifths and only occasionally employed tuning by octaves as seen in the modern C / F recorder consort. This means that consorts could be composed of instruments nominally in B♭flat / F / C / G / D / A and E. Although typically only three or four distinct sizes were used simultaneously.

To use modern terminology, these recorders were treated as transposing instruments: Consorts would be read identically to a consort made up of F3 / C4 and G4 instruments.  This is made possible by the fact that adjacent sizes are separated by fifths, with few exceptions. These parts would be written using chiavi naturali, allowing the parts to roughly fit in the range of a single staff, and also in the range of the recorders of the period.

Transpositions [“registers”] such as C3 / G3 / D4 / G3 / D4 / A4 or B♭2 / F3 / C4 all read as F3 / C4 / G4 instruments. This was possible as described by Praetorius in his Syntagma Musicum. Three sizes of instruments could be used to play four-part music by doubling the middle size, e.g. F3 / C4 / C4 / G4 or play six-part music by doubling the upper size and tripling the middle size, e.g. F3 / C4 / C4 / C4 / G4 / G4

Modern nomenclature for such recorders refers to the instruments relationship to the other members of consort, rather than their absolute pitch, which may vary. The instruments from lowest to highest are called “great bass”, “bass”, “basset”, “tenor”, “alto”, and “soprano”. Potential sizes include: great bass in F2; bass in B♭2 or C3; basset in F3 or G3; tenor in C4 or D4; alto in F4 / G4 or A4 and soprano in C5 or D5.

The alto in F4 is the standard recorder of the Baroque, although there is a small repertoire written for other sizes. In 17th-century England, smaller recorders were named for their relationship to the alto and notated as transposing instruments with respect to it: third flute [A4] fifth flute [soprano; C5] sixth flute [D5] and octave flute [sopranino; F5]. The term flute du quart, or fourth flute [B♭4] was used by Charles Dieupart. Although curiously he treated it as a transposing instrument in relation to the soprano rather than the alto.

In Germanic countries, the equivalent of the same term, Quartflöte, was applied both to the tenor in C4, the interval being measured down from the alto in F4 and to a recorder in C5 [soprano], the interval of a fourth apparently being measured up from an alto in G4. Recorder parts in the Baroque were typically notated using the treble clef, although they may also be notated in French violin clef [G clef on the bottom line of the staff].

Construction: Recorders are traditionally constructed from wood and ivory, while most recorders made in recent years are constructed from molded plastic. The acoustic properties and design features of the recorder may vary from maker to maker. The bore is generally a reverse conical manner, tapering towards the foot to cylindrical. All recorder fingering systems make extensive use of forked fingerings.

Citations: Bibliography: Michael Praetorius / Syntagma Musicum written in 1620 to 1640 [historic text] ; The Recorder: A Research and Information Guide ~ By Richard W. Griscom, David Lasocki [google books]; Websites: Grove Music Online [Recorder Article]

Pipe & Tabor

Name: Pipe & Tabor.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Duct.
Hornbostel-Sachs No: 421.221.12
Country: Spain, Many.
Region: Western Europe & European continent.

Description: The Pipe and tabor is a pair of instruments played by a single player. This musical instrument consists of a three-hole pipe played with one hand and a small drum played with the other. The tabor [drum] hangs on the performer’s left arm or around the neck. Leaving the hands free to beat the drum with a stick in the right hand and play the pipe with thumb and first two fingers of the left hand.

History: Mersenne mentions a virtuoso, John Price, who could rise to the twenty-second on the galoubet. Praetorius mentions and illustrates three sizes of the Stamentienpfeiff, the treble [50.8 cm / 20 inches in length], the tenor [66.04 cm / 26 inches in length] and the bass [76.2 cm / 30 inches] the last being played by means of a crook about [58.42 cm / 23 inches in length].

A specimen of the bass is held at the museum of the Brussels Conservatory, registering at the middle C for its lowest note. Three-pipes made from bone date back to the Middle Ages; such specimens have been found in England. There are images medieval tabor places in buildings. For example, York Minster, Lincoln Gloucester cathedrals and Tewksbury Abbey.

Citations: Bibliography: William Shakespeare 1598 Much Ado About Nothing. p. Act II, Scene 3 ; Praetorius, Organographia, being the second volume of his Syntagma Musici, 1618, where a figure is given in Plate IX. See Breitkopf and Hartel’s reprint of Praetorius, also Galpin’s Old English Instruments of Music, 1910 ; An Address to a Society of Morris Dancers, Oxford, February 12, 1914 by Sir Francis Darwin [Son of Sir Charles Darwin] site by Chris Brady; Anthony C. Baines, Hélène La Rue Websites: Grove Music Online / Pipe & Tabor 



Name: Pincullo.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Duct.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.211.12
Specimens: 1 in collection.
Country: Many.
Region: South Americas.

Description: The pincullo or pinkillu [in Quecha] is a short length flute having a closed fipple at the top of the instrument. This flute is played in Bolivia and Peru. Pincullo are played solo, or in ensemble often accompanied by percussion or stringed instruments or both depending on the region the pincullo is played. Usually having 6 to 7 finger holes.  

Citations: Bibliography: Websites: Websites / MIMO International ~ Musical Instrument Museums Online [Pincullo article] ; Metmuseum.org [Bolivian Pincullo] ; Waka Pincullo by J. Richard Haefer ~ Grove Music Online ;


Name: Moceños.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Duct.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.211.12
Specimen: 2 in collection.
Country: Bolivia & Peru.
Region: South America.
Acquisition Source: 1st specimen was acquired in Vancouver. 2nd specimen was acquired from Rene Hugo-Sanchez.

Description: The moceño is a wind instrument or aerophone of considerable size, built of wood from a large bush called “tuquru”. The moceño is also played Bolivia and in some neighbouring regions in southern Peru. These are the ones that are called “Senqa Tanqana” which in Quechua means “big nose” or “growing nose”. Although there are also specimens with a posterior hole to enrich their range.

Construction: The moceño is built with two tubes facing parallel to one another. The Moceño is held together by pitch and animal hide wrapped and tied together. Thus holding everything together in place.

Citations: Bibliography: Websites:

Low Whistle

Name: Low Whistle.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Duct.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.221.12
Country: Ireland, Many.
Region: Many, Ireland, Great Britain.

Description: The low whistle or concert whistle, is a variation of the traditional tin whistle / penny-whistle. It is distinguished from the tin-flute by its over all length and lower pitch. It is most closely associated with the performances of British and Irish artists such as Finbar Furey and his son Martin Furey, Old Blind Dogs, Michael McGoldrick, River-dance, Lunasa and Davy Spillane. The low-whistle is increasingly accepted as a featured musical-instrument in Celtic music.

History: The development of the low-whistle carried on through the its earlier traverse flute descendants since the 16th century. Modeled after the the earlier 16th century transverse flutes in terms of finger-holes, the inner diameter of the conical bore and over all shape of the instrument.

Hence, the expression “Irish low whistle” is not denoting an Irish origin, but just an intensive use of this instrument in Ireland and, because of cultural similarity, in the whole British archipelago. While before long several notable instrument maker were producing low whistles, it is usually the River-dance tour of the 1990s that is credited with giving the low whistle commercial exposure and recognition outside traditional music circles.

Development: English flute maker and jazz musician Bernard Overton is credited with producing the first modern low whistle in late 1971, which he made with Finbar Furey after Furey’s prized Indian bamboo whistle was destroyed while on tour. Unable to repair it, Overton attempted to produce a metal replica and Finbar and himself spent many hours in the shed at the back of Bernard’s house in Rugby, designing, testing and ultimately perfecting the flute.

Usage: It is often used for the playing of airs and slow melodies due to its haunting and delicate sound. However, it is also becoming used more often for the playing of Irish and British jigs, reels and hornpipes, it being easier to produce some ornamentation on the whistle, due to the size of the finger holes. Although the tone varies subtlety from maker to maker. It is generally characterized by a more breathy flute-like tone then traditional tin-whistles.

Varieties: The most common low whistle is the “Low D”, pitched one octave below the traditional D whistle. A whistle is generally classed as a low whistle if its lowest note is the G above middle C or lower. Whistles higher than this are termed “soprano” or “high” whistles when a distinction is necessary. Low whistles operate on the same principles

Playing Techniques: Generally fingered in the same way as traditional penny-whistles although for many, a “piper’s grip” may be required due to the distance between the holes. They belong to the same woodwind instrument family of end-blown fipple flutes.

Citations: Bibliography: “about the instruments”. Retrieved September 18, 2014. “Whistling Low: History”. Whistling Low. 2001 ; Hannigan, Steáfán & Ledsam, David 2006 ; The Low Whistle Book. SVM Publications. p. 96. Notes: Including, among others, Brian Howard, Phil Hardy, Colin Goldie, Dave Shaw [who pursued a rolled conical design] and Jon Swayne [a tune-able wooden design]  ;