Tag Archives: Free



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 @ asza.com [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 @ asza.com [dja mblai 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] @ asza.com ;


Name: Keluri.
Type: Aerophones > Free > Reeds > Gourds.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 412.132
Country: Borneo, Malaysia.
Region: South East Asia.
Specimen: 1 in collection.
Acquisition Source: Randy Raine-Reusch @ asza.com.

Description: The keluri or keledi, and the enkulurai are extremely rare bamboo free-reed mouth organs found in North Western, Borneo. These instruments bare a remarkable resemblance to the hulusheng, but they contain 6 pipes instead of five.

The pipes do not pierce the bottom of the gourd. The keluri or keledi is played by the Orang Ulu or ‘upriver people’ of the interior of Borneo, and the enkulurai is played by the Iban people who live in the lowlands close to the coast.

Usage: Traditionally keluri were played for ‘long dances’ that were associated with the rituals around headhunting, but with the disappearance of headhunting in the region. These instruments are now seldom played or made. There are still a few elder players able to perform, but their music will likely disappear within a decade.

Construction: Both these instruments are made with a made a gourd wind chamber from which extend six bamboo pipes containing a bamboo or occasionally metal free-reed. The only difference in the construction is that the longest pipe on the Iban instruments is twice the length of the Orang Ulu keluri. Some Iban instruments reach over 6 feet or 1.8 metre in length, while the average instrument is only two feet in length.

Citations: Discography: Websites: Randy Raine-Reusch @ asza.com [keluri article] ;


Name: Naw.
Type: Aerophones > Free > Reeds > Gourds.
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 @ asza.com.

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

Types: 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.

Playing Techniques: The naw has five pipes grouped in a circular cluster, whose open ends appear flush with the bottom of the gourd wind chamber. This allows the musician to “bend” the notes by slowly covering the ends of the pipes with the right thumb while playing.

The technique for this instrument is difficult, and 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.

Citations: Websites: Randy Raine-Reusch @ asza.com [naw article] ;


Name: Sheng.
Type: Aerophones > Free > Reeds > Gourds.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 412.132
Bayin: 匏 Gourd.
Country: China.
Region: Far East Asia.

Descriptions: It is one of the oldest Chinese instruments, with images depicting its kind dating back to 1100 BCE. And there are actual instruments from the Han era that have been preserved today. Traditionally, the sheng has been used as an accompaniment instrument for solo suona or dizi performances. It is one of the main instruments in kunqu and some other forms of Chinese opera.

Traditional small ensembles also make use of the sheng, such as the wind and percussion ensembles in northern China. In the modern large Chinese orchestra, it is used for both melody and accompaniment. The sheng is now mainly identified with the Han culture [presently the dominant culture] of China, but can be found in a number of similar forms within some of China’s minority cultures.

Origins: Its age is unknown, but it can be seen in pictographs dating from 1200 BC with a gourd wind chamber, and looks very similar to the current southern Chinese and northern Thai naw. The sheng was traditionally used in court music, and there are many depictions of the ancient sheng, known then as yu, on the wall paintings of the Dunghuang caves from the 7th and 8th Centuries.

It was during this period that the sheng traveled to many of the courts of Asia and according to some references, possibly even Persia in the 10th century. It is documented that it didn’t reach Europe until 1777 with Pere Amiot and its influence was so strong that it resulted in the invention of the reed organ, concertina, harmonica and accordion.

Development: Development took hold during the early 20th century onwards for improving the design of sheng. That enhanced its sound and volume as well as increasing its range. Early changes were made by Zheng Jinwen [鄭覲文, 1872–1935] who increased the number of pipes to 32, expanding its range and allowing it to play harmony and chords.

The air chamber and size of the pipes were also enlarged, changing the tone colour of the instrument. Later various changes were also introduced by players such as Weng Zhenfa [翁鎮發] and particularly Hu Tianquan [胡天泉], with different variants of the instrument produced.

Citations: Bibliography: Alan R. Thrasher ; Websites: Sheng / Grove Music Online ;


Name: Hulusi.
Type: Aerophones > Free > Reeds > Gourds.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 412.132
Bayin: 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: Bibliography: Websites: Randy Raine-Reusch @ asza.com [Hulusi article] ;


The air-stream is interrupted periodically

412.1 Idiophonic interruptive aerophones or reeds – The air-stream is directed against a lamella, setting it in periodic vibration to interrupt the stream intermittently. In this group also belong reeds with a ‘cover,’ i.e. a tube in which the air vibrates only in a secondary sense, not producing the sound but simply adding roundness and timbre to the sound made by the reed’s vibration; generally recognizable by the absence of finger-holes.

412.11 Concussion reeds – Two lamellae make a gap which closes periodically during their vibration.

412.12 Percussion reeds – A single lamella strikes against a frame.

412.121 Independent percussion reeds.

412.122 Sets of percussion reeds. – Earlier organs

412.13 Free-reed instruments feature a reed which vibrates within a closely fitting slot. There may be an attached pipe, but it should only vibrate in sympathy with the reed, and not have an effect on the pitch – instruments of this class can be distinguished from

422.3 by the lack of finger-holes.

412.131 Individual free reeds.

412.131 Individual free reeds – Bawu, Party Horn, Pitch-Pipes.
412.132 Sets of free reeds.

Party horn
Pitch pipe
412.132 Sets of free reeds.

Accordica [mouth organ]
Accordina [instrument]
Accordolin [mouth organ]
Reed organ
Vibrandoneon [instrument]

412.2 Non-idiophonic interruptive instruments.

412.14 Band reed instruments – The air hits the sharp edge of a band under tension. The acoustics of this instrument have so far not been investigated.

412.21 Rotating aerophones the interruptive agent rotates in its own plane and does not turn on its axis.

412.22 Siren, Bull-Roarer & Corrugaphone – Whirling aerophones, the interruptive agent turns on its axis.