Ohe Hano Ihu

Name: Ohe Hano Ihu.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Nose.
Hornbostel Sachs No#: 421.121.12
Country: Hawaii, USA
Region: Pacific Ocean.

Description: The ohe hano ihu [translation from Hawaiian: hereafter ‘ohe] is an end-blown nose flute aerophone of the Hawaiian people. Traditionally the Ohe Hano Ihu was used in the rendering of courtship, love poetry. A practice perhaps evolving from the origin myths which a prince was taught how to make and play the ohe’ by a god, played it to attract the attention of a princes. This practice died along ago, with the arrival of missionaries to the Hawaiian islands in the 19th century. The profound changes to traditional Hawaiian culture than ensued.

Repertoire: The ‘ohe was most often played as a solo instrument, the performer supposedly imitating the melodic contour of 2, 3 and four tone mele ho’oipipo [love chants]. However, Tartar [1979: 272] reports that at least in the early 19th century it was used in combination with the membranophone pahu to accompany hula.

Today the ‘ohe is still made and easily procurable at hula supply stores, Hawaiian craft fairs, and tourist venues. They are sold as a symbol of ancient Hawaiian culture or as a novelty. It is occasionally heard on commercial recordings of contemporary Hawaiian popular music.

Construction: This ‘ohe is a length of bamboo 29.21 cm / 11.5 inches with a broad cylindrical bore with an internal diameter of 3.5 cm / 1.4 inches, cut in such a manner as to leave one end closed by a natural node, the other open. The blowhole is located on the sidewall near the closed end, and three finger holes are located further down the body of the flute with a gap of 1.2 inches between them.

Citations: Bibliography: Nathaniel Emerson B. 1909 Unwritten Literature of Hawaii: The Sacred Songs of the Hula. Washington, D.C – Government Printing Office ; Hiroa, Te Rangi [Peter H. Buck] 1964 – Arts and Crafts of Hawaii – IX: Musical Instruments. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press ; McLean, Mervyn. 1999 – Weavers of Song: Polynesian Music and Dance – Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press ; Roberts, Helen H. 1967. Ancient Hawaiian Music. New York: Dover Publications, Inc ; Elizabeth Tartar 1979. “Ohe hano ihu,” in Kanahele, George S. Hawaiian Music and Musicians. Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii, pp. 270-272 ; Websites: Asza.com / Ohe Hano Ihu ; Grinnell Instrument Collection / Ohe Hano Ihu – Hawaiian Nose Flute ;

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