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Hulusi / Bilangdao

2. 2. 2008



Hulusi with tow drons and bell
  Hulusi or Bilangdao

The hulusi is a single pipe free-reed instrument found in Yunnan, China that is related to the Chinese bawu, the Thai pi joom, and numerous other instruments like the dja mblai found through Vietnam and Laos. The hulusi is made of one to four bamboo pipes that have a small brass or silver reed inserted flush with the side of the pipe, and then surrounded by a gourd or brass (on modern instruments) wind chamber.

The hulusi originally came from the Dai-zu or Dai (Thai) minority of southern China, but can now be found played by a number of the surrounding minority peoples including the Jin Po and the Wa. The name hulusi is a Han term with "hulu" meaning gourd, while the Dai call it a bilangdao which literally translates as "an end blown pi, surrounded by a gourd".

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.

The sound of the hulusi is hauntingly beautiful, but fairly soft, and as a result is seldom played in ensembles. The Dai men would play it to express their love to women, while other minorities often played the hulusi in the fields when taking a break from planting or harvesting.

Country: China
Region: Asia
Type: Free-reed
Collection: Randy Raine-Reusch
Groups: Mei Han and Randy Raine-Reusch

  Hulusi - free reed pipe from southern China


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A hulusi











A hulusi

The hulusi (traditional: 葫蘆絲; simplified: ; pinyin: húlúsī) is a free reed wind instrument from China. It is held vertically and has three bamboo pipes which pass through a gourd wind chest; one pipe has finger holes and the other two are drone pipes.

The hulusi was originally used primarily in the Yunnan province by the Dai and other non-Han ethnic groups but is now played throughout China, and hulusi are manufactured in such northern cities as Tianjin. Like the related free reed pipe called bawu, the hulusi has a very pure, clarinet-like sound.

Although the hulusi is still predominantly performed in China, it has in recent years been adopted by European composers and performers. Rohan Leach from England; Rapheal De Cock from Belgium and Herman Witkam from the Netherlands have all taken the instrument in new directions.

A similar instrument called hulusheng is a mouth organ with a gourd wind chest.



[edit] Etymology

The instrument's name comes from the Chinese words hulu, meaning "gourd," and si, meaning "silk" (referring to the instrument's smooth tone).[1] The instrument is called bilangdao in the Dai language.[2]

[edit] External links

[edit] Video

[edit] Listening

[edit] See also




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