Gourd Mouth Organ

Posted 2013-1-18

 

A gourd mouth organ is a traditional wind instrument found in many nations of East and Southeast Asia. It is a free reed mouth organ similar to the Chinese sheng but with a windchest made from a dried bottle gourd rather than metal or wood. Its pipes (often five in number) are made of bamboo and it has free reeds that may be made of bamboo or metal.
 
Hulusheng Dance
In China, gourd mouth organs are referred to by the generic name hulusheng (葫芦笙). They are used as folk instruments by ethnic minorities such as the Lahu, Lisu, Akha, and Naxi, who have their own names for the instrument in their own languages; the instrument varies in construction and playing technique from ethnic group to ethnic group. It is found most frequently in China's southwestern province of Yunnan as well as in several other provinces of southern China.
 
 
Similar instruments are found in Thailand (where it is called naw among the Lahu, lachi among the Akha, and fulu among the Lisu), Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Vietnam (where it is called đing nǎm or m'buot), and Borneo. Open holes on the bottom of the pipes in some gourd mouth organs allow for the bending of tones. The lusheng of the Hmong, Miao, and Dong people has a similar name but its windchest is made from an elongated tube of wood rather than gourd.
 

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