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date: 27 January 2020


  • Alan R. Thrasher


Free-reed aerophone of the Miao (Hmong), Dai, Yi, Hani, and other minority cultures of southwestern China. Bawu is a Chinese name believed to be borrowed from Miao language; local names include bi (Dai), meiba (Hani), and jifeili (Yi). The Thai pī saw is a related instrument. The bawu is constructed from a tube of bamboo about 30 cm or longer, closed at the blowing end by a natural node, open at the bottom. Near the closed end a small rectangular opening is carved through the side of the bamboo and a free reed of bamboo or bronze secured over the opening—traditionally with beeswax, nowadays with other adhesives. This reed is similar to the rectangular free reed of the sheng mouth organ, except that the bawu tongue is essentially in the form of a steep gradient triangle, in which the two long sides are of equal length (c1.5 cm) and the attached base is very small (...

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