- Alan R. Thrasher
Mouth organ of minority cultures of southwest China, notably the Yi, Lahu, and Lisu in Yunnan province. Hulu sheng (‘gourd mouth organ’) is a Han Chinese name. Local names include ang (Yi), nuo or naw (Lahu), and maniu (Lisu). The instrument is constructed from a dried bottle gourd (hulu) with its narrow neck serving as the blowpipe and its enlarged rounded bulb as the windchest. From four to seven (usually five) bamboo pipes of graduated length (c20 to 45 cm) are vertically inserted through holes in the upper and lower walls of the gourd and secured with beeswax. The pipes are open at their top and bottom ends, the bottoms sitting flush with the outside wall of the gourd where their openings serve as thumbholes. Enclosed within the gourd, a free reed assembly of bamboo or bronze is attached to each pipe with hardened beeswax. The reed frame is rectangular, but the reed can be rectangular or triangular. Above the windchest, each pipe has one fingerhole in its side. The reed is activated upon closing its fingerhole (which couples the pitch of the reed to that of the pipe) and alternately exhaling and inhaling through the blowpipe....