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date: 14 November 2019


  • Henry Johnson


Transverse flute of Japan. The name refers to the origin of the instrument: koma (Japanese term for ancient Korea); bue/fue (flute). It is also known as hosobue (thin flute) and kure no yokobue (side-blown flute). The komabue is the shortest of several similar flutes (e.g. ryūteki and kagurabue) and sounds a whole toner higher than the ryūteki and two tones higher than the kagurabue. It has six fingerholes and is made of a bamboo tube about 37 cm long with a diameter of about 9 mm, wrapped (except for the areas immediately around the holes) with kaba, wire-like cherry tree bark, and then lacquered, Red lacquer coats the bore and around each hole. The tube is balanced by inserting lead into the head, the end of which is plugged with wood and covered with green or blue decorative cloth. Beeswax seals the inside of that end. Some parts of the instrument have zoomorphic names, such as the ...

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