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date: 18 November 2019


  • Alan R. Thrasher


Conch horn of the Han Chinese and many Chinese minority peoples. The ancient Chinese name for this instrument is bei (‘shell’); other common names include hailuo (‘sea conch’), luojiao (‘conch horn’), and faluo (‘Buddhist conch’). The luohao (literally, ‘conch call’) is constructed from a shell roughly 20 to 35 cm long. The apex of the spiral is removed to form a mouthpiece or, rarely, a blowhole is pierced directly through one of the spiral walls near the apex. In performance the player vibrates his lips to produce a single resonant tone, the pitch of which is determined by the length and shape of the conical bore. Tang and Northern Song dynasty sources (7th to early 12th centuries) state that the instrument was introduced from the south, and that it was blown rhythmically, sometimes together with tongbo cymbals. Its presence in a number of Tang court ensembles is clearly documented, and under the name ...

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