Muye [shuye, yezi]
- Catherine Ingram
Tree leaf (ribbon reed) aerophone of southwestern China. It is played by minority groups including the Yi, Hani, Bai, Va (Wa), Zhuang, Miao/Hmong, Yao, Buyi, Dai, Lisu, Lahu, Naxi, Tujia, Shui, and Kam (Dong), as well as by the majority Han. Local names for ‘tree leaf’ include ba may (Kam), bis and mboy-mayx (Zhuang), hei bu long (Miao), and pei ni (Yi). Leaf playing has been popular in China for at least 1200 years. In the Tongdian (‘Comprehensive Statutes’, 801 ce), Du You writes: ‘Hold the leaf to the mouth and whistle—the sound is clear and crisp. Tangerine leaves are the best, or the leaf of a reed rolled into a reed whistle’. In the Manshu (‘Book about the Barbarians’), Fan Chuo describes leaf playing during the Tang dynasty (618–907) in the region now known as Yunnan: ‘Young men wander the streets in the evening playing the hulu sheng...