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date: 18 November 2019


  • John Okell


Burmese internal/external duct flute. It is made of bamboo and end-blown. An internal node directs the wind out of the tube through a small hole; then a strip of leaf (nowadays more often a piece of photographic film held over the hole by a rubber band) directs the wind back into the bore. There is usually also a small hole between the mouthpiece and the topmost fingerhole, covered with onion skin or spider egg-case membrane to form a mirliton. The standard flute has seven fingerholes and a thumbhole, and is about 25 cm long, with g′ as its lowest note. There is also a deeper flute, the palwei-gyì, corresponding in range to the hnè-gyì, which is about 35 cm long, with c′ as its lowest note. A rarely encountered variant is the wun-tha-nú palwei, with the lowest note g. Players have also experimented with six-hole and four-hole flutes, but the seven-hole version is standard....

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