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date: 14 October 2019

Bua waruelocked

  • Raymond Ammann

Extract

Transverse flute of the northern Pentecost Island, Vanuatu. In central Pentecost it is called bua bangro. Codrington was the first to mention the instrument and it was probably he who gave it the name ‘double flute’. He refers to the island of Ambae, where the instrument is called waru. Speiser adds Ambrym as another island where the same flute type is known. Nowadays, in the north of Ambrym it is called bao bolbol or bao melau or bao lusur, where it is decorated with black triangle patterns. This unique flute has two embouchures into which the musician blows simultaneously. The middle part of the flute is held to the mouth, from which air escapes from the left and right sides directly into the two embouchure holes, striking the edges as in a notched flute. Codrington describes the instrument from Ambae and the method of playing it: ‘The waru, double flute … consists of two lengths of slender bamboo with the knot between them; on either side of the knot on the upper side is a hole, and at both ends two holes above and below. When the instrument is played, the knot with its two holes goes into the performer’s mouth, his outstretched hands support the bamboo, and he modulates the sound with his fingers and thumbs on the holes at the ends. The bamboo used is not more than two-thirds of an inch in diameter, for a strong sound is not liked; the music of the ...

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