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Classical Chinese Instruments - The bawu (巴乌)
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BAWU (巴乌) - Side-blown free reed pipe with finger holes - Although shaped like a flute, it is actually a free reed instrument, with a single metal reed TRADITIONAL CHINESE CLASSIFICATION: Bamboo RELATED INSTRUMENTS: - Chinese mangtong OVERVIEW: The bawu is a free-reed aerophone with a cylindrical bore, made of a tube of bamboo closed off at one end by a natural node. Near the closed end, a small square hole is cut and a thin reed of bronze or copper is fastened, with a low plastic or bone mouthpiece around it. This reed is essentially a very thin sheet of metal with a long and narrow isosceles triangle cut into it, which is bent slightly outwards at rest. When the instrument is blown, this thin triangle moves back and forth rapidly through the space left in the metal sheet from which it was cut, like a swinging door. This vibration sets the air column in the instrument in rapid periodic motion, creating sound. The mouth does not contact the reed. ORIGINS: The bawu likely originated in the Yunnan province of southwest China, it has become a standard instrument throughout China, used in modern Chinese compositions for traditional instrument ensembles. The instrument is also closely associated with Hmong, Yi, Hani and other minority cultures in southwestern China. It is typically used as a solo instrument, and is often featured in film scores; it is sometimes also heard in popular music recordings. NOTES: - Although the bawu is still predominantly performed in China, it has in recent years been adopted by European composers and performers.
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