Akha small duct flute

Typically about 72 cms. long made from a thick cane. An oval holes is cut about 10 cm. from the top just above the natural node of the bamboo. A thin piece of cane is attached by twine above this hole. A second oval hole is made on the lower side of the node. The air leaves the first chamber by the upper hole and is then directed by the wedge into the main body of the instrument. The top of the flute is open.  The bottom is partially closed by another natural node, a small circular hole being made in the middle to allow the sound to exit. Two finger holes are made 9 and 17cm. from the bottom (these figures vary according to the overall length of the flute which may vary either way by about 10cm.)

The player uses the first finger of the left hand to cover the top hole and the thumb of the right hand to close the lower hole. The first finger of the right hand is then used to close the bottom end of the flute, normally lowering the pitch. A whole series of notes can be obtained by overblowing

Akha flute player Chiang Rai

Traditionally played as a courting instrument but now used for entertainment. I recorded a musician playing a tune to his girl-friend hoping she will have sweet dreams.

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