pipe with drones

Palaung waou (also played by Shan, Kachin Jingpo (hkin taw sumpi) and Wa

This instrument is an end-blown free reed pipe with gourd windchest and one or more drones. It is made by inserting a flute-like tube with finger holes into a gourd along with one or more drones, each pipe having a free reed in it. Some are made locally, others are hulusi bought from China. Its soft notes make it an ideal courting instrument and it is also played in the fields when taking a break from planting or harvesting. The reed has to be sounded by exhaling not inhaling so players use circular breathing to avoid gaps in the melody. In both instruments, the drone can be “switched off” by plugging the end of the pipe and like the bawu, additional melodic pitches can be played by cross-fingering and half-holing. Overblowing is not possible so the range of the melody pipe is an octave. Usually played solo, the Palaung also use it with the ding to accompany dancing.

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