Wind Instruments

Wind Instruments

Presenting the wind instruments that are available from Gandharva Loka: the world music store in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Home » World Instruments » Wind Instruments

Wind Instruments

Bagpipe Practice Chanter

Bagpipe Practice ChantersThe bagpipe practice chanter is a double reed woodwind instrument that is similar in appearance to a recorder. It can be considered an instrument in its own right but its main function is as a practice instrument for the Scottish bagpipes. Practice chanters are used by novices but also by mature players. The practice chanter is essentially a long, thin piece of wood or plastic made of two parts with a small diameter hole bored lengthwise through the center. Air is directed into and through this bore hole and passes over a reed, the vibration of which causes the sound. The tone holes are located on the lower portion of the chanter. The practice chanter can be played either sitting or standing.

Practice chanters come in various sizes and can be made out of various materials. They are made in both a short size which is designed for the smaller hands of a child and the regular size for adults which is the traditional chanter length. Pipe chanters and practice chanters are typically made out of a hard wood (such as African Blackwood) but are also made from synthetic materials such as delrin (polypenco). Gandharva Loka offers the traditional sized practice chanter with an engraved nickel ferrule and sole, and a rosewood body.

Go to the Page Index

Bansuri

BansuriThe bansuri is a transverse alto flute synonymous with the Indian subcontinent. It is made from a single hollow shaft of bamboo with six or seven finger holes. The word bansuri originates in the Sanskrit bans (bamboo) and swar (musical note). An ancient musical instrument associated with cowherds and the pastoral tradition, the bansuri is, like the conch, intimately linked to the life of Lord Krishna and is depicted in Buddhist paintings from around 100 AD.

There are two varieties of bansuri: transverse, and fipple. The fipple flute is usually played in folk music and is held at the lips like a whistle. Because it enables superior control, variations and embellishments, the transverse bansuri is preferred in Indian classical music. Bansuri range in size from less than 30 cm (12 inches) to nearly 100 cm (40 inches) in length. Gandharva Loka offers a range of bansuri from beginner through to professional models in various tunings.

BANSURI SOUND SAMPLE:

Go to the Page Index

Bawu

BawuThe Chinese bawu (also known as bahu, bawo and Chinese reed flute) is considered to be a wind instrument that everyone can play because it does not require an embouchure, The bawu is a Chinese folk flute that has the appearance of a regular bamboo side blown flute but for the fact that it has a copper reed in the mouth piece. The sound is somewhere between a flute and a harmonica – with a dash of Uilleann pipes thrown in for good measure! The bawu produces a mellow and charming sound that can be quite haunting – you simply put your lips over the lip plate and blow into the instrument. There is a very nice example of the bawu being played here.

BAWU SOUND SAMPLE:

Go to the Page Index

Bird Whistles

It is amazing how well our selection of bird whistles recreate the sounds of our avian friends and Gandharva Loka offers a variety of bird whistles. We also stock bird whistles from the Vogel company of France and beautifully decorated bird-shaped ceramic and plastic bird whistles. Some of these hold water in a chamber which, when blown through, creates an authentic birdlike 'warbling' effect. Bird whistles make great gifts for bird watchers, children and the young at heart!

Vogel Bird Initation Whistles

Vogl Pfeiferl (Bird Imitation Whistle)

The Vogl-Pfeiferl (Bird Imitation Whistle)The Vogl-Pfeiferl is a small wind instrument that imitates birds and other animals. The Vogl-Pfeiferl consists of a semicircular paperboard with a sawi-tooth edge (image right). The membrane is held by a ring of stainless steel. Put the Vogl-Pfeiferl onto the front part of your tongue – the membrane should be facing your teeth. After about two minutes the paperboard should be well soaked. Then press the whistle gently against the palate (roof of the mouth) right behind your teeth, where it should stick due to its being soaked. Keep your mouth slightly open and blow softly with a "sh, sh, sh" to get the basic sound. Once you get the basic technique, you can play around and experiment with various positions of your lips and tongue, your breathing and articulating vowels and consonants in order to vary sounds and imitations. Some great demonstrations of the can be viewed here. A lot of fun...!

Go to the Page Index

Bugles

BugleThe bugle is one of the simplest of the brass instruments, having no valves or other pitch-altering devices. All pitch control is done by varying the embouchure. Consequently, the bugle is limited to notes within the harmonic series. The bugle developed from early musical or communication instruments made of animal horns. The earliest metal bugles were shaped in a coil, typically a double coil, but also a single or triple coil, similar to the modern French horn, and were used to communicate during hunts and as announcing instruments for coaches. The bugle came into military use in Germany in the eighteenth century and developed in various forms throughout the world until radio came in to use.

Go to the Page Index

Conch

ConchThe Conch is a wind instrument that is made from the shells of sea snails and are sometimes referred to as shell trumpets. Conches are transformed into musical instruments by cutting a hole in the spire of the shell. Sound is produced by blowing into the shell in the same way that one would blow into a trumpet. Sometimes a mouthpiece is used but most conches are blown without one. The shells themselves are often very ornate and beautifully coloured by nature but some conches are decorated and carved in various ways.

Gandharva Loka: the world music storeThe conch is a very significant instrument to Gandharva Loka as our company logo depicts Lord Krishna blowing his conch Panchajanya – an indication of Lord Krishna's pending ultimate victory in the great battle of Kurukshetra. Gandharva Loka offers a variety of conches that represent various traditions. One example, the carved white conch pictured above, is imported in a range of sizes and styles from India.

CONCH SOUND SAMPLE:

Go to the Page Index

Didgeridoo

DidgeridooThe didgeridoo is a wind instrument developed by Indigenous Australians of northern Australia at least 1,500 years ago. It is still in widespread usage today both in Australia and all over the world. The instrument is traditionally made from Eucalyptus trees which have had their interiors hollowed out by termites or have died of other causes. There are no reliable sources stating the didgeridoo's exact age, archaeological studies of rock art in Northern Australia suggest that the Aboriginal people of the Kakadu region of the Northern Territory have been using the didgeridoo for at least 1,500 years, based on the dating of paintings on cave walls and shelters from this period.

A modern didgeridoo is usually cylindrical or conical, and can measure anywhere from one to three metres (three to ten feet) long. Most are around one and a half metres (four feet) long. The length is directly related to the 1/2 sound wavelength of the keynote. Generally, the longer the instrument, the lower the pitch or key of the instrument. In modern times, a variety of materials are used to make didgeridoos including wood, bamboo, metals and plastics. Gandharva Loka stocks traditional Australian didgeridoos as well as the less expensive Indonesian version. We also stock precisely tuned German didgeridoos, tunable didgeridoos and compact travel didgeridoos.

Didgeridoo Accessories

Gandharva Loka also offers beeswax mouthpieces that can be moulded to didgeridoo of any size or shape.

DIDGERIDOO SOUND SAMPLE:

Go to the Page Index

Dizi

DiziThe dizi is a traditional bamboo transverse flute from China. It is an extremely popular instrument throughout China being used in folk music and Chinese opera as well as modern classical orchestras. Traditionally, the dizi has been very popular among the Chinese common people because it is simple and therefore inexpensive to make and easy to carry. That has made it an instrument that everyone can own and play.

Whereas most simple flutes have only a blowing (embouchure) hole and finger (tone) holes, the dizi has an unique additional hole, known as mo kong in Chinese, between the embouchure and tone holes. A special membrane called dimo, made from an almost tissue-like shaving of reed extracted from the inner skin of the bamboo plants, is made taut and glued over the mo kong hole. The application of the dimo, in which fine wrinkles are created in the centre of the dimo to create a penetrating buzzy timbre, is an art form in itself. The dimo covered mo kong has a distinctive resonating effect on the sound produced by the dizi, making it brighter and louder, and adding harmonics to give the final tone a buzzing, nasal quality. Dizi have a relatively large range, covering about two-and-a-quarter octaves.

DIZI SOUND SAMPLE:

Go to the Page Index

Dungchen (Tibetan Horn)

Dungchen (also known as the Tibetan Horn and ) are the great horns of the Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and ensembles. Generally made from brass and ornately decorated, dunchen vary in length from as small as 40 cm up to four or five meters long and are typically constructed in several telescoping sections to accomodate travel and storage. Dungchen are traditionally played in pairs but sometimes three are played together so that two can always be heard while the third player takes a breath. Dungchen often appear as part of the orchestra in particularly energetic yogic song and in accompaniment to yogic dance.

Gandharva Loka stocks traditional dungchen that are a little over one metre in length and telescope to about 40 cm. An example of traditional long dungchen being played can be viewed here.

Dungchen (Tibetan Horn)

Go to the Page Index

Elephant

ElephantsThese wonderful wooden elephants are hand crafted in northern Thailand. They produce a trumpeting sound when you blow through them. (Just imagine what an elephant would sound like if you shrunk one – not during the process, but after...!!) Popular with children.

Gandharva Loka also stocks wooden owls that produce a cute hooting sound when blown.

Go to the Page Index

Fujara

FujaraThe fujara (pronounced foo-ya-ra) is a large overtone flute that originated in central Slovakia and was traditionally played by shepherds for recreation. It is as a large sophisticated fipple flute of unique design ranging from 150 to 170 cm long and tuned in A, G, and F.

A fujara has three tone holes located on the lower part of the main body and the sound is produced by a fipple at the upper end of the main body of the fujara. The air is led to the fipple through a smaller parallel pipe, called vzduchovoď in Slovak (meaning 'air channel'), mounted on the main body of the instrument.

While it is possible to play the fundamental frequency on fujaras, the normal playing technique is based on overblowing the instrument. Because of its aspect ratio (great length versus small internal diameter), the overtones created permit one to play a diatonic scale using only the three tone holes.

The fujara is played standing, with the instrument held vertically, usually braced against the right thigh. The body of the fujara is hand carved from young elder wood and decorated with unique Slovakian ornaments. An amazing experience of sound!

Go to the Page Index

Harmonica

HarmonicasThe harmonica (also known as mouth organ, harp, harpoon, French harp and blues harp) is a free reed wind instrument used primarily in blues and American folk music, jazz, country music, and rock and roll. The harmonica was developed in Europe in the early part of the nineteenth century. Free reed instruments like the sheng were fairly common throughout East Asia for centuries and were relatively well-known in Europe for some time. Around 1820, free reed designs started appearing in Europe. The German musical instrument maker Christian Friedrich Ludwig Buschmann is generally credited with the invention of the harmonica in 1821 but other inventors developed similar instruments around the same time.

The harmonica is played by blowing air into it or drawing air out by placing lips over individual holes (reed chambers) or multiple holes. The pressure caused by blowing or drawing air into the reed chambers causes a reed or multiple reeds to vibrate up and down creating sound. Each chamber has multiple, variable-tuned brass or bronze reeds, which are secured at one end and loose on the other end, with the loose end vibrating and creating sound. Gandharva Loka has a range of harmonicas made by Hohner and Johnson, including the popular and very cute mini harmonica necklace!

Go to the Page Index

Hulusi (or Bilangdao)

HulusiThe hulusi is a single pipe free-reed instrument that originated in Yunnan, China, and is made of one to four bamboo pipes that have a small brass or silver reed inserted flush with the side of the pipe, and then surrounded by a gourd or brass wind chamber.

The hulusi originally came from the Dai-zu or Dai (Thai) minority of southern China, but can now be found played by a number of the surrounding minority peoples including the Jin Po and the Wa. The name hulusi is a Han term with hulu meaning 'gourd', while the Dai call it a bilangdao which literally translates as 'an end blown pi, surrounded by a gourd'.

The sound of the hulusi is hauntingly beautiful, but fairly soft, and as a result is seldom played in ensembles. The Dai men would play it to express their love to women, while other minorities often played the hulusi in the fields when taking a break from planting or harvesting. A sample of the hulusi can be heard here. Gandharva Loka has three very beautiful models available and each instrument comes in a padded decorative case.

HULUSI SOUND SAMPLE:

Go to the Page Index

Irish Flutes

Irish FlutesAs music developed in the early 19th century, Theodore Boehm, a Bavarian court musician and industrial innovator, designed a completely new type of flute that formed the basis of the modern concert flute as we know it now – the Boehm-system flute.

As the obsolete simple system flutes were discarded by musicians across Europe, they were picked up at low cost by Irish and Scottish traditional musicians and these flutes soon became known as 'Irish flutes'. With the explosion of interest in folk music that began in the mid 20th century and with many of the old simple system concert flutes by then being well worn or beyond repair, it created a niche trade with a number of what were initially 'flute repairers' becoming flute makers in their own right. Makers of simple system Irish flutes can now be found throughout the world. Most of these use various tone-woods such as African blackwood, cocus, rosewood and boxwood, but some also use polymer materials.

IRISH FLUTE SOUND SAMPLE:

Tune: Sean Tiobrad Arann – a traditional Irish jig played by Martin Doyle.


Go to the Page Index

Kaval

KavalThe kaval is an end-blown flute traditionally played throughout Azerbaijan, Turkey, Bulgaria, Macedonia, southern Serbia, northern Greece, Romania and Armenia. The kaval is primarily associated with mountain shepherds throughout the Balkans and Anatolia and it has been suggested that the kaval spread with the nomadic Yörük from the Taurus mountains of southern Turkey into the southern Balkans of southeast Europe.

The kaval has eight playing holes (seven in front and one in the back for the thumb) and usually four more near the bottom which are not used for playing the instrument, but determine the lowest tone's pitch and timbre and are supposed to improve tone and intonation. The kaval is fully open at both ends and is played by blowing on the sharpened edge of one end. While typically made of woods such as cornel cherry, apricot, plum, boxwood and mountain ash, kaval are also made from water buffalo horn, Persian reed, metal and plastic.

Go to the Page Index

Kazoo

KazoosLike the nose flute, the kazoo is a simple, inexpensive and fun wind instrument that everyone can play – a device which modifies the sound of a person's voice by way of a vibrating membrane. When one hums into the kazoo the membrane vibrates producing a 'buzzy' (and very humorous) version of what the player is humming.

Ancient versions of the modern kazoo have been used in Africa for hundreds of years to disguise the voice or to imitate animals and was often used for various ceremonial purposes. The kazoo as we know it now was invented by an African American musician named Alabama Vest of Georgia, USA, and was first publicised at the Georgia State Fair in 1852. Recently many ukulele enthusiasts are buying kazoos to accompany their ukulele.

Gandharva Loka has both the traditional plastic and metal kazoos available. We also offer a small bamboo kazoo with a string (see image right) that enables this miniature instrument can be worn around the neck. Often used by clowns, buskers and comedians, kazoos can also be used to accompany other instruments and make a great novelty gift for children five years and over.

BAMBOO KAZOO SOUND SAMPLE:

Go to the Page Index

Native America Flutes

Native America FlutesThe native American flute has received much attention over the past few decades for its distinctive sound. Haunting and soulful, these uniquely decorated flutes capture the sacred essence of the native American races. The native American flute was originally very personal; it was played without accompaniment in courtship, healing, meditation, and spiritual rituals. In the current era they are also used in a variety of New Age and world music recordings. There are two different types of native American flute, the plains flute and the woodlands flute, each with slightly different construction.

There are many stories about how these flutes came into being. A common character in these stories is the woodpecker who, it is said, would bore holes into hollow branches when searching for termites. Then when the wind would blow through these branches, sounds were created that people heard and sought to replicate. But the actual development of the flute most likely did not follow this pattern. The more commonly favoured theory is that the flutes were developed by the ancient Pueblo peoples based on Mesoamerican designs.

These native American flutes are very easy to play yet they produce a very beautiful and satisfying tone. Gandharva Loka has native American flute available in birch, walnut, aromatic cedar or spanish cedar in tunings from high A to low F sharp. We stock single, double or triple native American flutes. The larger flutes come with a book and CD to help the novice players with their musical journey.

Gandharva Loka stocks quality native American flutes made by:

  • High Spirits Flutes – handcrafted in the style of traditional native American flutes by Odell Borg of Arizona, USA.
  • Southern Cross Flutes – handcrafted native American style flutes by Todd Chaplin of Wellington, New Zealand.
IMAGE AND SOUND SAMPLE FROM SOUTHERN CROSS FLUTES
Southern Cross Flutes

This is a sample of Todd playing a 'Low D' flute made from New Zealand Swamp Kauri:


Native America Flute Instruction / Tuition Books

  • Native Spirit Song Book 1 & 2 – songs for the Native American flute (CD included).
Go to the Page Index

Ney

NeyOne of the oldest examples of the flute is the Ney; an end blown flute that features prominently in Persian, Turkish, and Arabic music being found in Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and parts of north-western India. In some of these musical traditions, it is the only wind instrument used. The kaval belongs to the same family but it is thicker and shorter than the ney. The ney is a very ancient instrument with depictions of musicians playing them in wall paintings in the Egyptian pyramids with actual examples of ney being found in Ur. This means that the ney has been played continuously for some 5,000 years and make it one of the oldest musical instruments still in use.

The ney consists of a piece of hollow cane or reed with five or six finger holes and one thumb hole. Ney is an old Persian word for reed, however, modern neys are often made of metal or plastic tubing instead. A highly skilled ney player can reach more than three octaves. An example of the ney being played can be viewed here.

Go to the Page Index

Nose Flute (Nose Whistle)

Nose FlutesThe nose flute (also known as a nose whistle) could be considered to be one of the more unusual wind instruments, but they are a bunch of fun and will fit in any pocket!

Air is blown into the whistle from the nose and the open mouth plays the role of a soundboard. The blown air is channelled towards an edge that creates the whistle sound, akin to blowing over the lip of a bottle, with the air resonating in the mouth as well as in the instrument. By adjusting the mouth cavity, the air volume gives the frequency – ie: the smaller the volume, the higher the note. This is similar to the way that the tone of a Jew's harp is modulated. Nose whistles are usually made of either wood or plastic. A nose flute demonstration can be viewed here.

Go to the Page Index

Ocarina

OcarinaThe ocarina is an ancient flute-like wind instrument. A typical ocarina is an oval-shaped enclosed space with four to twelve finger holes and a mouthpiece that projects from the body. Many variations on this theme exist, but a typical ocarina is often ceramic while other materials, such as plastic, wood, glass, and metal, are also be used.

The ocarina is a very old family of instruments believed to date back some 12,000 years. Ocarina-type instruments have been of particular importance in Chinese and Mesoamerican cultures. The ancient Chinese Xun, made of clay, has a history of probably several thousand years. Expeditions to Mesoamerica resulted in the introduction of the ocarina to the courts of Europe. Both the Mayans and Aztecs had produced versions of the ocarina, but it was the Aztecs who brought the song and dance that accompanied the ocarina to Europe.

The ocarina went on to become popular in European communities as a toy instrument until, in the nineteenth century, it was transformed by the seventeen-year-old Italian brickmaker and musician Giuseppe Donati into the more comprehensive classical ocarina that we are now familiar with. The word ocarina, in Donati's Bolognese dialect, means 'little goose'.

Gandharva Loka offers a wide range of ocarinas, from the traditional to the novel, including variations from China, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, India, and Germany. These include small piccolo ocarinas to very large bass ocarinas. We also stock German made professional concert ocarinas.

Go to the Page Index

Owl

OwlsThe haunting and mysterious sound of the owl is now yours with this beautiful family of hand crafted wooden owls. Simply blow through the slot in the top of their heads and you instantly get a wonderful owl sound. Vary your blowing to create different soundscapes. Popular with children. Gandharva Loka also stocks wooden elephants that produce a trumpeting sound when blown.

Go to the Page Index

Pan Flutes

Pan FlutePan flutes (also known as Pan Pipes) are an ancient wind instrument that is most often associated the Southern American folk music traditions (Andean, Peruvian, Bolivian etc.) and are considered to be the first mouth organ and a direct ancestor to both the harmonica and the pipe organ.

The pan flute is named for its association with the rustic Greek god Pan. The pipes of the pan flute are traditionally made from bamboo of varying thickness and length and Gandharva Loka offers a wide range including very small sets that are colourfully decorated and quite suitable for children.

Go to the Page Index

Quena

QuenaThe quena is the traditional flute of the Andes. Traditionally made of bamboo, it has 6 finger holes, one thumb hole and is open on both ends. To produce sound, the player closes the top end of the pipe with the flesh between his chin and lower lip, and blows a stream of air downward, along the axis of the pipe, over an elliptical notch cut into the end. This produces a very breathy or airy tone. Due to its use in the folk movement that grew during the 1960s and 70s, the quena is now a relatively common wind instrument in world music.

Go to the Page Index

Shakuhachi

ShakuhachiThe shakuhachi is a Japanese end-blown flute that is traditionally made of bamboo and used by the monks of the Fuke Zen branch of Zen Buddhism for many centuries. The monks used the flute music as a catalyst for reaching states of inner stillness. The soulful sounds of the shakuhachi also made it a popular instrument in western music in recent times.

The sound of the shakuhachi flute expresse meditative vastness, silence and peace; sustained tones that calm the mind and lead to an awareness of inner depths. Just to produce a single note is an art of itself and requires a calm, devoted attitude. The Fuke monks saw mastery of the shakuhachi as a path to enlightenment in itself. The playing of the Shakuhachi leads to the qualities that one is looking for in the contemplative art of meditation: poise, patience, devotion, concentration, inner strength, silence and peace.

Shakuhachi cannot be mass-produced and craftsmen spend much time finding the correct bore shape for each flute to aquire the correct pitch over all notes – therefore each flute is precise and unique. Gandharva Loka stocks top quality authentic shakuhachi flutes made from the finest Golden Madaki bamboo. We also stock less expensive wooden shakuhachi.

SHAKUHACHI SOUND SAMPLE:

Shakuhachi flutes made by Brett Mongillo

We are very happy to have in stock locally made shakuhachi that are crafted by Brett Mongillo of Christchurch from New Zealand grown bamboo. Brett is making two models of shakuhachi – root end and straight – and offers some background on his experiences with shakuhachi that began when he came across one in Gandharva Loka a few years ago.

I have been playing and making shakuhachi for about 4 years. I started making the flutes when I realised how expensive they were and felt that the high cost of most shakuhachi prohibits beginners from starting on the journey toward becoming a shakuhachi master. I have no formal training in making these flutes but have read many articles and books by masters of the craft. I also own a few very well made flutes and use their form as a model for the flutes I make. I am learning to play under the tutelage of Michael Chikuzen Gould, a master of the art of playing shakuhachi, and a generous and talented teacher. My flutes are made to facilitate the type of music I am learning to play which is Honkyoku, or the traditional zen mediation music of the Komuso monks. I personally harvest the bamboo I use from places in New Zealand. The root end bamboo is a bambusa species similar to the traditional Japanese Madake species, and it was obtained from NZ Bamboo Specialists in the Waitakere Ranges west of Auckland. The straight black bamboo was harvested near the Waihi gold mine in the Coromandel. My flutes are beginner level, and they are not tuned to traditional western notes. The length of the flute dictates the key it plays in, and I use the aesthetics of the bamboo to tell me how long to make each flute. Once that is decided I tune the flute to itself. The outcome is a visually pleasing flute, that is well suited to individual meditative play. I hope you enjoy playing them as much as I enjoy making them. – Brett Mongillo, 2014.

Here is a sample of Brett playing the traditional Japanese melody Hon Shirabe on one of his own flutes.


Go to the Page Index

Shehnai

ShehnaiThe shehnai is a North Indian oboe. It is believed to have originated in the Kashmir Valley as a result of improvements made to the pungi – a woodwind folk instrument used primarily for snake charming. Although it is referred to as a double-reeded instrument it actually has four reeds – two upper reeds and two lower reeds.

The shehnai has a wooden body with a brass or metal bell. The reed is attached to a brass tube which is wrapped in string. The sound of the shehnai is considered particularly auspicious. For this reason it is used in temples and is an indispensable component of any North Indian wedding. In the past, the shehnai was part of the naubat or traditional ensembles of nine instruments found at royal courts. The shehnai is a close relative to the nadaswaram of Southern India.

SHEHNAI SOUND SAMPLE:

Go to the Page Index

Sheng

ShengThe sheng is a Chinese free-reed bamboo mouth organ. The exact age of the sheng is unknown but it can be seen in pictographs dating from 1200 BC with a gourd wind chamber, and looks very similar to the current southern Chinese and northern Thai naw. The sheng was traditionally used in court music, and there are many depictions of the ancient sheng, known then as yu, on the wall paintings of the Dunhuang caves from the 7th and 8th Centuries. It was during this period that the sheng traveled to many of the courts of Asia and according to some references, possibly even Persia in the 10th century. It is documented that it didn't reach Europe until 1777 with Pere Amiot, and its influence was so strong that it resulted in the invention of the reed organ, concertina, harmonica and accordion.

Traditionally the Sheng is an instrument used as an accompaniment for dizi (Chinese transverse flute) performances. It is also one of the main instruments used in Chinese operatic performances. Traditional small ensembles also make use of the Sheng, such as the wind and percussion ensembles in northern China. In the modern large Chinese orchestra, it is used for both melody and accompaniment.

SHENG SOUND SAMPLE:

Go to the Page Index

Slide Whistles

Slide WhistlesA slide whistle (also known as a swanee whistle, piston flute or jazz flute) is a wind instrument consisting of a fipple and a tube with a piston in it. This means that it has an air reed like some woodwinds, but the pitch is varied with a slide. The construction is rather like a bicycle pump – a hollow tube with a piston or plunger running up through the centre of the tube. The plunger can be pushed in or pulled out to produce a sliding sound when blowing air in through the fipple. The diameter and length of the tube also determines the base pitch of the instrument.

Piston flutes of this type made from cane or bamboo existed in Africa, Asia and the Pacific as well as Europe before the modern version was invented in the nineteenth century. The modern slide whistle is perhaps most familiar in its use as a sound effect, as in the sound tracks of animated cartoons when a glissando (slide) can suggest something rapidly ascending or descending, but it is also possible to play melodies on the slide whistle. They are also often used in clown comedy shows. Slide whistles are available from Gandharva Loka in wood, plastic and metal. They are great fun for all ages but are particularly popular with children.

Go to the Page Index

Squeeze Horns

Squeeze HornsSqueeze horns have a wide variety of uses and are synonymous with vintage cars, bicycles, clown and busking acts and general good fun. They are typically trumpet shaped instruments of varying shape and size and, as the name implies, use a rubber bulb that, when squeezed, pushes air through a simple metal reed to produce a honking sound. The intensity of the squeezing determines the volume and character of the sound. The squeeze horns that we stock at Gandharva Loka are available in a wide variety of designs and sizes. Squeeze horns make great gifts and are very popular with children.

Go to the Page Index

Susu Whistle

Susu WhistlesSusu whistles have a surprising bright and clear tone and are capable of all sorts of interesting effects. Just let you imagination carry you. Simply place the Susu whistle on the back of your tongue and press it gently against the palate (roof of the mouth) and blow! Whistle, talk voicelessly, laugh, sing – there is a lot of fun to be had with these susu whisltes. Suitable for older children.

SUSU WHISTLE SOUND SAMPLE:

Go to the Page Index

Tin Whistles / Low Whistles

Tin WhistlesThe tin whistle (also known as the penny whistle – a name that came about due to the fact that people would throw pennies to the buskers playing these whistles) is a simple six-holed woodwind instrument that is closely associated with Irish and Celtic music. It is an end blown fipple flute flageolet which puts it in the same category as the recorder, Native American flute and other woodwind instruments.The tin whistle has six tone holes and is characterised by a pure, high pitched tone. A second octave can be attained by over blowing. The tin whistle in its modern form stems from a wider family of fipple flutes that have been seen in various forms and cultures throughout the world. In Europe such instruments that have a long and distinguished history dating back many thousands of years.

Made from animal bone, wood and tree bark in the past, these whistles have been made from tin in more recent times and are now also made from a variety of materials such as plastic, nickel and brass. The low whistle is like the standard tin whistle with a high pitch, but being larger and longer, the sound is deep and sonorous. Tin whistles are played with the same fingering as Irish flutes and it is often a natural progression for a whistle player to learn the flute as well. Gandharva Loka stocks a variety of tin whistles including Clarke (some models of Clarke tin whistles have a wooden block in the fipple which offers a slightly softer tone), Generation, Susato, Dixon and Chieftain. In low whistles we have instruments from Kerry, Chieftain, Dixon and Howard. These are relatively inexpensive wind instruments and often come with instruction booklets, CDs and sheet music. The tin whistle is an inexpensive and fun option for children who are interested in learning a wind instrument.

TIN WHISTLE SOUND SAMPLE:

Go to the Page Index

Twittering Bamboo

Twittering BambooThe twittering bamboo is a novel wind instrument that, when twirled around overhead, produces a rhythmic bird twitter. There are several varieties that offer different effects and the length of the nylon chord and handle vary from approximately 120cm to 130cm.

Go to the Page Index

Xiao

XiaoThe Chinese Xiao is renowned for its gentle and haunting tones. Traditionally made from bamboo, the Xiao is an ancient vertical end-blown flute thought to have developed from a simple end-blown flute used by the Qiang people of Southwest China. The modern six hole varieties of the Xiao date back to the Ming Dynasty.

Gandharva Loka provides two types of xiao; the Dong xiao and the Qin xiao. The Dong xiao (above) is made from the root section of bamboo and has six finger holes. It has a large sound volume and is preferred for use in operatic ensembles. The Qin xiao is narrower than the Dong xiao and is used mainly to accompany the qin (ancient seven-string zither). Traditionally it has six finger holes but contemporary versions have eight holes.

XIAO SOUND SAMPLE: