Mouth Reed Musical Instrument


Kouxian is smaller than the other Chinese musical instruments, but has the longest history among the ethnic instruments. It is said that in the primitive society at the 40th century, this instrument had been used to play the music. It was then called huang.

Kouxian has been very popular in many places and there are many kinds of it. It may be made of bamboo or metal. There are such kinds of kouxian with single or plural pieces of strings. As to performing methods, people may pluck or use the silk thread.

Kouxian made of bamboo is usually cut from the hard bamboo called nanzhu. People use knives to cut the bamboo slim, and carve three tongues in the middle, then cut the bamboo patch into the shape of a sword and the end into the neck. The tongue is big and thin in the head, narrow and thick in the middle, and the two sides are cut into bevel face connected to the head. When players pluck the head, the tongues produce the sound by liberating. Multi-spatula kouxian can be made by binding two or five bamboo spatulas together. The tones of the instrument depend on the length, width and the thickness.

The structure and makings of kouxian is very special, but also it is unique in performing. Performer put the neck between his thumb and index finger, and the tongue between his lips. Then he plucks the top of the instrument with his thumb and index finger, which makes the tongue liberate and give out bright sounds. The kind performed by drawing the silk thread is even more special. Performers tie the silk thread to the top of every spatula, and the other end to the fingers of their right hand. Sounds are produced by drawing the thread, which makes the spatula liberate. In order to raise the volume, performers should pop the lips, to shape like a canister. They can also perform the music with various tones through controlling of their ways of breathing and changeful oral forms.

Music: Flavors of Leibo