Sheng - Hong Kong

Purchased in Hong Kong, 1977

From Graciela's Notes

This instrument is also known as Chinese Reeds. Its sound is similar to the kaen from Bali. It has a pleasing organ-like sound. The multi-varied-size pipes are made of bamboo. There are five different sizes and a total of seventeen pipes set in a brass base and it is blown through a brass mouthpiece that fits tightly against the lips. The wind chamber is brass cup (a part of the mouthpiece) that holds the pipes. The sheng is played by blowing into, and sucking air from, the wind chamber while fingering the holes in the pipes. Opening the holes admits air to the free reeds at the base of the bamboo popes. The reeds are brass tongues that are weighted with wax to tune. Four of the 17 pipes are dummy pipes to balance the Sheng. The seventeen pipes are held together with a band. Pitch is changed by covering and opening holes at the bottom, close to the base, in varying numbers. The sheng, considered a mouth organ, can be traced back 3,000 years to China. Its elegant shape is said to resemble the legendary bird the Phoenix. I bought the sheng during my second trip to Hong Kong in December 1977.

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