orig. China The bawu is a traditional Chinese wind instrument whose pure sound has been compared to that of the clarinet. Played horizontally, it is made of bamboo and contains a metal reed with which tones can be bent and sounds manipulated. The bawu appears to have originated in the Yunnan province in the far south of China, but its influence has spread across the country and its evocative sound is now associated widely with Chinese culture. The instrument is often heard in both traditional and contemporary Chinese composition, as well as in movie scores. It is now also used by Western composers, who have taken its traditional sound in a modern, often experimental direction.