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Music & Instruments

Percussionist's hands with mallets striking percussive bowls

© DAVID O’CONNOR

Silk Road Ensemble Instruments
Silk Road Ensemble musicians play a variety of instruments from around the world, some of them as simple as these percussion bowls. Some have origins in a single region; the development of others over time illustrates the interactions among cultures along the historical Silk Road.


Bawu

 


Bawu

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.

Bawu players
Hu Jianbing
Wu Tong


Other wind instruments
Clarinet
Duduk
Gaita
Ney
Shakuhachi
Sheng


Other Chinese instruments
Erhu
Pipa
Ruan
Sheng