orig. Japan The shakuhachi is made from the base of a bamboo stalk with holes drilled into the center and the sides. The instrument is played by blowing air across the beveled edge at the top end while covering and uncovering the holes with fingertips.
The shakuhachi has been used in Japanese Zen Buddhist meditation since the 15th century. The sounds produced by the instrument range from soft whispers to strong piercing tones. They are intended to reflect sounds in nature, such as birdcalls, wind and water. Today the shakuhachi is also often played in jazz, orchestral and popular music ensembles.