Can You Describe Traditional Filipino Wind Instruments?


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Steve Theunissen Profile
These are the wind instruments: the bumbong, the himig bumbong and the tulali or gahumay. They are played like the Western trumpet, trombone and flute—but with a difference.

The bumbong consists of separate bamboo tubes, each capable of only a single tone. The longer the bamboo, the lower the tone, and the shorter the bamboo, the higher the tone. Hence, only a single tone is played by one tube and several bumbong are needed to match the tones on the scale. This calls for perfect synchronization of all bumbong during the playing, especially in fast music.

The himig bumbong is a much longer tube, with more holes. Five to seven players are assigned to just one instrument, each player to blow just one particular tone. Again, in playing, the timing has to be perfect. For marches and fast music, the Pangkat Kawayan has to achieve superb coordination, with several players using only one instrument among them.

The flutes, or tulali and gahumay, are smaller and shorter tubes, with seven holes to a tube. They are played like the Western flutes.

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