Hulusi Chinese Gourd Flute

Hulusi Chinese flute
Hulusi chinese flute

The name of the instrument southestern China traditional instrument Hulusi comes The instrument's name comes from the Chinese words hulu, meaning "gourd," and si, meaning "silk" (because of the smooth  pure and very like clarinet or oboe  sound it makes). Though obviusly related to chinese music it's become a very popular instrument in many countries.

It's an end blown free reed wind instrument. It is held vertically and has three bamboo pipes which pass through a gourd (wind chest; the center pipe has finger holes and the outer two are drone-.  Sometimes one of the pipes is ornamental and has only one drone. . The drone pipe has a finger hole, which allows it to be stopped. HuluSi is especially known for its unrelenting, yet soft, moody tone.

The hulusi was originally used primarily in the Yunnan  (means "south of the clouds") province by the Dai and other non-Han ethnic groups but is now played throughout China, and hulusi are manufactured in such northern cities as Tianjin.

The Hulusi or Gourd flute is one of the intruments with a more distinct "chinese" sound. Link to Melody of China with a streamable mp3 here

Hulusi fingering chart (english)

Above: Hulusi fingering chart  as shown in Melody of China website. Click on image to see bigger.

Below a performance with an hulusi highlighted as  solo instrument so you can see how this simple flute can convey the feelings of a trained player.


Don't know if you might be able to play it?
Here you can see a video of some fast tips to start to learn to play the hulusi    



Where to buy one:


There are a lot of inexpensive hulusis from all sort of chinese importers... Wether if they're of high quality or playable I really don't know till I grab one, and I will come and edit information as soon as I can guess that. My experience when buying instruments you don't know is that look for an actual sample or avoid to go for the cheaper option.

Above: example of hulusi found in ebay

You can surf yourself hulusi in ebay and find a lot of hulusis chinese flutes available there. Some are really professional looking, and I'd recommend to sort out by price and not go for the cheaper one as you risk to get a not tuned or playable but a beautiful souvenir. I found some stores like interactchina and others that seemed to have rather good ones. Hope to be able to update when I have more information.

 hulusi melody of china
Above: Hulusi from Melody of China


Melody of china is a rather complete store for all sorts of chinese instruments, it features a long section of wind instruments including some nice looking Hulusis with samples of how they sound. 

Have a look to Shopping china now, they have a selection of chinese musical instruments.

Nadishana folk instruments store also list one on sale. As he´s a player, I'd say this is a rather reliable source and shipping from Europe and good thing that you can see the actual instrument plyaed.


Some other interesting links  

Hulusi in VST (virtual instrument)

For those making music with the computer and still interesting in the sound of the hulusi you can purchase for 60$ ChineHulusi from the company Kong Audio

 hulusi vst