World Instrument Gallery


Armenian Duduk


The haunting and mournful duduk is a double-reed instrument, exclusive to Armenia with debatably thousands of years of history. They are made of apricot wood, and the reed is very thick compared to other similar instruments. Holes are covered with the second joint of the fingers rather than the pad, similar to the piper's grip of a low whistle. The duduk has enjoyed recognition from increased use in television and film, featuring in scores such as Gladiator and The Last Temptation of Christ.



The guanzi (or "guan", formerly known as "bili") is a double-reed similar in construction to the duduk with its own unique mournful sound. In Northern China, they are made of hardwood (with metal caps), while Southern China uses bamboo. The guan has had extensive use in both court and folk music, and is the ancestor of the Korean piri and Japanese hichiriki.



The mijwiz, and its cousin the arghul, are some of the first recorded single-reed instruments - their image has been discovered in ancient Egyptian tombs. Sound is produced when the reeds are inserted into the base, and then fully into the mouth. The mijwiz has two pipes to be played in unison, while the arghul has one melody pipe and one drone. Circular breathing is used.

Nepali Oboe


A relative of the shehnai, this instrument is a quadruple reed - a double reed within a double reed. The outer reeds are controlled by the player, while the inner vibrate freely.



This iconic free-reed wind of India is often associated with snake charming. A gourd is used as the mouthpiece, while reeds attached to double pipes vibrate to create the sound. One pipe plays melody, while the other serves as a drone. Players use circular breathing for a constant sound.



A conical quadruple-reed of north India, the shehnai is said to have been developed from the punji. The body is made of wood, with a metal bell, and the reed inserted into the top. The shenai is often used at weddings and other ceremonies.



The sho is a free-reed mouth organ, decended from the Chinese sheng, and one of the main instruments in traditional Japanese gagaku. It has seventeen bamboo pipes with metal reeds within them. The sho eminates nobility, as both its appearance and sound are said to reflect that of the mythical phoenix. Chords are produced when holes on the pipes are covered; however, too much moisture will stop the reeds from vibrating, so sho players keep a heater with them to occasionally dry their instrument during a performance.



The sipsi is a small single-reed instrument, often made out of reed itself but sometimes out of other woods. There are six finger holes - five in the front and one for the thumb. The reed is not to be soaked and must be entirely taken into the mouth to vibrate. The sipsi is used mainly in folk music.