The lusheng is a free-reed mouth organ played by Dong, Hmong and other related minority peoples of Southwestern China. The Chinese lusheng is a version of the Lao gaeng differing in size and construction materials. Traditional lusheng had six bamboo pipes that were set into a bamboo or wooden wind chamber. Their size ranged from 1/3 of a metre (approx. 1 foot) to 3-4 metres (3-4 yards). Often they were played in ensembles of unison instruments, or of varying sizes and pitches, at festivals and village celebrations. Recent innovations to the lusheng have been in response to Chinese government ideologies, resulting in more pipes in order to play more complex music, and a set pitch to play with other instruments. As a result there are now professional lusheng players performing orchestral repertoires that bear no resemblance to the traditional village music.
|© R. Raine-Reusch, May 2002|