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Lip Trumpet – The most unique musical instrument of Hmong People

The H’Mong people have a wide variety of musical instruments with sounds. If the flute is the main musical instrument played in customs and beliefs. Then the flute or lip trumpet are the musical instruments used mainly to communicate love, express love, love, and miss each other. H’Mong ethnic boys and girls.

IMG Lip Trumpet 2

1. How is lip trumpet unique?

The lip trumpet, also known as the lip lute (in H’Mong ethnic language, “tu ghe”). It’s a unique, long-standing musical instrument of the H’Mong ethnic people. The lip trumpet is a self-resonant musical instrument, made from a thin piece of copper, shaped like a rice leaf. Especially with one stem end to be held in the hand, the other end beveled to be plucked. In the middle, people create a uvula. When plucked, the uvula will vibrate, then the oral cavity is the sound resonance chamber, emitting loud, soft, deep, high-pitched, lingering sounds…

This type of musical instrument looks simple at first glance. But to make it is extremely complicated, requiring the maker to be meticulous. Also knowledgeable about musical instruments and the culture of the H’Mong people. .

2. Structure of the lip trumpet

The lip trumpet consists of 3 main parts, including a small copper tongue, a bamboo tube and a bronze reed. The parts of the lip trumpet are connected together by many brilliant threads, braided into a sturdy rope.

In the structure of the lip trumpet, the copper piece is the main part of the trumpet. The copper used to make the instrument is carefully selected. Then melted and poured molds into small, thin copper leaves. It’s about 7 cm long. After being crushed, the copper piece is divided into 2 parts, with a demarcating groove. The middle part of the copper leaf is where the reed is placed, so it must be done meticulously and carefully.

The most unique musical instrument of Hmong People

The middle part is made very thin, even, thin enough. It must not be too thick so that the sound is not standard, clear and not too thin, which will cause the trumpet to break easily. Next is the reed. The reed mounted on a piece of copper is the most important part of the lip trumpet. Whether the tone is standard or not depends on the elasticity of the reed. The tongue or small copper bar, about 5cm long, looks similar to a large sewing needle. It is aligned every centimeter and cut very tightly to the copper piece. If it is not tight, no sound will be emitted.

When the reed is attached to the copper piece, the lip trumpet will have a shape that looks like a safety pin. The remaining part of the lip trumpet is the bamboo tube (or bamboo tube, etc.). This bamboo tube is 1-2 cm longer than the trumpet, compact. And one end of the pipe is large, just enough to hold the trumpet. Also the other end is slim, just enough to thread the string through. The bamboo tube and the end of the copper piece are connected together by many colorful threads braided into a long rope.

IMG Lip Trumpet 4

3. How to use the lip trumpet?

When in use, the trumpeter will pull the trumpet out of the bamboo tube. When not in use, he will use a connecting thread to pull the trumpet into the bamboo tube for preservation. The outer body of the bamboo tube is often decorated with intricate, carved patterns or covered with a piece of fabric embroidered with embossed patterns. Patterns on the tube body are usually triangles, rectangles, leaf motifs, animals, etc. It’s like symbolizing the mountains, forests, plants and animals in the daily life of the H’Mong people.

To play the lip lute, the player must hold the base of the lute steady with his left hand, placing the lute at a sufficient distance from his lips so that it does not touch his teeth. The thumb of the right hand plucks the head of the instrument. It’s causing the reed in the instrument to vibrate, transmitting vibrations to the mouth. and resounding in the oral cavity. To be able to play the lip lute, the person playing the lip lute must know how to hold his breath. At this time, the vowels a, e, i, o, u,… will be emitted in the throat according to each melody and lyrics.

The secret to being able to play the lip harp is to know how to keep the breath in the chest so that the volume of air leaking out is not too large. Thanks to that, the air column is kept steady and the sound emitted will have different pitches. each other, creating the characteristic tones of the lip harp.

IMG Lip Trumpet 1

4. Enjoying the melody of the lip trumpet

The tone and sound of the lip trumpet when expressing love are different from the tone and sound when narrating and confiding. When blowing the trumpet to confess your love, you cannot blow it too loudly, nor too softly. The sound must be just enough for only both of you to hear. Because the lip trumpet is often used at night, the sound will be very far-reaching. As for blowing the sentimental and narrative trumpet, the sound must be loud and clear. When blown, it can be heard far away so that many people can hear, sympathize, and blow the trumpet together to harmonize.

The H’Mong people are a people rich in identity, they have a rich and unique folk culture treasure. Although the H’Mong ethnic musical instrument is simple. It’s rich in the expression of sounds and emotions. Also has an indispensable position in the cultural life of the ethnic people here.

Nowadays, with the development of modern musical instruments, as well as changes in the living environment of ethnic minorities, it is important to preserve and teach traditional music to the younger generation is very important. Because music in general and traditional music in particular is the voice of every person through many different expressions and it always lasts over time.

To enjoy the melody of the live lip trumpet is a wonderful experience, please immediately contact the Origin Vietnam team, who will accompany every step of the traveler’s journey to explore the region Northeast and Northwest of Vietnam. Especially Ha Giang, Sapa & Yen Bai with unforgettable experiences.

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