Saturday, March 24, 2007

Playing the hulusi

At last it came. The book with hulusi-music I ordered from China. It is in chinese but the music at least I can read. Now I will make some real effort to learn this beautiful instrument I bought last year in Yunnan.

The hulusi is a gourd flute from the Bai people in Yunnan (they call it bilangdao) and most western music cannot be played on it. The music that can be played is very beautiful though. Sun Yu Min taught me the first grounds in place at Kunming, but it will take some time to catch up with her skills ...
Well if some of you happen to play this instrument don't hesitate to contact me. Could be nice to exchange some experiences.


shakuhachi-sigwada said...

Hello Mr Gerard
I too bought a hulusi in my recent trip to Shanghai. I'm searching for instructions on the net and have found nothing so far.
May you share with me at least a fingering chart. Thanks very much.
Basically I'm playing the shakuhachi as read on my blog
thanks very much.

Gerard Willemsen said...

Have a look at which gives a lot for beginners.
I also got help via the chinese music forum:

I got my fingering chart in a book I bought with hulusi music.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mr. Gerard
I have recently received a hulusi as a present from a friend who made a trip to china a few months ago. I have been searching for something that could possibly help me out on playing this beautiful instrument and taking care of it.
I checked out but to no avail, because I cannot read it.
A fingering chart would be wonderful if you could possibly send one to me.
Thank you very much. :)

Gerard Willemsen said...

I can send you a fingering chart but I need your email adress then..

Amy said...

Hi gerard, can you also send me a fingering chart. I bought one on a school trip and can't find anywhere that sells sheet music and i can only get about 5 notes out (when theres more). My email address is

Anonymous said...


I'm a high-school student and I have to learn how to play a gourd flute pretty quickly–I was wondering if you could send me the chart as well. My address is

Thanks a ton,

Anonymous said...

Would you please send me a fingering chart as well? Thank you! My address is:

Thank you! Carole

Anonymous said...

Could you send the fingering chart to me too? Sorry for being the thousandth person to ask for it... :SS You could perhaps scan it and put it on your blog - or that would be illegal perhaps? :S Well a fingering chart is not somebody's very own creation so it should not be illegal... :SS
Anyway, my address is Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I also went to China this summer and brought home a Hulusi. I went with Water Missions International to install water purification systems in the Guizhou Provence. I play the violin, so not much help with this instrument. I did make a car load of people bust out laughing while playing the instrument. "Mary Had A Little Lamb" went pretty well. Any information would be helpful. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Jag är också från sverige! jag befinner mig just nu i Yunnan och spelar själv hulusi. eller jag försöker. dett går inte så bra. :) Jag har dock redan ett finger chart så oroa dig inte. :) Jag provade länkarna men på en så var det alldeles för svårt för mig och den andra funkade inte. väldigt synd! Tror du att det bästa sättet att lära sig är att köpa en DVD eller så? Hur har det gått för dig och ditt spelande?

Anonymous said...

oh my gosh! I would love to be sent the fingering chart as well and any info that would help me play! I've been looking for help with this beautiful instrument for awhile now.

thank you!

Nick said...


Wow what a find. Loving my hulusi, but making bad sounds. A fingering chart would help a lot. When you get a chance. Thanks a million in advance, god bless the internet.


rosanna1 said...

I'm a flautist and my boyfriend has just bought me a hulusi from china - he had high hopes if a great performance from me but I can't even work out the notes!

It would be great if someone could email me a finger chart!

my email address is:

thank you!!

excrement said...

I would be very happy if you could send me a copy too. Jeg fik min hulusi fra mine venner pa min födelsedag men ingen finger chart. (jeg kommer fran Island sa jeg kan tale lidt skandinavisk)

Hilsen María.
mariaarnardottir @

Anonymous said...

Could you please send me a fingering chart? I've figured out some of the notes but not all of them. It would be much appreciated.
My email is

Anonymous said...

I would like a fingering chart for the Hulusi, also.
If you could send it so
that would be great.


Anonymous said...

Hi Gerald,
I went to China last summer and bought a hulusi. Now that i know what it is I want to learn how to play it. i was the only one of our group who could get a decent sound out of it. Being a brass player might have something to do with it. All the reed players were jealous that all they could do was squeak it. lol.

Anonymous said...


Sorry to bother you, but I too have been looking for help with the hulusi upon my return from China. If possible, I would love to have a fingering chart sent to me.

My email:

Bara said...

Hello, I am impressed so many people are interested in the same thing like me. I have bought one hulusi in China but haven't got any kind of hit how to play. Please send me a finger chart as well like to others. Thanks a lot. Bara

Gerard Willemsen said...

Many ask for a fingering chart, you find it here:

Anonymous said...

So many people want fingering charts for the hulusi, but this is of no avail. Fingering is not the problem with the hulusi, breathing is! And embouchure. In order to get a normal fine hulusi sound you can at first try something like a saxophone "slap tongue" attaca. In the beginning, the infamous "squeaking" sound will always return at the end of a phrase, when you make a pause. You either have to learn to stop breathing very abruptly, or, as a help, close the hole in the gourd with your tongue. Fingering is easy, so keep experimenting with breath and attaca. Good luck!

Dennis said...

Yes, please, if any of you received the fingering chart. I would love to receive it. Thank you.


ed said...

Ive been learning the hulusi/dizi for 3 few months now. The best advice I was given was by a piano player: learn the melody first then the if you cant hum, whistle the tune how can you play it.
A clear understanding of Jianpu notation is important. If you can play the dizi the hulusi is very easy however it doesnt work the other way round.
I learnt to play 'Phoenix Bamboo fern' well in 2 months. Ive had absolutely no prior musical experience.
Oh yes dont blow too hard for any note, reed damage may occur.
The note 6 is badly tuned in alot of hulusis (or no sound)This can be helped by adjusting the copper reed. Never touch the reed by hand use a small pin to 'flick' the copper tongue. Copper will eventually oxidise and this has to affect the sound. I use a TINY amount of vaseline to clean all metal areas.
Hope this helps.
Any other querries at
Ed from London

Brian said...

Hi there,
Could I also snag a fingering chart? I just discovered what the instrument actually is and I'm hoping to be able to play some non-improvisational music sometime soon. my address is
I've got a few Chinese friends so I'll try and sort through sometime soon. Thank you very much!

Canoe said...

What is the best site to order a high quality hulusi?

Thanks! CVan-C.A.

Anonymous said...

Hi. Please, can you send me a fingering chart. Thanks.

Zach said...

Wow. Lots of people like the Hulusi. I just got mine at our Renaissance faire this year, and haven't really played it much, because I have no music! If anyone found music online, please share your experience! And I haven't really had breath troubles, I'm a trumpet so breath isn't an issue for me =D. My email is thanks all!

avery13 said...

hi i am having an issue with my hulusi. basically, it doesnt smell very nice. it has a very pungent smell. how do i rid of the smell?



Anonymous said...

Here's a great book about playing hulusi and its cousin the bawu, Also includes advice about maintenance, etc:

Anonymous said...

Here's a great book about playing hulusi and its cousin the bawu, Also includes advice about maintenance, etc:

Otao said...

Can you send me a fingering chart, please?