`Ohe Hano Ihu
The Hawaiian Lover's Flute

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`Ohe Hano Ihu
(Native Hawaiian Flutes)

Native American Flutes




`Ohe Hano Ihu
Hawaiian Nose Flute

     The nose flute is found throughout Polynesia. The Bishop Museum, on O`ahu, has flutes from Hawai‘i, the Caroline Islands, Fiji, the Marquesas, Tonga, Niue, Futuna, and Tahiti. The Samoan people played their courting flute using the mouth. In Aotearoa the flutes were made of wood or human bone. In Hawai`i, the nose flute is used in the hula, the traditional dance of Hawai`i, as well as in courting.
    As a sweetheart’s instrument, it is not at all loud. Rather, the tone is intended to be soft and sweet. Traditionally, it is not played in concert for a large audience, but played in a quiet place for a someone special.
    According to one legend, a god taught a young chief to make the nose flute so that he could court a beautiful girl from the valley below his upland court. The nose flute is found in many Hawaiian legends of courtship and romance.
     In the Hawaiian language, the flute is known by a number of names: Hano, "nose flute," (Pukui and Elbert 1986), by the more specific term 'ohe hano ihu, "bamboo flute [for] nose," `ohe hanu ihu, "bamboo [for] nose breath" (Nona Beamer lectures), and the evocative term, “mea ho‘oipoipo” or “thing for lovemaking.” 
     There are different ways to play the `ohe hano ihu. Two of the more common are to hold it similar to a cigarette, and to hold it similar to a cigar. In the “Cigarette Style,” the flute is held between the index and middle finger, about three or four inches from the node. The thumb is placed gently against the nostril. the flute is angled so breath from the open nostril flows across the breath hole near the node. The other hand stops the tone holes. In the “Cigar Style,” the flute is held between the middle or fourth finger and the thumb. The index finger is used to press the nose.
     In either hold, while gently breathing out through the nose, adjust the angle of the flute so that the air passes across the top hole. Move the flute slowly into various positions until you can make a tone. Continue to adjust until the tone is clear and pleasant. Read more by clicking here. . .

Native Hawaiian musician Manu Josiah shares his mana`o on the Native Hawaiian flute.

Hawaiian musician Manu Josiah and his wife, Leilehua Yuen, talk story about the `ohe hano ihu, the Native Hawaiian flute.

 Blackfeet musician Troy De Roche talks story with Hawaiian musician Manu Josiah about the physics of flute playing - impromptu duet.

    Ka`ahele Hawai`i  is an electronic magazine of Hawai`i Island. We hope to provide material of interest and usefulness to readers both on and off Ka Moku Hawai`i. Website design and management is by Yuen Media Services. We would like to invite YOU, the reader, to participate in the development of this site. Please let us know of any suggestions you may have to make this site more useful and enjoyable. Mahalo, Leilehua Yuen.


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