Nā Mea Haʻa Paʻahana - Hula Instruments

Contributed and researched by Kalani N. Poʻomaihealani

  1. Hano: nose flute
  2. Hōkeo kani: wind instrument
  3. Hōkiokio: gourd whistle
  4. ʻIliʻili: small, smooth, black stones sometimes call Hawaiian castanets. 2 stones are placed in each hand and struck together to make a clicking sound
  5. Ipu: drum consisting of a single gourd or made of two large gourds of unequal size joined together
  6. Ipu heke: gourd drum with a top section
  7. Ipu heke ʻole: single drum gourd without a top section
  8. Ipu hoehoe: gourd whistle
  9. Ipu hula: dance drum made of two gourds sewed together
  10. Ipu paʻi: gourd drum
  11. Ipu uai, ipu uwai, ipu wai: movable gourd drum
  12. Kā: drum beater made from dried ti-leaves, usually braided, used on the pūniu
  13. Kāʻekeʻeke: bamboo pipes, varying in length from 20 to 60 inches. The longer the length, the, deeper the tone. The diameter may be one inch or larger; with one end open and the other closed by the node. A player holds one vertically in each hand, tapping down on a mat or the ground. Several musicians might play at the same time for harmony.

    Measurements for "tunings" established by Nona Beamer

    F19 1/2"
    D23 3/4"
    B flat29 1/4"
    A30 5/8"
    G34 1/8"
    F sharp 38 3/4"
    F39 1/8"
    B flat58 1/8"
  14. Kālāʻau: dancing sticks varying in length. The shorter sticks are approximately 12-14 inches. Another type is a longer stick about 6 inches taller than the dancer, held in the left hand, with a much shorter stick, about 14 inches in length, held in the right hand. The ancient kālaʻau were made from hau, kauila or milo wood with tiki carvings on one end. The advent of christianity removed the tiki, but retained simple carvings. One stick was struck on the other, then rolled along the other stick to make a clacking sound. Today, there are no carvings and the sticks are simply struck, one upon the other
  15. Nīʻau Kani: A true Jew's harp, made of a thin strip of wood, about 4 inches long and 1 inch wide, with a coconut midrib (niau) or bamboo strip lashed length wise; played almost like the ʻukēkē
  16. Pahu: drum usually made from trunk of the coconut tree varying in size from about 1 foot to 3-4 feet, with a sharkskin covering. The skin is taken from the right side of the shark
  17. Pahu Paʻi: small sharkskin hula drum
  18. Pahūpahū: same as kāʻekeʻeke
  19. Papa Hehi: footboard, used for dancing; treadle
  20. Pū: large triton conch shell
  21. Pū Lāʻī: ti leaf whistle
  22. Pūʻili: bamboo rattles about 20 inches long and about 1 and 1/2 inches in diameter, with node at one end used as the handle. Bamboo is slit lengthwise, slivers between strands removed, that allows the bamboo to rattle or rustle.
  23. Pūniu: small knee drum made from half a coconut shell. The drum skin is usually from the Kala fish
  24. ʻUkēkē: a variety of musical bow, fifteen inches to two feet long and about an inch and a half wide, with two or commonly three strings, drawn through holes at one end. The strings were strummed. The old experts made no sound with the vocal cords, but the mouth cavity acted as a resonance chamber. The resulting sound suggested speech and trained persons could understand this language. It was sometimes used for love making
  25. ʻUlili: A musical instrument consisting of 3 laʻamia pierced by a stick; a string is attached to the center gourd, wound around the stick and when pulled, twirls the gourds and makes a whirring sound. The outer gourds usually contain aliʻipoe seeds or shells
  26. ʻUlīʻulī: gourd rattle, containing aliʻipoe seeds with colored feathers at the top, used for the hula ʻulīʻulī; to rattle