Japanese short, double-reed wind instrument, similar to the oboe. The present Japanese form is about 18 cm (7 inches) long and has seven finger holes on the front of the instrument and two thumb holes on the back. It is made of internally lacquered bamboo and wrapped with bands of cherry or wisteria bark between the finger holes. The reed (shita), being broad and thick, is placed in a widened end of the pipe, thus giving the hichiriki an external conical shape, although the pipe is cylindrical. The musician uses a loose but controlled embouchure (lip position) and delicate finger movements to create its rich, fluid melodic style. Derived from earlier continental Asian models, the hichiriki was used in ancient Japanese court music and survives in the gagaku (court music) tradition, where it shares the main melody with the ryūteki (a transverse bamboo flute).
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