Madake bamboo flute

The Madake bamboo flute is a type of traditional Japanese flute that has been in use for centuries. The flute is made from a single piece of bamboo and is favored for its sweet, mellow tone. It has been used in a wide range of musical genres, including classical music, folk music, and contemporary music.

How the Madake Bamboo Flute is Made

The Madake bamboo flute is made using a special type of bamboo that grows in Japan. The bamboo is harvested in the winter when the plant is dormant, and the stalks are cut to the desired length using a saw. The bamboo is then split into four equal pieces using a special tool called a “nakashiki.”

Once the bamboo has been split, the pieces are soaked in water to make them more pliable. The pieces are then shaved down with a knife to create the shape of the flute. The inside of the flute is carefully hollowed out using a long, thin tool called a “tobacco.”

Finally, the pieces of the flute are glued together and wrapped with thread to hold them in place. The flute is then sanded down and polished to give it a smooth, glossy finish.

Madake bamboo flute

See also: Chinese bamboo flute notes

Types of Madake Bamboo Flutes

There are several different types of Madake bamboo flutes, each with its own unique sound and playing style. The most commonly used type is the “jiari” flute, which is made using a special type of bamboo that is aged for several years before being used to make the flute. Jiari flutes are known for their rich, full-bodied sound and are often used in classical music.

Another type of Madake bamboo flute is the “hochiku,” which is made using a thinner, more delicate type of bamboo. Hochiku flutes have a softer, more mellow sound and are often used in folk music.

Playing the Madake Bamboo Flute

Playing the Madake bamboo flute requires a great deal of skill and practice. The flute is held horizontally and is played by blowing air across the top of the instrument. The player uses their fingers to cover and uncover the holes along the length of the flute to produce different notes.

In addition to playing individual notes, the Madake bamboo flute is also capable of producing a wide range of articulations and embellishments, such as vibrato, trills, and glissandos. These techniques are used to add expression and emotion to the music.

Applications of the Madake Bamboo Flute

The Madake bamboo flute has been used in a wide range of musical genres throughout its history. In classical music, the flute is often used as a solo instrument or as part of an ensemble. It has been featured in works by famous composers such as Debussy and Hovhaness.

In folk music, the Madake bamboo flute is often used to accompany traditional Japanese songs and dances. It has also been used in contemporary music, including jazz and world music.


The Madake bamboo flute is a beautiful and versatile instrument with a long and rich history in Japanese music. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, the flute offers a wide range of playing styles and techniques to explore. With its sweet, mellow tone and expressive playing style, the Madake bamboo flute is a true gem in the world of musical instruments.