Raj Hliav Ncauj / Raj Ntsia | HMong Beveled Recorder
Many HMong musicians say the raj hliav ncauj and the raj ntsaws are the hardest Hmong instruments to play—even moreso than the qeej! The difference between the two lies in how they produce sound: the raj hliav ncauj has a bamboo strip (called the "pluab ncau" in HMoob) inserted into the mouthpiece to separate the musician's airstream—it is also called the raj ntsia (pluab ncau) for this reason, the raj ntsaws has a wooden stopper (called the "ntsaws" in HMoob, thus the name) which directs the air into the window/ramp to create sound. The ability to control one's breath when playing the raj ntsaws is extremely crucial—just a small change in how hard one blows can change the musical octave of any note. Coupled with the typically faster music of the raj ntsaws, only extremely talented musicians are able to speak/play the "six-finger" or rau-ntiv styles of the raj hliav ncauj musical languages well. Compared to the raj ntsaws, their sound can be described as more "hollow"—this sound is a timbre that some musicians feel is more kho siab than the raj ntsaws.
These are expertly crafted in Luang Prabang, Laos by Xov Yeeb Vaaj.
These raj hliav ncauj measure between 19 inches (48 cm) and 21 inches (53 cm) long and approximately 1 inches (2.5 cm) in diameter/thickness. Entirely constructed from bamboo.
Return and Refund Policy
If your package is lost/damaged during delivery, I will replace it free of charge. Upon arrival, please check to ensure everything is okay and notify me immediately if otherwise. If a package arrives damaged, I may require it sent back to me–and a refund/replacement will be issued when the item is returned—I will pay for return shipping. Bamboo and wood instruments are prone to cracking if you salivate into the instrument too much when playing, causing it to expand unevenly, if it is exposed to rapid changes in temperature/humidity in your home and care, etc. If you have played your instrument, I cannot honor a return due to small cracks that develop that do not affect the sound—again, due to the nature of wood and bamboo. However, if big splitting cracks happen, I will replace it free of charge. However, I cannot offer a return in any case after a month of you receiving the instrument—again due to the nature of instruments being in your care and exposed to any of the above mentioned conditions. Lastly, instruments can crack from consistent and strong vibration from the reed, thus, all raj, qeej, etc. will eventually crack with time—poor sounding instruments are actually likely to last longer because the reed produces weak vibrations and sounds. Wear and tear is the nature of bamboo and wood. It is not a question of "if," but "when" your raj/qeej/etc will crack—all of this is affected by the variance in each piece of bamboo and wood, how often you do or do not play, the consistency of your playing, the climate where you reside, etc. But as the HMong saying goes, "tshuab thawg ntau lub thiaj keej, tshuab puas ob peb rab thiaj ua tau txiv qeej..."
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