a musical instrument: the tilincã (end-blown flute)
of very straight willow, fairly thick and damp, measuring about
40 cm in length. The branch should be cut from the tree with a
good knife on a damp spring day (very important!).
branch firmly in the middle with your left hand (or right hand
if you are left-handed). With your right hand, start to gently
peel the bark around the wood in both directions trying to pull
it off in one piece. Continue to do this patiently with delicate
circular movements until you can take out the middle of the branch
without harming the bark skin. You will thus obtain a tube of
fresh bark. Gently fold back (or remove) a small piece of one
of the ends, thus constructing the mouthpiece of a natural aerophone
instrument, the tilincã.
instrument lightly against your lower lip in a vertical position
and blow into it. At the same time, partially close and open the
other end of the tube with the first finger of your right hand
(or left if you are left-handed!), in a rhythmic fashion. Try
coordinating the blowing and rapid movement of your index finger
several times. You can also try a number of different ways to
partially cover the opening. Each time, you will obtain notes
of different pitches. When you feel that you have a good control
of the pitch, try to produce a simple melody composed of four
to six notes strung together (C - D - E - F# - G). Be careful:
when the bark tilincã is completely dry, it will no longer make
any sound. You will have to wait for the next damp day and make
If you donšt
have any willow handy, search around - preferably in the garden,
where a plumber may have forgotten some of his material, perhaps
some metal, wood or plastic tubing with a clean smooth interior.
The tube must be as long as possible but no longer than your arms!
Make sure the inside is clean and polish it at one of the ends
where you will be pressing your lower lip. Make the air vibrate
in the tube by blowing into it and move the index finger of your
right (or left) hand very quickly over the other opening. Try
blowing into it and moving your finger for a while. Then try to
play a song.
metal or plastic tilincã has the advantage of being very sturdy.