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Date: Mon, 23 Aug 1999 17:46:36 -0500
From: Bonnie/Oscar <>
Subject: sua na

My device is from Marques 7 Co. New Belhi - Bombay.
I got it in 1970 in New Delhi.
It has only six finger holes, No thumb hole.

I understood it to be a Shawm, that is, the
reed is held in the mouth cavity, not between
the lips.  Pictures I have seen show some
shawms with a plate that positions the  lips
with the reed inside the mouth.

My instrument is 12 inches to the end of
the turned wood.  A 1 3/4" tapered copper
pipe is attached to the end. (small diameter
1/8".) There is a 2 3/4" diameter metal bell,
 1 1/2" long.

The reeds that came with the instrument appeared
to be short segments of horsetail rush. The segments
were tied tight to fit the 'bocal'.  The segments were
not split.  A short bit of thick drinking straw
would describe the appearance.

After soaking the reed, the sound was very
loud and raucous.

The European schwam was an outside marching instrument.
Early schwams were used inside only with a
ball of wool to soak up some sound.

This instrument certainly supports these descriptions.


inch metal bell

Date: Mon, 23 Aug 1999 19:45:25 EDT
Subject: Re: [Contra digest]

I wrote that I'd seen Cambodian art depicting
>a huge sua na-type horn, the size of a digeridoo (maybe five feet
long)...[snip].  I imagined it as something like the pedal contra-bombarde on
an organ. >

Grant Green wrote,
>Actually, it probably wouldn't be that low: considering that a bari sax (if
stretched out) is about 8', a 5-6' bombard would probably sound more like the
low Bb on a tenor sax.  OK, maybe a whole section of tenor saxes... ;-)

You're right.  My imagination went galloping around loose.

Dr. Guy Grant wrote,
>>It might have been a Tibetan rag-dun. I have one. They collapse into
themselves, have a primitive brass mouthpiece and I play mine like a

Unfortunately, I can't remember the mouthpiece of the instrument in the
Cambodian painting at all.  It did have an "armadillo plate" appearance, as
if it could close up like a telescope lens.  Thanks for the information.


Date: Mon, 23 Aug 1999 22:54:14 -0400
From: jim and joyce <>
Subject: Suo Na probably not related to Rag-dun

Guy wrote::
>>It might have been a Tibetan rag-dun. I have one.
>>They collapse into
>>themselves, have a primitive brass mouthpiece and I
>>play mine like a didjeridu.

I just got to try one of these up in Maine (shop had some for $200 each
I guess I should check Lark-in-the-AM to see if this was a good price)
They seemed nicely made and played like trumpets.  Do they work
good didg style?  I never thought to try that.


Date: Tue, 24 Aug 1999 14:12:43 -0700
From: Grant Green <>
Subject: Re: Sona

>I got a very similar device in Delhi India in 1972.  A remarkable thing
>about it was the reed.  A segment of Horsetail rush, flattened, not
>carved or split, and tied like a bassoon reed at the top to fit a short
>bocal at the top.  Un fortunately I have lost all the original reeds.
>Loud !   YES!

And, of course, there's now one up at ebay:



Grant Green  

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