Our Privacy Statement & Cookie Policy

By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies, revised Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can change your cookie settings through your browser.

I agree

Lingering Melody on the Plateau: The eagle flute


In the past, herders on the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau played a musical instrument fashioned from a wing bone of an eagle to keep themselves entertained while their animals grazed. The eagle flute, as it's known, has a history of over 1,600 years. These days, sadly, few people are skilled at making and playing it. Part of the problem is the difficulty of finding suitable eagle bones.  

Yugu, who lives in Amdo County, Xizang Autonomous Region, learned to play the eagle flute from his father. Now that he's getting old, and with his sight failing, he's desperate to find someone to inherit the art. He's pinning his hopes on his granddaughter.  

Tsenten is a Lhasa-based eagle flute player. He and his friend Dorje are working together to preserve its music. But it's been a struggle to find suitable eagle bones for making the traditional flute. So instead they've developed a Tibetan recorder with the same range and fingering technique.  

Will Yugu find his successor? Will Tsenten and Dorje's substitute instrument serve its purpose?

Search Trends