Vale Pairang Pavavaljung (b. 1935 – d. 2023): The Ravar Paiwan Flute and its place in Paridrayan

| Jarrod Sim
Pairang Pavavaljung adjusting the binding for a Ravar lalingedan Photo: Etan Creative Vision Art Studio, 2021. All rights reserved.

Vale Pairang Pavavaljung (b. 1935 – d. 2023): The Ravar Paiwan Flute and its place in Paridrayan

Vale Pairang Pavavaljung (b. 1935 – D. 2023): The Ravar Paiwan Flute And Its Place In Paridrayan | Jarrod Sim

Legend has it that the notes of the flute 
Are the voices of two brothers 
Singing and humming atop a mountain, 
Where the wind blows 
Elder brother leading the younger 
Younger harmonising with the elder. 
Legend has it that the notes of the 
Flute are two brothers chanting 
Music originating from the birds, the bees, the wind 
Two brothers singing 
About yearning, loneliness, and life’s recollections. 
-    Etan Pavavalung, Itja Sa Marekaka Milimilingan, (2011)  

Indigenous Taiwanese music is generally vocal, with the flute being the only aerophone instrument. Among the different types of musical instruments, the palingedr (Paiwan flutes), also known as lalingedan (double-piped nose flute and double piped mouth flute) and pakulalu (single pipe mouth flute), have grown in prominence internationally. Its twin-pipe iterations are well-known amongst people familiar with Taiwanese indigenous music, as it is allegedly the only double-barrel bamboo flute in the world. The twin-pipe iterations are composed of one pipe possessing a tuned finger-hole system and the other, a hole-less pipe that creates a droning sound that is tuned to the root note of the equal-length pipes.1 These flutes can be found in both the Vuculj and Ravar tribes and are easily distinguishable. Features that set them apart include the sound of the flute, species of bamboo, and the length and octave of the instrument – with the Ravar flute possessing a brighter timbre, a higher octave, a shorter length, and a lighter weight and colour. The regional and site-specific preference for the materiality of the instrument is largely determined by environmental factors.

The average key signature of Ravar flutes resemble the western diatonic scale of F, although the scale does not follow the equal temperament tuning system. The flute can also achieve microtonal intervals through a partial covering of the finger-holes and has a range of three octaves. Ravar nose-flute master Pairang Pavavaljung (b. 1935 – d. 2023) told me that as a child, the flute had always consisted of either a single or two pipes with finger-holes ranging between two to five. Over time, more holes were included in the design to incorporate different tuning systems and by extension, increase the range and repertoire of the instrument. Currently, the largest number of holes added to the flute is seven, mimicking the western diatonic scale.

Pairang Pavavaljung (Paridrayan village, Ravar Paiwan) was a key knowledge custodian of the Ravar flute. In his life, he held the title of 國寶guóbǎo (national treasure). This title was officially bestowed on him by the Taiwanese government in 2011. Pairang was one of the few Paiwan elders whose knowledge of the flute was held in high regard nationally and among performers, enthusiasts, and researchers. He was the last living Ravar representative for the flute.

Hu Tai-li, one of the most notable anthropologists in Taiwan, had researched and published many articles on the Paiwan flute. Her field sites were in the Vuculj Piuma and Kuljaljao communities. Due to this, much of her written work had focused on the Vuculj flute. In 2000, however, Hu had also directed an ethnographic film on the instrument called Sounds of Love and Sorrow where she had included the Ravar flute, featuring Pairang as its sole representative. The favourable reception of this film, according to ethnomusicologist Wang Yin-Feng, had transformed the Paiwan flute into a “totem” of Paiwan culture, especially among researchers and locals.2 Nonetheless, pre-existing literature on the flute discusses the instrument exclusively from a Vuculj perspective.3 This might be due to the fact that there was only one Ravar ‘national treasure’ left. With Pairang’s passing last year, there is no longer a Ravar representative holding the title. 

Wang writes that the colonial Japanese musicologist, Kurosawa Takatomo, in his 1943-1945 survey of indigenous communities in Southern Taiwan, had documented and recorded instances of other groups such as the Drekai, Tsou, and Amis who have similar flutes that are played by both the mouth and nose, but are no longer commonly played today. The flute’s current “totemic” status and strong association with the Paiwan, is due to the Paiwan having the most vibrant flute teaching and performing culture today, with teachers taking in both Paiwan and non-Paiwan students. Historically speaking, the Vuculj limited flute-playing to mazazangiljan (noble class) men while all Ravar men were taught the flute. The absence of a class restriction in its pedagogy, is one of the distinguishing factors between the Ravar and Vuculj flute pedagogy. Today, everyone can play the Ravar flutes – even an amerika (foreigner) like myself. In addition, many Paiwan women have started learning the flute. An outstanding advocate for the teaching and performance of the flute is Sauniaw Tjuvelievelj. She is a teacher and a published author from the Vuculj village, Sinavudjan, located in the South of Pingtung County.

I was one of these non-Paiwan, amerika, students of Pairang in 2019. In my second week in Paridrayan, I was invited to join Pairang’s weekly flute classes, of which there were already three students: Zaletj Rupunayan, Dremedreman Talumiling and Sutipau Tjaruzaljum. During my first lesson, Pairang begun with a basic description of the cultural and pedagogical philosophy passed down to him. He emphasised that a player must know how to make a flute along with being able to play one and that there was no exception to this rule. As a result, each lesson consisted of teaching both the construction and performance of the flute. Back then, Pairang had lent me one of his flutes to practice with. It was made in 2018 and contained carvings of Paiwan iconography. He had let me borrow his flute for his lessons and then offered me to sell me his flute upon conclusion. I keep it today as a memento of Pairang’s sound, and reflect upon it as evidence of his physical mark in this world.

The making and performing aspects of the Ravar flute are always taught in tandem, establishing the musical and material relationship the community and the instruments share. The general materials used to make a Ravar Paiwan flute comprise of bamboo, rattan, hard wood (such as the wood from the orange jessamine murraya paniculate ) and gum as an adhesive, although originally, the pipes were bounded together without an adhesive. Sourcing for bamboo only occurs in winter, because moisture in the wood would be at its lowest, an ideal condition for high-quality material and sound.

The flute that I acquired from Pairang is tuned closer to what is typically a western G in the diatonic scale. It was created in 2018, when Pairang was 87 years old. As with age, a person loses muscle mass in their body, especially their fingers – thus making the measurements different from flutes made in his younger years, in turn altering the sound of the flute. The different tuning of the flute (including its length and hole placements) is what I term the maker’s mark, which carry with it a specific point in time in the maker’s life. These markings monumentalise the maker’s biography as well as the bamboo grown in a location where exposure to the wind is at its peak.

Flutes are historically made in the absence of a ruler. The distances between each hole are equidistant from each other and is measured through the middle phalanx of the maker’s index finger. The distance between the lowest hole from the base of the flute is measured by grabbing the flute from its base and making sure there is a four-finger spacing (excluding the thumb) from the base of the flute to the first qivuivu (finger-holes or ‘to speak’). On multiple occasions I observed that Pairang would use these ways of measuring rather than a ruler. Such a method of measuring produces interesting relations between the maker and the instrument. It indicates that each flute is unique to the maker’s hand, therefore imbuing a ‘made in Paridrayan’ agency that cannot be contested.

Over time, the Ravar flute has evolved greatly with an ever-expanding repertoire, alongside alterations to its design and social function. What had remained relatively the same for the Ravar are the materials, performance techniques and the signature glissando style. According to Pairang, the Ravar incorporate much more glissando in their melodies as compared to the Vuculj. The glissando style of the Ravar repertoire is often described to imitate the aesthetic of the natural environment at Paridrayan: the wind, birds, bees, and the winding roads. This description contrasts the Vuculj perception of the flute intended to only mimic the sound of the hundred-pacer snake, making the Ravar flutes more exclusive than the Vuculj flutes.

One early exchange with Pairang about Ravar sound and its resonance with the surrounding environment comes to mind. It was a rainy day on the sixth of August, the monsoon season. It was a Tuesday morning, and I was attending my second flute lesson at Pairang’s house. Pairang, three other students (Dremedreman, Sutipao, Zaletj) and I sat on his veranda around a round slate table for our lesson. The sub-tropical rain was hammering down on the zinc roof and the asphalt road, sounding like ping-pong balls falling from the sky – I could barely make out the sound of the flute. I asked Pairang if we should move inside to avoid the noise. He proceeded to say that it was unnecessary because the sound of the flute represents the natural environment. Playing in the open, with the rain, would make the flute’s sound become even more ‘authentic’.4 What defines ‘authenticity’ is specific to the community that ascribes these delineations. Space, in this sense, has specific functions that affect the way people behave, utilise, perceive, and comprehend ‘authenticity’ based on its social contexts.

The environment acts as a foundational axis that shapes and frames the way the Paridrayan community makes sense of the world. ‘Authenticity’ to Pairang did not exclusively privilege the sounding of the flute. The ambient sounds produce an insight into how the spirit of place is not exclusive to human activity but includes human activity. The flute should be played outdoors, regardless of external factors or weather conditions. The sound of the flute is merely an inclusion within the Paridrayan landscape that symbolically represent the “spirit” of an enduring space.

The Paiwan flute is both a perceptual and aesthetic artefact. Its tangibility is based on a site-specificity exclusive to Paridrayan makers, while its aesthetics aim to emulate the environment, possessing a repertoire that sonically embodies this genius loci. These qualities move in tandem with the community who designed, tuned, and contextualised the instrument according to a spirit of place that is derived from a unique sensibility of place and space-making. In fact, each song of the Paridrayan community has a specific memory attached to it. Some songs have unknown provenance or meanings while others had been developed over multiple generations. Nonetheless, each song represents a part of the collective memory of the community. As long as the zemingrau (drone) is sounded, ancestors that had once performed these songs are activated. Through these relations, playing the flute can be seen as a symbolic evocation of ancestors and their infinite continuity. Playing the songs Pairang once played symbolically returns him to Paridrayan.


1. Unless explicitly stated, the flute in this essay refer to lalingedan – the twin-piped iterations.

2. Wang, Ying-Fen. 2008. Tingjian Zhimin Di: Heize Longchao Yu Zhanshi Yinyue Diaocha (1943) Listening to the Colony: Kurosawa Takatomo and the Wartime Survey of Formosan Music (1943) . Taipei: National Taiwan University Press. P.185.

3. Hsu, Chia-Hao. 2019. ‘Reviving Musical Indigeneity: Institutionalization, Transmission, and Revival of Taiwan’s Aboriginal Music’. Texas: The University of Texas at Austin; Hu, Tai-li. 2005. ‘The Camera Is Working: Paiwan Aesthetics and Performances in Taiwan’. In Expressive Genres and Historical Change: Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Taiwan, edited by J. Pamela Stewart and Andrew Strathern. 1: 153–172. Routledge; Huang, Yunzhen. 2011. ‘Paiwanzu Shuangguan Bidi Zhi Yueqi Xingzhi Yanzou Yu Yingyong Structure, Performance, and Application on The Double-Pipe Nose Flute of Paiwan ’. Pingtung: Cultural Affairs Bureau of Pingtung County; Ma, Ming-Hui. 2017. "A Study of the Traditional Music Characteristics of Lalingedan by Sauniaw Tjuvelievelj in Taiwan" Paper presented at the 44th ICTM World Conference, Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick, Limerick, 17 July 2017.

4. Here, the Mandarin Chinese word used was “自然” which can also mean nature, organic or natural. However, authentic would be the best translation in this particular context.

Ari, Pairang Pavavaljung(民國 24 —112年): 在paridrayan(大社部落)吹奏的 Ravar Paiwan Palingedr(拉瓦爾排灣笛子) | Jarrod Sim
 + 誕創藝視界企業社演出。 , 民國113年. 佈景設計:Etan Pavavalung. 照片:國立傳統藝術中心.

Ari, Pairang Pavavaljung(民國 24 —112年): 在Paridrayan(大社部落)吹奏的 Ravar Paiwan Palingedr(拉瓦爾排灣笛子)

Ari, Pairang Pavavaljung(民國 24 —112年): 在Paridrayan(大社部落)吹奏的 Ravar Paiwan Palingedr(拉瓦爾排灣笛子)

-    Etan Pavavalung 伊誕 · 巴瓦瓦隆 (2011)

台灣原住民音樂一般以人聲為主,笛子是唯一的吹管樂器。在各種不同類型的樂器之中,Paiwan(排灣族)的笛子,在國際上逐漸備受矚目。Paiwan的笛子被稱為「palingedr」、也被稱爲 「lalingedan」(雙管口鼻笛)和「pakulalu」(吹奏笛音)。而當中的雙管構造在熟悉台灣原住民音樂的人士中非常有名,據稱是世界上唯一的雙管竹笛。雙管構造由一個設有調音指孔的管「cemikecikem」,和另一個能發出低沈單調的持續音的無孔管「zemingrau」所組成,而其中無孔管的調音為同等長管的低音1 。這些笛子可在Paiwan Vuculj(布曹爾)和Paiwan Ravar(拉瓦爾)族中找到,而且容易辨認。使它們與眾不同的特點包括笛音、竹子品種以及樂器的長度和音階——Ravar族的笛子具有更明亮的音色、更高的八度音階、較短的體型、較輕的重量和較淺的顏色。對樂器材料的地區性和特定場域偏好主要取決於環境因素。

Ravar palingedr的平均音調與西方的F大調音階相似,即便這個大調並不遵循等律調音系統。竹笛還可以透過局部覆蓋指孔來實現微音間隔,且有三個八度音階。Ravar鼻笛大師Pairang Pavavaljung (許坤仲,1935—2023年)告訴我,在他小時候,無論是單管或雙管笛子,指孔數量是介於二到五個之間。隨著時間的推移,笛子的設計增加了更多的孔,以納入不同的調音系統,進而擴大樂器的音域和曲目。目前,笛子最多的孔數增加到七個,效仿了西方的F大調音階。

Pairang Pavavaljung(Paridrayan,Ravar Paiwan)是Ravar palingedr的關鍵知識傳承者。在他的一生中,他被授予了「國寶」的稱號。這個榮譽是台灣政府2011年正式賜予他的。Pairang是少數幾個對笛子的瞭解在全國演奏者、愛好者和研究人員中受到高度重視的排灣長者之一。他是最後一位Ravar palingedr的代表人物。

胡台麗,台灣最著名的人類學家之一,曾研究並發表了許多關於Paiwan palingedr的文章。她的田野地點位於Vuculj Piuma(布曹爾比悠瑪)和Kuljaljao(舊古樓)部落社區。因此,她的許多著作都集中在 Vuculj palingedr上。然而,民國89年,胡台麗還執導了一部關於竹笛的民族誌電影,名為《愛戀排灣笛》,影片中包含了Ravar palingedr,並以Pairang作為唯一代表。根據民族音樂學家王櫻芬的說法,這部電影的好評將Paiwan palingedr轉化為Paiwan文化的「圖騰」,特別是對於研究人員和當地人來說。然而,現有關於palingedr的文獻,僅僅從Vuculj的角度對此樂器2 進行討論。這可能是因為只有剩下一位Ravar「國寶」。隨著Pairang於去年過世,再也沒有Ravar代表擁有這個頭銜了。

王櫻芬寫道,殖民時期的日本音樂學家黑澤隆朝在民國32年至34年對台灣南部原住民社區的調查中,記錄並 記載了其他的一些族群,例如Drekai魯凱族)、Tsou鄒族)和Amis阿美族),他們也有類似的笛子,使用口鼻吹奏,但如今已不再普遍。笛子今日具有的「圖騰」地位並與Paiwan的緊密聯繫,是因為Paiwan擁有當今最活躍的笛子教學和表演文化,加上教師接納了Paiwan和非-Paiwan的學生。從歷史上看,Vuculj palingedr的演奏僅限於mazazangiljan(貴族階級)的男性,而所有Ravar男性都會學習演奏笛子。在其教學中沒有階級限制是Ravar和Vuculj palingedr教學之間的一個區別元素。如今,每個人都可以演奏Ravar palingedr——甚至像我這樣的Amerika外國人)也可以。此外,許多Paiwan婦女已開始學習吹奏笛子,對於笛子的教學和表演,其中一位傑出的倡導者是Sauniaw Tjuveljevelj少妮瑤‧久分勒)。她是來自Sinavudjan東源村),屏東縣南部Vuculj村的一名教師和作家。

民國108年,我是Pairang眾多非-Paiwan,Amerika學生之一。在Paridrayan部落的第二個星期,我受邀參加Pairang每週的笛子課程,當時已有三名學生: Zaletj Rupunayan(余衛民)、Dremedreman Talumiling(卓惠萍)和Sutipau Tjaruzaljum(陳亮)。在我的第一堂課中,Pairang開始講解他過去被傳承的文化和教育哲學的基本內容。他強調,一位palingedr演奏家必須知道如何製作,並且能夠演奏笛子,這一點毫無例外。因此,每堂課的教學都包含笛子的製作和演奏。那時,Pairang曾借給我他自己的笛子來練習。這支笛子是民國107年製作的,上面雕刻著Paiwan的圖像。他讓我在上課時借用他的笛子,並在課程結束後向我出售笛子。我至今仍保留著這支笛子,以紀念Pairang的聲音,並將其視為他在這個世界上留下的證據。

 + , 民國110年. Jarrod Sim收藏照片.

製作和演奏Ravar palingedr的教學過程總是同時並行,建立了音樂和材料之間的關係,以及部落和樂器之間的分享。製作Paiwan palingedr通常使用的材料包括竹子、藤蔓、硬木(例如橙葉栀子)和樹脂作為黏合劑,即便最初管子是沒有使用黏合劑綁束在一起的。竹子的採集僅在冬季進行,因為製作雙管笛的材料中的水分量會處於最低點,這是獲得高品質材料和聲音的理想條件。


 + Pairang Pavavaljung 整理Ravar lalingedan , 民國110年。. 照片提供:伊誕創藝視界 : 版權所有。.


跟著社會進展,Ravar palingedr的設計和社交功能有一些變化 。保持相對不變的是材料、演奏技巧和獨特的滑音風格。Pairang說,與Vuculj相比,Ravar在其旋律中融合更多的滑音。Ravar曲目的滑音風格通常被描述為模仿Paridrayan部落自然環境的美感:風、鳥、蜜蜂和蜿蜒的道路。這種描述與Vuculj對笛子僅用於模仿百步蛇聲音的感知形成對比,使得Ravar比Vuculj版本更特別。

早期,我記得有一次與Pairang商量關於Ravar聲音及其與周圍環境共鳴。民國108年八月六日季風季節,雨天。那是星期二的早晨,我參加在Pairang家的第二堂笛子課。我和Pairang,還有其他三位學生(Dremedreman、Sutipao、Zaletj)坐在他的門廊上,圍著一張圓石桌上課。亞熱帶的雨猛烈地打在鐵皮屋頂和柏油馬路上,聽起來像是從天空落下的乒乓球聲——我幾乎聽不到笛子的聲音。我問Pairang是否應該搬到室內以避免噪音。他認為這是不必要的。笛子的聲音代表了自然環境。在雨中吹奏會使笛子的聲音變得更加「自然」。 「自然」是由賦予這些界定的社群所特定的,也能說是表達「純正」的說法。環境空間具有特定的功能,影響著人們根據其社會背景來行為、利用、感知和理解「真實性」的方式。


Paiwan palingedr是一種感知和美學的物件。它的可感知性基於Paridrayan製作者獨有的特定場所性,而它的美學則旨在模仿環境,具有以聲音體現這種特定場所精神的曲目。這些特質隨演奏社區同心協力,源自獨特地方地理感知的精神,與設計、調音和脈絡化樂器。事實上,Paridrayan的每一首歌都有特定的記憶與之相關。有些曲子的來源或含義至今不明,而其他歌曲則是經過多代人發展而來。然而,每一首曲子都是社區集體記憶的一部分。只要吹奏zemingrau(低音),曾經演奏過這些歌曲的祖先就會被喚起。這些關係指出,演奏笛子可以被看作是對召喚祖先和他們無限延續的象徵。演奏Pairang曾演奏的曲子在象徵意義上將他帶回到Paridrayan。



Translator譯:Jason JS Lee李嘉昇



Ma, Ming-Hui. 2017. "A Study of the Traditional Music Characteristics of Lalingedan by Sauniaw Tjuvelievelj in Taiwan" Paper presented at the 44th ICTM World Conference, Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick, Limerick, 17 July 2017. m%20world%20conference.pdf.

1. 除非明確說明,否則本文中的笛子指的是lalingedan——雙管版本。

2. Hsu, Chia-Hao. 2019. ‘Reviving Musical Indigeneity: Institutionalization, Transmission, and Revival of Taiwan’s Aboriginal Music’. Texas: The University of Texas at Austin; Hu, Tai-li. 2005. ‘The Camera Is Working: Paiwan Aesthetics and Performances in Taiwan’. In Expressive Genres and Historical Change: Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Taiwan, edited by J. Pamela Stewart and Andrew Strathern. 1: 153–172.

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