the Pipe and Tabor compendium

the Pipe and Tabor compendium

essays on the three-hole pipe

other three-hole pipes: Africa

The Tambin / Fula flute and others

The tambin, traditional Fulani flute of the Fouta Djallon highlands of Guinea, is a three-hole wood flute.
[I was playing the pipe and tabor in Parliament Square, London, and someone came up to me to talk. That is how I found out about the tambin, a sideways playing flute with only three holes.]

The tambin is revered for the profound effect it has on listeners, often bringing them to tears with its haunting sounds and melodies that reach deep inside one's soul. It is played all over West Africa by the Peul people. Because it is so long both hands are needed to play all the notes. These days it is used in public orchestras with a mixture of instruments and singing, as well as being played solo.

The tambin is a tube with usually three holes. Traditionally it is wrapped around with leather and wax and decorated with sea shells. Two or more notes are sounded simultaneously and integrated with mouth sounds.

group of fula flutesgroup of fula flutes


more information on African three-hole flutes

more music

flutes for sale - see lower part of page

example on video

snake charmer
1817 newspaper report: 1817Hampshire Chronicle - Monday 20 January 1817
1948 negative1948 Fulani orchestra (negative)
EthiopiaEthiopia - is this a fipple pipe or a trumpet of some sort?  


top of page