Nā Mea Ha'a Pa'ahana - Hula Instruments
Contributed and researched by Kalani N. Po'omaihealani
1. Hano: nose flute
2. Hōkeo kani: wind instrument
3. Hōkiokio: gourd whistle
4. 'Ili'ili: small, smooth, black stones sometimes call Hawaiian castanets. 2 stones are
placed in each hand and struck together to make a clicking sound
5. Ipu: drum consisting of a single gourd or made of two large gourds of unequal size joined
6. Ipu heke: gourd drum with a top section
7. Ipu heke 'ole: single drum gourd without a top section
8. Ipu hoehoe: gourd whistle
9. Ipu hula: dance drum made of two gourds sewed together
10. Ipu pa'i: gourd drum
11. Ipu uai, ipu uwai, ipu wai: movable gourd drum
12. Kā: drum beater made from dried ti-leaves, usually braided, used on the pūniu
13. Kā'eke'eke: bamboo pipes, varying in length from 20 to 60 inches. The longer the length, the, deeper the tone. The diameter may be one inch or larger; with one end open and the other closed by the node. A player holds one vertically in each hand, tapping down on a mat or the ground. Several musicians might play at the same time for harmony.
Measurements for " tunings" established by Nona Beamer
F ........ 19 1/2 "
E ........ 21 "
D ........ 23 3/4 "
C ........ 26 "
B flat .. 29 1/4 "
A ........ 30 5/8 "
G ........ 34 1/8 "
F sharp 38 3/4
F ......... 39 1/8 "
C ......... 52 "
B flat ... 58 1/8 "
14. Kālā'au: dancing sticks varying in length. The shorter sticks are approximately 12-14 inches.
Another type is a longer stick about 6 inches taller than the dancer, held in the left hand,
with a much shorter stick, about 14 inches in length, held in the right hand. The ancient
kāla'au were made from hau, kauila or milo wood with tiki carvings on one end. The advent
of christianity removed the tiki, but retained simple carvings. One stick was struck on the
other, then rolled along the other stick to make a clacking sound. Today, there are no
carvings and the sticks are simply struck, one upon the other

15. Nī'au Kani: A true Jew's harp, made of a thin strip of wood, about 4 inches long and
1 inch wide, with a coconut midrib (niau) or bamboo strip lashed length wise; played
almost like the 'ukēkē

16. Pahu: drum usually made from trunk of the coconut tree varying in size from about 1 foot
to 3-4 feet, with a sharkskin covering. The skin is taken from the right side of the shark
17. Pahu Pa'i: small sharkskin hula drum
18. Pahūpahū: same as kā'eke'eke
19. Papa Hehi: footboard, used for dancing; treadle
20. Pū: large triton conch shell
21. Pū Lā'ī: ti leaf whistle
22. Pū'ili: bamboo rattles about 20 inches long and about 1 and 1/2 inches in diameter,
with node at one end used as the handle. Bamboo is slit lengthwise, slivers between
strands removed, that allows the bamboo to rattle or rustle.
23. Pūniu: small knee drum made from half a coconut shell. The drum skin is usually from
the Kala fish
24. 'Ukēkē: a variety of musical bow, fifteen inches to two feet long and about an inch and
a half wide, with two or commonly three strings, drawn through holes at one end. The
strings were strummed. The old experts made no sound with the vocal cords, but the
mouth cavity acted as a resonance chamber. The resulting sound suggested speech and
trained persons could understand this language. It was sometimes used for love making
25. 'Ulili: A musical instrument consisting of 3 la'amia pierced by a stick; a string is attached
to the center gourd, wound around the stick and when pulled, twirls the gourds and makes
a whirring sound. The outer gourds usually contain ali'ipoe seeds or shells
26. 'Ulī'ulī: gourd rattle, containing ali'ipoe seeds with colored feathers at the top, used for
the hula 'ulī'ulī; to rattle