'Ohe Hano Ihu

'Ohe Hano Ihu


The ‘ohe hano ihu (bamboo flute [for] nose), is found throughout the islands in Polynesia and the Pacific Rim.  It is not a loud instrument. Its tone is intended to be soft and gentle.  In Hawaiʻi, it was traditionally played in a quiet place for someone special and is considered a sweetheart’s instrument. Itʻs popularity has grown over decades and today itʻs used in conjunction with Hawaiian chants, song, and hula.


There is no written music for the ‘ohe hano ihu. The first rule of thumb is to relax and  breathe normally. Let the air flow across the sound hole, rather than forcing air into it. It is not a whistle. As many cultural practitioners would say, “just let your spirit lead you”. The more you play, the more comfortable with it you will become. 


Lengths average 8 3/4 inches.

  • How to Play the 'Ohe Hano Ihu

    To play, hold the flute gently with your fingers of both hands - your left hand close to the top and your right hand on the middle of the flute.  With your right hand, place your thumb under the flute and your fingers on top of the three sound holes; index finger on the first hole, middle finger on the middle hole, and ring finger on the bottom hole. Place your left thumb near the top, under the flute for support, and place the nose hole under your right nostril; holding the flute upright at about a 45 degree angle. Place your left index finger on your left nostril and apply gentle pressure to close the airway of the left nostril. Take in a breath through your mouth (donʻt inhale through your nose) and gently breathe out through your right nostril across the nose hole. Relax. Adjust the position of the flute until you hear a nice full sound. Lift and move your fingers on your right hand to give you different notes.