Xiao Master Huang Wei-dong

updated Aug 10, 2008

The Flute Master Huang Wei-dong
Huang Wei Dong: famous flute maker in China

In 1985 Huang Wei-dong learnt flute making from Mr. Zhou Lin-sheng, a renowned flute master in Shanghai. A few years later the Shanghai Ethnic Instrument Company began joint enterprise with Tong Ling Qiao, and Huang furthered his flute-making skills from Shanghai master Chen Jian-ping. From then on he received professional all-rounded flute-making training. Eventually he gained all the skills of flute-making, from material selection, craft-making to flute tone control. In 1993 he established the Wei-dong Flute Company and started his new brand "Zhuyun" (literally means "The Melody of Bamboo"). His frank character and his faithfulness are the keys to success. Now his brand name is well-known in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South-East Asia and overseas.

The Home of Tiger Bamboo
The "Home of Tiger Bamboo" and "Home of Bamboo Flutes"
Tong Ling Qiao, a historical old town built in Qin Dynasty, is also the "Home of Tiger Bamboo" and "Home of Bamboo Flutes". It is situated by the southern side of the Jing-Hang Canal. More than 6000 acres of bamboo forests cover all the mountains. Over 4500 acres are Tiger Bamboo. There are about 370 houses and over 40 flute makers in the village of Tong Ling Qiao. W.D. Huang is the most famous master among them.
 
His Own Bamboo Forest
You cannot make good flutes without good bamboo. It is a pity that many who know nothing about bamboo just cut it when it is too young for making flutes. The flutes made this way can never produce good tones and good bamboo trees become more scarce because this kind of ignorant cutting of bamboo has increased. That is why he hired a bamboo forest of about 20 acres and began to cultivate his own bamboo trees. He can thus let the bamboo trees grow for four or five years and when the time comes, he will pick it up for an excellent instrument.
 
Bamboo Materials and Tones
Bamboo materials have to be turned over at least once every year to let them dry evenly. If the bamboo materials are not dry enough the tones will be affected. But the natural drying process cannot be over-done. One has to seek for the optimum drying point. When the bamboo is too dry, water has to be poured onto it to maintain a certain humidity which is favorable for the natural drying of bamboo.

Huang Wei Dong and his bamboo forest

W.D.Huang and his bamboo forest

The Art of Making Flutes
Once bamboo materials are selected, the process of grilling will take place. To achieve the optimum temperature is the key to success. Then come the processes of peeling and burnishing, tunneling the knobs, grouping the materials according to their qualities and characters, and drilling holes. Drilling holes is a serious and strict process. Finger holes have to be egg-shaped not just for the sake of visual comfort, but will definitely facilitate more tactful ornament notes during performances. Tuning is undertaken very seriously by W.D. Huang. When tuning is done, cow bone will be embedded to the end of the flutes and the process of burnishing will be gone through several times until the surface of the flutes are silky and shinny. After binding and carving, there will be a final tuning to make sure the tones of the flutes are perfect.

Huang Wei Dong in instruments exhibition

Huang Wei-dong in the 6th International Instruments Exhibition, Beijing 2002