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More details on leaf blowing techniques for making music

I was visiting Taipin in West Malaysia recently, and taking a morning stroll in the Lake Garden, when my wife and myself notice someone producing pleasant sounding music. He was a distance off, and we could not see any instrument he was holding. Infact, his hands are not in any position of holding any possible instruments.

But as we draw close to him, we heard and we saw that he was blowing with a piece of leaf in his mouth.

We walked past him, and after a short discussion, we decided to asked the man about it.

Mr. Rocky xxxxx (I have hidden his family name), was happy to demo the technique, while I recorded it on my video camera.

I will now hope to get more info on this technique.

I have search, and found it in Google that it is called gumleaf blowing and these people are called leafist.

Anyone care to help - my wife (a musician herself) is truly keen to learn this instrument or technique.
Subsonic Sound
I've not been able to produce music - as in, full and well defined scales and so on - but producing sound this way is quite easy. I used to do it as a kid all the time.

I'd use a blade of grass. I'll see if I can't find some info for you...

This seems to pretty much be it, though it's a little different to how I used to do it. I would use my fingernail to put a split in the centre of the blade, perhaps a centimetre long. The part of the blade with the split should be in the centre of the gap created by your thumbs.

It's surprisingly hard to explain... yet easy to demonstrate. A pity I can't. :p
Thank you Subsonic Sound, I do not mean just producing pitch of sound. Mr Rocky folded the leaf and blew over the top of the edge of the leaf. This is what he had shown, and full 2 octave of distinct notes can be heard.

I did a further check on the internet, and found that some called this gum leaf blowing. But I was unable to get any clearer instructions on this.

More advice from anyone else?

Thank you.
I have found that the gas-powered leaf blowers are more convenient to use than the kind you have to plug in. Wink

Seriously: Pitch would be controlled by changing the length of whatever is vibrating. Something shorter would resonate at a shorter wavelength which would, therefore, be a higher frequency or pitch. The reverse would, of course, be true for something longer.

I would imagine that one must experiment quite a bit with thumb tension to be able to become consistent enough with the pitches to produce predictable musical tones. First, there would be the amount of force. Then, there would be the direction in which the force is applied. Finally (and probably most importantly), there would be the position of the force (i.e. where along the leaf to put the pressure - similar to using different finger positions for violin, cello, guitar, etc.).

The choice of leaf would probably make a difference, too, especially thickness, length, and width.

All that said, I've never tried such careful experimentation, but have only produced loud shrieks using blades of grass. Even so, it sounds like an interesting idea, and would certainly be more portable than a piano!
Thank you Traveller, for that detailed analysis. Very Happy

Position, force of the blowing and type and thickness of the leaf are known factors to me, as I tried to experiment on it.

But the grip, yes, I saw some new insight into this.

I wish, I could attach the recording of Mr. Rocky's performance here, which I have captured when I saw him doing it in the Taiping park.

He does not seem to exert lots of force, and seem relax while he
do it.

Yes, it is much more portable than a piano (my wife teach this instrument), and the reason she was so impressed by it.

She has stopped recently trying to make music out of leaf, only because Singapore is badly covered by the Indonesia haze.

We are not clearing leaves with a gas-blower, they only make noise. Smile
i bet you this is what your talking about

its at about the end

ive been trying to learn but i cant get it, ill have to go ask my mom. too bad my dad knew how to do it but he passed away
Hi, this is the video I have placed on YouTube for Mr. Ricky who has shown his ability to manipulate a leaf to produce a full harmonic range of tones.

Here is the URL on YouTube

I am still trying to find his address in Taiping Malaysia.

I have also seen someone videod Ricky while on holiday in Cameron Highland Malaysia.

Hope this clarify my intention - to locate Ricky.

With regards.
Exclamation When I was searching for how to blow gum leaf I try to seach it in yahoo and I found some cool stuff. The youtube post that was posted if you go in it it will said as a title " Leaf blowing by Ricky. When I search in yahoo it have the same video and the guy who posted that video called Ricky his grandpa. So I hope you can find some more information on Ricky. If you have please post it. I really want to know how to blow gum leaf. Thanks ☺

Here is the website I found the guy who called Ricky his grandpa:
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