Listen To The Sounds Of The Valiha

In the story Lots Of Lemurs, a short burst of tinkling music greets Rufus Lemur. He knows he's in Madagascar when he hears that. It's a valiha! Like the lemurs, the valiha belongs only to Madagascar.

The valiha (vah-lee) is a tube of giant bamboo with metal strings running from top to bottom, held away from the tube by small pieces of wood. Strings are all around the tube. A valiha player strums fast, making music with happy, tinkly sounds.

Players often make their own valihas. Long ago, each string was made by cutting into the tube and lifting a very thin thread of bamboo onto the little wood pieces, leaving it attached at each end. Today most players use standard guitar or piano strings made of metal. Valihas are often decorated so that they look as pretty as their music.

Try It Yourself!

You would need lots of practice to be a real valiha player, but you can try out the sounds with these music note buttons. Each button plays a few notes of valiha music. Try stringing them together by touching one button after another. Touch a button and quickly touch another to make them play together. Keep touching the same button to make it repeat!

Listen To Valiha Music

You can listen to real valiha music here. The two sound files on this page are the sound of metal strings on a modern valiha. To hear the old type of valiha with bamboo strings, and find out more about the valiha, click here.

This page from one of the Annie's Resource Attic online books is copyright 2018 by Ann Brundige and ann brundige studio. Text, concept, and layout copyright 2018 by Ann Brundige and ann brundige studio. For details of this Creative Commons (CC) license, see the Terms of Use section of the Annie's Resource Attic web site at

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