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We see Uncle Iroh play this peaceful musical instrument periodically throughout the Avatar: The Last Airbender series...

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What is the in-universe name of this instrument and what real instrument is played to make the sound?

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    I love how the edit contains the answer (in the video title) :D – Kevin Aug 29 '16 at 15:50
  • @Kevin - It's unfortunate :-) – Valorum Aug 29 '16 at 19:45
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The in-universe name is the "Tsungi Horn" (also referred to as a Tsunghi horn and a Sungi Horn, depending on who was being interviewed)

Zuko: For the last time, I'm not playing the tsungi horn!

Iroh: No, it's about our plans. There's a bit of a problem.

The Waterbending Master


In reality, the makers of the show used a mixture of Armenian duduk music and a Western trombone to make the sounds from this fictitious instrument.

JZ: Uncle Iroh's sunghi horn piece turned out to be pretty effective. That was another interesting challenge since the sunghi horn is a fictitious instrument. We had to invent a new instrument without letting it sound modern and computerized. Ironically, we wound up using a music synthesis technique called convolution to impose characteristics of a trombone onto the duduk. I think the result sounds very much like an acoustic instrument which is part reed and part brass.

Music Interview with the Track Team

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    +1 Interesting. I don't really hear any trombone mixed in. I believe you and think you're right. Just don't hear the bone. I definitely guessed it was some sort of reed instrument. – iMerchant Aug 29 '16 at 0:17
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    @iMerchant - I think what they're driving at is that they superimposed the Duduk music onto a synthesiser capable of doing fast glissandos, something that the Duduk absolutely can't do. – Valorum Aug 29 '16 at 0:32
  • Gotcha. They made it so u can "slide" the notes up & down like a bone. +1 for teaching a new word (glissandos). – iMerchant Aug 29 '16 at 0:37
  • The show quote and the interview use different spellings ("tsungi" vs "sunghi"). Are there two acceptable spellings or is one of them in error? – Thunderforge Aug 29 '16 at 15:18
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    @Thunderforge - There's a quote on one of the avatar boards, allegedly from one of the production team. "[T]he tsungi horn had to be a cross between a woodwind and a brass instrument. we played that theme on a duduk (armenian reed instrument) and then performed a computer process called convolution where we combined the timbre of a trombone with our duduk performance.". So the most likely correct spelling is tsungi, although I've seen it spelled variously. The quote above is presumably a transcription, rather than an online interview – Valorum Aug 29 '16 at 15:29

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