Skip To Main Content

Yushan National Park Headquarters, National Park Service, Ministry of the InteriorLogo



Musical instruments



Tultul is a musical instrument unique to the Bunun tribe. It is usually made of 8 to 16 wooden pestles of different lengths. The pestles are struck against a stone slab to produce beautiful melodies with different scales. Back in the day, the Bunun tribal people also used it to deliver messages.



Harmonica is a common musical instrument for all indigenous peoples in Taiwan, but the occasions of using the instrument are different from tribe to tribe. For the Bunun people, it is a tool for expressing emotions when they are lonely or sad.



Another instrument unique to the Bunun culture is the 4-string lute (or 5-string at Takibakha) which is used for entertainment. Bow harp is also another popular instrument of the Bunun tribe. Bamboo is used as the bow and thin steel wires are used as the strings. A player holds one end of the instrument with his mouth, holds the bow with his left hand, and plucks the strings with his right hand to produce melodious and delicate sounds.

Pasibutbut (Eight-part polyphony)

Pasibutbut (Eight-part polyphony)

The vocal range of Bunun's Pasibutbut (Eight-part polyphony) is unique to the world, and it brings the Bunun music to the global stage.

Categories of Bunun folk ballads (huzas and tusaus)

  • Ilulusan tu sintusaus, for rituals
  • Kuzakuza tu sintusaus, for work
  • Uvauvazaz tu sintusaus, for children
  • Pistatava tu sintusaus, for entertainment

Bunun tribal ballads

  • Ilulusan tu sintusaus, for rituals


  • Pasi but, to pray for the rich harvest of millet

Hanup (for hunting)

  • Kahuzas, for drinking
  • Malastapan, feasts for achievements
  • Manantu, for head sacrifices
  • Pisiahe, ritual song before hunting
  • Marasitomal, song of triumph after hunting

Lapaspas (shaman rituals)

  • Pistako, for exorcism
  • Maukaosohesi isian, connection to spirits for curing diseases
  • Kuzakuza tu sintusaus, for work
  • Masi lumah, calling for help on the sharing of heavy loads of materials
  • Uvauvazaz tu sintusaus, children's song
  • Tinunuan takur, burnt takur grass [pantala]
  • Ahk ahk, song of crows [pantala]
  • Kuisa tama Laung, where is uncle Laung going [tupaun-antalam]
  • Pistatava tu sintusaus, for entertainment
  • Pisdaidaz, a song to describe loneliness

Categories of musical instruments (Pisusling tu ikmalung)

  • Pis-lulu (to shake) Pis-haunghaung (harmonica)
  • Pis-lahlah (religious instrument made of bones)
  • La-kalav (to pluck) La-tuktuk (bow harp)
  • Banhir la-tuktuk (5-string lute)
  • Ma-ludah (to strike)
  • Ma-turtur (wooden pestles)
  • Ki-panhuni (to clash)
  • Ki-pahpah (percussion stick)