Music & Instruments


Music is a very important part of Hmong life. Hmong people use it for entertainment, welcoming guests, funerals, and also for festivals. Hmong musical instruments include: flutes (such as the dra), leaves also called nblaw, and mouth organ called gaeng. The gaeng/qeej is important instrument which is one of the base of hmong music. It is taught to everyone in America how to play it. As we seen in the Miao the Hmongs are rich in oral literature. They pass down information/history through their stories, music, poetry, so it will be easy and fun for their next generation to learn it. Most of the stories are about an orphan who doesn’t give up, and becomes the hero they want to be. The orphan in the story is like a metaphor stating that the orphan is the hmongs and how they are without their own country, who survives wherever they go.


Instruments used in hmong music play a large role in hmong culture. Hmong Instruments are usually associated with hmong rituals such as hmong funerals, dating practices, marriages, offerings, ancestral rites, among others. Hmong Instruments have a unique tone quality that allows words to be heard just by playing.


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