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J. Richard Haefer

Conch horn of the Aztec or Nahua peoples of central Mexico, and other pre-Contact cultures. It was called puuaqua in Tarascan and paatáotocuècheni or paniçatàopáni in Zapotecan. The Aztecs called this the instrument of the ‘Wind God Quetzalcoatl; he who breathes life into a void’. It was usually played in pairs, and the shell was about 15 to 20 cm long....


Nguyen Thuyet Phong

Large single-headed frame drum of the Cham people of Vietnam. It is played in a ritual ensemble that also includes the sarunai (oboe), a pair of gaming (double-headed drums), and sometimes the ching (gong).

See also Ching (i) ; Sarunai.



Malena Kuss

Set of three Afro-Cuban double-headed hourglass drums of Yoruba origin. Batá are the sacred instruments of the religious system of Ocha/Ifá (Santería). The largest and lowest-pitched drum, which carries the main oratorical role, is called iyá (‘mother’) because other drums are born from the sacred presence within it. The smallest and highest-pitched ...



Small kettledrum of the Arab world used in religious processions, begging, and during the month of Ramadan. It is about 16 cm in diameter. Sometimes the body is of metal in the shape of an inverted bell.


David P. McAllester

Rattle consisting of small pieces of flint of ritually prescribed shapes and colours used by the Navajo people of the southwestern USA to accompany songs in the Flintway ceremony. The flints are cupped in both hands and shaken to produce a jingling sound. They symbolize the restoration of fractured or dislocated bones as well as the renewal of vitality in general....



Ferdinand J. de Hen

Mouth bow of the Fang people of Gabon. It accompanies songs of the shamans of the Eboghe society.



Alastair Dick

Very large metal kettledrum of Sind, Pakistan. It is played standing, with two sticks, as part of the ceremonial band naubat found at the shrines of some Sindi saints (e.g. that of Shah Abdul Latif at Bhitshah). ‘Bher’ doubtless derives from the old Indian drum name ...


Ancient Russian percussion plaque or disc, suspended from a tree. It was used for signalling in the monasteries of the Raskolniks (dissenters) up to the end of the 19th century.



Double-headed cylindrical drum of Karnataka and Andhra, south India. It is played by the mendicant devotees of the goddess Mariamman and is struck with a stick on one side and rubbed with a curved stick on the other.


Jan Stęszewski and Zbigniew J. Przerembski

Friction drum used in the Pomerania and Warmia regions of Poland. Formerly it was used in magic and annual folk rituals, mainly during Christmas and Shrovetide. Nowadays many folk ensembles use it to provide a rhythmic bass, and as a musical attribute of Kashubian cultural identity. The barrel-shaped body is about 25–30 cm tall and made of wooden staves, or sometimes a hollowed log. The bottom of the barrel is made of leather or wood with a centrally attached strand of horsehair or a metal chain that is rubbed rhythmically with wetted or rosined hands. A smaller version called the ...