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Article

Cloch  

Peter Crossley-Holland

Clapper-bell of ancient and medieval Wales. Several types were known, all with suspension loops. They include one quadrangular and one circular bell of Romano-British (La Tène) type, found in the Vale of Neath, and Celtic ‘saints’ bells’, including a long quadrangular bell now in the National Museum of Wales. Historical references to the cloch date from the 12th century, but the traditional performing practice has not survived....

Article

Alastair Dick

Medieval double-headed cylindrical drum of India. In the 13th-century Sa ṅgītaratnākara it is described as about 48 cm long and 25 cm in diameter. The heads are stretched on creeper hoops which have seven holes for tension cords. The drum is carried on a shoulder strap and played on the left side with the hand and on the right with a crook-stick. As the description is very similar to that of the medieval Arab ...

Article

Djnar  

Plucked chordophone of medieval Armenia, supposedly resembling a folk lyre.

Article

Alastair Dick

(from Sanskrit gharsa: ‘rubbing’). Medieval barrel drum of India, played partly by friction. It is described as similar to the hu ḍukkā. It was played with much ‘booming’ (go ṃkāra): the thumb and middle fingertips of the right hand, smeared with beeswax, rubbed the skin; the left-hand fingers struck the skin and the thumb pressed it. The modern ...

Article

Ghanon  

Plucked string instrument of medieval Armenia with 60 silk strings; possibly analogous to the k’anon.

Article

Kamrā  

Alastair Dick

Paired wooden or bamboo clappers described in Sanskrit texts of medieval India. They are of acacia wood or thick bamboo, about 24 cm long and 4 cm wide, and taper slightly at the end. They are played either with a pair in each hand, held loosely by the root of the thumb and middle finger and clapped by shaking the wrists, or with one pair held between the thumb and ring finger of the right hand and struck against the left thumb and fist. The diminutive ...

Article

Alastair Dick

Medieval double-headed drum of India, probably cylindrical. It is described as having been about 42 to 48 cm long, 24 to 28 cm in diameter, and 5 mm thick in the shell, which was made of citrus wood. The close-fitting heads were attached with thread and skin to iron hoops which had 14 holes; the threads passed through every second hole to form a net lacing (...

Article

Alastair Dick

The name of an oboe mentioned or described in medieval Sanskrit texts of India. Both the 12th-century Mānasollāsa (muhurī) and the 13th-century Saṅgītaratnākara (madhukarī) describe it as being 28 Hindu inches (perhaps 21 English inches, about 53 cm) long, made of wood or horn (which probably means all of wood, or with a horn bell), and similar in shape to the ...

Article

Alastair Dick

Old south Indian Tamil name for a clay pot drum with a narrow neck covered with skin and found in texts of the 1st millennium ce. It was sounded as a ceremonial instrument together with the cankam (conch) and kombu (trumpet) and presented as a prize by the king to warriors; it also appeared in the dance orchestra....

Article

Muracu  

Alastair Dick

Old South Indian Tamil name for a large cylindrical drum of state, sacred to kings, in texts of the 1st millennium ce. It was kept in the palace on its own cot and carried out on an elephant to announce proclamations, battles, and the dawn. Its sound is compared to thunder. The Sanskrit ...

Article

Alastair Dick

The ancient south Indian Tamil name for cymbals, found in texts of the 1st millennium ce. They have been equated with kancatāḷam (and were therefore probably of bronze), and were used in the dance ensemble and in hymn-singing.

S. Ramanathan: Music in Cilappatikaaram (diss., Wesleyan U., 1974)....

Article

Alastair Dick

Elongated barrel drum of ancient and medieval India. The name occurs in Sanskrit from epic and classical times, and is probably of non-Aryan origin. Ancient references are to a loud drum, in contexts of war, public announcements, and so on, often compared to thunder by the classical poets, and also used in palaces and in temple worship. The dramaturgic treatise ...

Article

Alastair Dick

Friction idiophone, with jingles, described in Sanskrit works of medieval India. The name means literally ‘plank-instrument’, and the instrument was a rectangular wooden board about 60 cm long and 40 cm wide. It had rows of metal rings—threaded, perhaps, through plaited metal wires—at the top and bottom; the board was coated with resin and rubbed with the fingertips. It was held either against the chest or between the knees....

Article

Box zither (psaltery) of medieval Armenia, with ten gut strings.

Article

Saltïr  

Plucked string instrument of medieval Armenia, with 40 gut strings. Probably it was a psaltery.

Article

Alastair Dick

Medieval cylindrical double-headed drum of India. It is described as made of citrus-wood and about 52 cm long and 20 cm in diameter. The heads were stretched on hoops of creeper ‘as thick as the forefinger’ and laced with ropes through six holes. It was held sideways, the left head played by the hand and the right with a crooked stick (...

Article

Alastair Dick

Late medieval fretless stick zither of north India. It is described in the Ā’īn-ī-akbarī as ‘similar to the bīṅ’, but without frets. It had two gourds and three strings and was possibly stopped with a sliding block. The amṛī or ambirti of the same text appears to be a smaller version but with one gourd and a single iron string. These instruments might represent a historical link between the sliding-block ...

Article

Alastair Dick

Metal scraper of India, described in medieval Sanskrit texts. The name means literally ‘shell-instrument’ and points to an original use of rough-sided shells. The one described in the 13th-century Saṅgītaratnākara (ed. S. Subrahmanya Sastri, vol.3, Madras, 1951), however, is a long (about 120 cm) flattish tube of bell-metal or iron, roughly 6 cm thick. It has grooves scored across it and is scraped with a conical metal stick (...

Article

Common term in medieval Armenia for folk drums of various types.

Article

Alastair Dick

Old south Indian Tamil name for a wooden barrel drum, equated with mattalam and found in texts of the 1st millennium ce. It had two skin-covered heads, the right being tuned with a paste (mārcanai, i.e. Sanskrit mārjanā) of powdered charcoal and cooked rice. It was the leading instrument of the dance orchestra, controlling the level of the other instruments and filling in for continuity (as does the ...