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Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Experimental electronic instrument designed at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile by Claudio Bertin, Gabriel de Ioannes, Alvaro Sylleros, Rodrigo Cádiz, and Patricio de la Cuadra. First described publicly in 2010, it has an interface that responds to the user’s natural gestures, improves the audience observation experience, is easy to master, and allows exploration of tonal and rhythmic possibilities. The novel design methodology centred on formal analysis of video recordings of a focus group discussing characteristics of instruments and performance, as well as of video recordings of individual gestural responses to eight categories of sounds of diverse timbre, pitch, and dynamics. The results were used to describe the characteristics of the instrument being designed and to create mock-ups that led to the Arcontinuo. The instrument’s playing surface resembles a curved board that is placed vertically on the performer’s chest, with straps securing it over the shoulders and a prop resting against the player’s stomach. The board’s flexible magnetic surface measures three-dimensional data from several fingers simultaneously, using an embedded grid of Hall effect sensors. Software interprets the results to produce the sounds....

Article

Andrew C. McGraw

The particular types of gamelan of Bali, Indonesia; commonly distinguished from Javanese gamelan. Although many ethnomusicologists have categorized gamelan using a taxonomy developed by the Balinese state conservatory, which distinguishes ensembles as ‘old, middle, and new’ (kuno, madya, baru), definitive evidence regarding the emergence of pre-20th-century ensembles is lacking. Authors have alternatively attempted to categorize ensembles by their ceremonial and social function. However, new social and aesthetic contexts have shifted prior associations; practically all extant ensembles now appear in tourist, state, religious, and experimental contexts. Ultimately it might be simplest to organize the ensembles organologically. For information on individual instruments see separate entries. For bibliography ...

Article

John M. Schechter

Mandolin widely used as a folk instrument in Latin America. The instruments of the mestizos and Quechuas in highland Ecuador have a teardrop-shaped body with a flat back and a circular sound hole and are made from cedar, pine, and other woods. They have five triple courses of metal strings and are played with a plectrum. Several tunings are found; in the region of Cotacachi, Imbabura Province, one tuning is ...

Article

Term used by the Navajo people of the southwestern USA for a whistle.

Article

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....

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Bass guitar of Puerto Rico. The body is about 15 to 18 cm deep, 45 cm wide across the lower bouts, 15 cm wide at the waist, and about the same width across the narrow upper bouts. The fingerboard is about 66 cm long and the overall length about 90 cm. Normally there are five single strings or (most commonly) bichords, but examples with six single strings or four bichords exist; the most common five-course tuning is ...

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Percussion idiophone widely known in the Americas. Examples include the kalukhaq of the Alaskan Inuit and Native Americans of the northwest coast of North America, the cajón of Cuba and Peru, and the Mexican cajón de tapeo, which supposedly developed as a substitute for the ...

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Vessel rattle of the Flathead Indians of Montana, USA. It is made by cutting a piece of hide and sewing it into a spherical shape, 7 to 12 cm in diameter, with an extension about 10 cm long to wrap around a wooden handle. The hide is wetted and filled with wet sand, then moulded into shape and allowed to dry, and the sand emptied. Small pebbles are inserted as rattle elements, and the handle is secured to the base of the body. Normally the rattle is not decorated either with feathers or paint. When used for the ‘begging around camp’ ceremony it is called ...

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Rattle of the Aztec (Nahua) people of pre-Contact Mexico. It was a three-legged clay vase with clay pellets inside the hollow legs. The name also refers to other clay vessels containing seeds, stones, or other pellets. According to Molina (Vocabulario en lengua mexicana, 1571...

Article

Canari  

J. Richard Haefer

Guitar-like plucked chordophone of the Huichol (Wixáritari or Wirr’ariki) people of west-central Mexico. It is slightly larger than a violin. Typically the soundbox, neck (with four to six frets), nut, and pegboard are carved from a single piece of wood, and a thin piece of cedar serves as a soundtable; the soundbox is only slightly waisted or even oval. A bridge is attached to the soundtable using glue from a local plant. The four or five strings can be of metal, monofilament nylon, or gut. It is played with the ...

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Folk guitar of the Nahua people of the Huastecan region of central Mexico. It is smaller than a normal guitar (55 cm long overall), is unfretted, and has four strings of natural fibre or nowadays monofilament nylon. It possibly is named from its geographical area of use (a municipality in the state of Hidalgo), and is played in both religious and secular ensembles....

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Suspension rattle of the Flathead people of Montana, USA. It is a stick about 100 cm long with 20 to 25 split deer hoofs and dewclaws tied near the top. It is carried during the winter spirit dance and medicine dance, when it is struck against the ground to the beat of the song....

Article

Michael Suing

Generic Sioux Indian term for frame drums. The term refers both to single- and double-headed drums used in personal, powwow, and ceremonial settings, while čháŋčheğa miméla refers specifically to the hand drum. Historic Euro-American accounts often refer to the large drums as war drums; however, this is a misconception as specific drums did not exist for this purpose. Lakota construction methods and materials are representative of traditional drummaking in the Northern Great Plains. A likely predecessor of the Lakota frame drum was a solitary hoop of bent branches with no drum head, played by striking the hoop with a beater. This idiophonic frame was a talismanic object employed by healers and shamans. After idiophonic frames, longitudinally split and bent sections of wood with increased structural integrity for supporting a drum head were used. The two ends were overlapped and lashed with sinew and hide passing through holes cut through the wood. Later, vegetal twine, iron tacks, and wire replaced or were used to repair lapped joints. The use of cross-sections of hollowed trees is common in larger powwow drums, but smaller handheld drums sometimes employed this method. Other lumber, typically from discarded shipping crates, provided wood of ideal thickness and length for use as bent drum frames, and other collected materials, such as large snapping turtle shells, large iron hoops, small shipping crates, wooden buckets, and cast iron kettles were used as drum frames or bodies....

Article

J. Richard Haefer

End-blown flute of the Flathead Indians of Montana, USA. Often called a courting flute, it is made from elderberry or fir and is about 45 cm long and 2 cm in diameter. The soft elderberry pith is burnt out with a heated metal rod and six ...

Article

Suspension rattle of the Atacameño people of the Atacamá Desert, province of Antofagasta, northern Chile. It is formed by attaching four to 12 solid objects in a row to a leather thong which is shaken to produce the rattle sound. In pre-Contact times small metal balls were used; nowadays small pellet bells are preferred. It is identical with archaeological specimens of the extinct Diaguita culture. It is played with the ...

Article

Mary Riemer-Weller and J. Richard Haefer

Generic term for rattle among the Ojibwe (Ojibwa, Anishinaabe) people in the Great Lakes region of the USA and Canada. Three forms exist. The first, a cylindrical vessel rattle, is made by wrapping birchbark around two wooden disks, with a wooden handle inserted through both discs. The body is 11 to 15 cm tall and 10 to15 cm in diameter, and contains small pebbles or buckshot. The second form is a disc-shaped vessel made from a narrow wooden hoop 20 to 30 cm in diameter and 1 to 3 cm thick, covered on both sides with hide; it contains pebbles or buckshot. A long extension (20 to 30 cm) of the hoop serves as a handle. Usually three of the first type and one of the second are used together by the ...

Article

Trân Quang Hai

Idiochord tube zither of the Mnong people of central Vietnam. It is made from the stem between two nodes of the giant rlaa bamboo, the strings being cut from the surface along half its length and, remaining attached, raised from the tube by bridges. The six strings have the same names and the same order as the members of the Mnong ...

Article

Chad Stephen Hamill

End-blown flute of the Native Americans of the Columbia Plateau. It is called č ɫx̣ ʷálq ʷ by the Interior Salish and sepú ‧nme ʔs mít ʼip by the Sahaptin. A heated metal rod is used to push the pith out of a straight section of elderberry stalk 38 to 60 cm long and about 2.5 cm in diameter, and to burn fingerholes (typically six) into the stalk; often an additional non-fingered hole is made near the bottom. A V-shaped slot is cut near the proximal end and partially filled with pine pitch to deflect the air; the slot is covered with a rawhide block to direct the wind over the pitch and against the lower end of the V. Historically it was used by men to court women; nowadays it is more commonly used for personal enjoyment....

Article

Robert L. Barclay and John R. Watson

Term embracing all efforts to preserve culturally significant objects. (For a discussion of the preservation of skills and traditions, see Sustainability.) Conservation of musical instruments can include examining their condition; documenting their physical and acoustical characteristics; intervening to stabilise, maintain, or restore them; and taking measures to prevent damage and retard deterioration. Conservators aim to preserve instruments as historical documents embodying evidence of design, construction, and function. This approach is sometimes balanced with restoration and maintenance for continuing use. Like all implements used continually over long periods, instruments can pass through phases of wear and repair, changes in fashion, and, in the case of those being restored to presumed previous states, changes in approach and methodology brought about by continuing research and experimentation. The practice of conservation involves a multifaceted approach to the many, often competing, demands placed upon instruments as historical documents and working objects. Further, reliable authentication often involves conservation skills....

Article

Chad Stephen Hamill

Suspension rattle of the Native Americans of the Columbia Plateau. It is called čt ʼewá by the Interior Salish and c’al ʼá·kstin by the Sahaptin. Approximately 20 to 50 deer dewclaws, each about 3.5 cm long, are strung together on a buckskin thong 30 to 40 cm long. One or more lengths are wrapped around the ankles (or nowadays the knees) to accentuate ceremonial dancing, or fastened to a wooden staff or cane as used in the Medicine (or Winter) Dance, the oldest ceremony practiced today in the region. Among Sahaptin-speaking groups the ...