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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

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

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

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

Henry Sapoznik

(b Brooklyn, NY, Oct 4, 1912; d Plantation, FL, March 18, 2000) American klezmer clarinetist, saxophonist, and violinist. Though born in the United States, he was considered an equal of the great European klezmer clarinetists such as Dave Tarras and Naftule Brandwein.

Beginning his career at age 12 playing violin for silent movies, Epstein mastered the clarinet and later the saxophone, and played regularly on the Yiddish stage, on the radio, and in concert. The Epstein Brothers, including Max, Willie (trumpet), Isidore, or “Chizik” (clarinet) and Julie (drums), dominated the New York Jewish music scene for nearly three decades. They are best known for their playing in the Hasidic community in postwar New York, where they became the pre-eminent orchestra. They issued several recordings, including the classic LP ...

Article

Guajira  

William Gradante

A Cuban narrative song form. Derived from rural folk tradition, it was still popular in rural and urban areas at the end of the 20th century as a significant popular music genre, part of the canción cubana complex. Characterized by improvised décimas (octosyllabic verse form), it was originally set strophically to traditional Spanish melodies called ...

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Five-stringed guitar of Mexico, probably originating in the Tecalitlán area of Jalisco. It was one of the earliest mariachi instruments. It is also colloquially known as quinta or jarana (not to be confused with the jarana huasteca or jarana jarocha). Typically it has a soundbox 33 cm long, 31 cm wide (maximum), and 11 cm deep; a 32 cm neck (4 cm of the fingerboard overlapping flat on the soundboard) with 12 metal frets; and 56 cm string length. The soundhole is decorated with ...

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Large guitar of Mexico. It is played as the bass instrument in mariachi and other Mexican ensembles. The guitarrón mexicano (literally ‘large Mexican guitar’) is shaped like a guitar but with deep sides and a V-arched back. Typically it has a soundbox 63 cm long with a 48 cm maximum width and maximum depth of 21 cm at the sides plus an additional 9 cm to the apex of the back. The fretless neck terminates in a pegboard with pegs inserted from the rear. A 10 cm soundhole on the ...

Article

Gŭm  

Long zither of Korea, the equivalent of the Chinese guqin. It has seven silk strings, and inlaid marks on the soundtable indicating finger positions to obtain harmonic overtones. Nowadays, as with many other traditional Korean instruments, it is used only in Confucian ritual music. Various modern Korean zithers use many more strings; for example, the North Korean ...

Article

Sorab Modi and Sarah Eyerly

(b Los Angeles, CA, May 14, 1961). American violinist and violin teacher. She received her first violin lessons from her mother in 1963 and began formal study with Eunice Wennermark at six and Manuel Compinsky at age seven. As a child she played for ...

Article

Kakosh  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Fiddle of the Holo people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has a cylindrical wooden resonator with integral neck holding two or three vegetable-fibre strings. The soundboard, usually of soft wood and replaced often, is either loosely laid or nailed upon the resonator. Some instruments have a head sculpted at the end of the neck. ...

Article

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Braced Musical bow of the Lunda people of Kasayi-Shaba, Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has an attached half-calabash resonator. The bow is held vertically near the lower end by the left hand so that the middle finger can extend to touch the string lightly. The open end of the calabash is placed against the player’s chest and raised from time to time to modulate the sound and emphasize different overtones. The instrument is used mostly to accompany singing. Other names reported are ...

Article

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Board zither of the Komo people of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The board, about 20 by 50 cm, has 13 fibre strings arranged in two groups of five and eight.

LaurentyC, 116 J.-S. Laurenty: L’Organologie du Zaïre, 4 (Tervuren, 1997)

Article

K.A. Gourlay and Ferdinand J. de Hen

Ground zither of the Daka, Mamvu, Mangutu, Balese, Logo, Mayanga, and Nkundo peoples of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A pit is dug about 25 to 30 cm deep and 20 cm in diameter, and covered with a piece of bark, which is pegged to the ground. From the centre of the bark rises a vertical stick supporting a single string that is also pegged to the ground at both ends. The two segments of the string are of different lengths and produce two different notes. The instrument is played by two boys, each with two sticks. One strikes the left segment of the string, the other the right. Other names reported for this instrument are ...

Article

Laúd  

John M. Schechter

Term (from Arab. ‘Ūd) for the lute, which was introduced to Spain by Arabs during the 13th century. Together with bandurria and guitars, it appears in folk ensembles known as rondallas and is used to accompany song and dance forms such as the jota (...

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Violin of the Yoeme Yaqui Indians of Arizona and Northern Mexico. It is a variant of the European violin, made from local woods. The Yaqui and Mayo Indians originally learned violin making from missionaries in the 18th century. The instrument is used to accompany the ...

Article

Ma’wo  

Mary Riemer-Weller and Richard Keeling

Musical bow of the native peoples of northern California and the San Joaquin Valley. The Yokut name is ma’wo; the Maidu term mawu or mawuwi; other Maiduan groups call it pan’da, and the Kato name is cele (‘singing’). It is the only string instrument used by native peoples of California, but musical bows are also found among the Tlingit of Alaska and the Carrier of northwest Canada. Among some Maiduan groups the bow was made especially for musical purposes and used by shamans for communicating with spirits. Some authorities say the shaman’s bow was rubbed with human blood. Most cultures including the Yokuts use a normal hunting bow, but more elaborate versions with a central bridge are also found. The Yurok played a regular hunting bow for amusement. The quiet bow sound was sometimes augmented by humming....

Article

Mapuíp  

J. Richard Haefer

Mouth bow of the forest-dwelling Moré Indian culture of eastern Bolivia. It consists of a small strip of palm frond 15 to 20 cm long and 2 to 3 cm wide, with two strings of palm fibre attached. One end of the frond is put into the mouth and supported by the teeth; the other end is supported by one hand. The other hand rubs a small stick (20 cm long) on the strings, which are moistened with saliva. The instrument accompanies lovers’ songs....

Article

Nolin  

Andrew C. McGraw

A modern keyed zither of Bali, Indonesia. It resembles the Japanese taisho-goto. Four to six guitar strings are stretched across the resonator, a shallow wooden box approximately 55 cm long and 20 cm wide, often elaborately carved, painted, and gilt in the manner of many Balinese ...