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J. Richard Haefer

Suspension rattle of Iñupiat peoples of Alaska and Canada. Several dozen fin-shaped, 2-cm pieces of walrus tusk are sewn on a dancer’s arm wrapping made from a strip of sealskin about 25 to 30 cm long. Around the top of the wrapping is stitched a circle of polar bear fur. Some believe that the sound of the rattle represents the north wind....

Article

Abigolo  

Jeremy Montagu

Large xylophone of the Igbo people of Nigeria. It usually has about 12 bars laid across two banana or plantain trunks and is played by three or four people, sometimes girls, sitting on both sides of the instrument.

Article

Gordon D. Spearritt

Water drum of the Iatmul people, Papua New Guinea. It is made of hardwood, similar in shape to an hourglass drum, but lacks a membrane and has a projecting handle at the top, carved as the tail of a crocodile. When plunged into a water-filled pit, it produces sound as it breaks the surface, the sound representing the voice of an ancestor such as a crocodile. It is used mostly in or near ceremonial houses at initiation ceremonies. The term ‘...

Article

Febo Guizzi

Name for the triangle in Southern Italy (su triángulu in Sardinia). Acciaio (steel) literally means the steel tool used to light a fire by striking it with a flint. The triangle is widely used in Central and Southern Italy. In Sardinia it is played with the ...

Article

Acheré  

Malena Kuss

Afro-Cuban vessel rattle of Yoruba origin. It is made from the shell of a güira, totuma, or calabaza fruit, typically about 10 cm in diameter, with rattling objects inserted and a long wooden handle attached. It is associated mostly with the batá drum ensemble in Santería ceremonies involving dancing, and participates in other instrumental groups, such as those for the Regla de Palo Monte, Arará, Gangá, Radá, conga, ...

Article

Adams  

James Holland

Dutch manufacturer of percussion instruments. Adams Musical Instruments was established at the end of the 1960s by André Adams at Thorn in the Netherlands. Adams has become one of the leading percussion manufacturers in the world. Its list of products range from lightweight, low-priced pedal timpani designed for schools and bands, through to top of the range professional timpani and concert marimbas. A great deal of thought is given to the adaptability and portability of the instruments, as well as to their quality. For example, playing height of their keyboard instruments is adjustable, and their tubular bells may be adjusted both for height and range. In the contemporary world of percussion these refinements are invaluable for the player. Adams now manufactures timpani, xylophones, marimbas, tubular bells, bell plates, concert bass drums, temple blocks and a range of sticks....

Article

Laurence Libin

Keyboard idiophone invented in 1818 and patented on 15 Feb 1819 by the Viennese clockmaker Franz Schuster. Shaped somewhat like a square piano, it had six octaves of plucked steel tongues or rods instead of strings and its sound was described as between those of an organ and a glass armonica. It was claimed not to need tuning. Contemporary writers mentioned that it lacked sonority and strength of tone, and complained of excessive resonance and blurring of notes....

Article

Laurence Libin

Term for an anthropo- or zoomorphic ceramic rattle of the pre-Contact Americas. In American archaeology ‘adorno’ (from Sp. adornar, ‘to decorate’) generally refers to a decoration attached to the rim (not the side) of a ceramic vessel. Many adornos have been broken off, perhaps intentionally, and are found separately. A significant number of these attached or detached effigies, typically about 6 cm tall or larger, are hollow and contain well-formed, loose pellets, also made of ceramic and fired together with the effigy and its vessel. In the USA adorno rattles have been found in pre-Mississippian and Mississippian-era sites, most examples dating from about ...

Article

Ae-be  

Raymond Ammann

Idiophone of the Loyalty Islands (off New Caledonia). It joins most of the choral singing that accompanies dances. The names of the instrument reflect ideas associated with unity or being struck. It is a disc-shaped parcel, 20 to 30 cm in diameter and 10 to 15 cm thick, typically of coconut fibres covered by leaves of the tree ...

Article

Laurence Libin

Term applied to any instrument sounded by air, and in particular to instruments set in vibration by natural wind currents, usually outdoors. It has been applied to bells, bows, harps, pipes, and tube zithers.