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Article

Ahnalya  

Steve Elster

Rattle of the Mohave Indians of Southern California and Arizona. The narrow, tapered end of a dried gourd (Lagenaria siceraria) approximately 13 to 18 cm in diameter is cut off and the shell is emptied. Soundholes about 5 mm in diameter are drilled around the base, and seeds from the native palm tree are placed inside. A 15-cm-long handle is affixed with pitch or glue in the hole at the tapered end. The rattle accompanies all-night song cycle performances, during which 200–300 songs may be sung, each singer shaking an ...

Article

Large box-resonated lamellaphone of Ghana; it has three to five metal tongues.

Article

Aiyam  

J. Richard Haefer

Vessel rattle of the Yoeme Yaqui maso (deer dancer) of Arizona and Northern Mexico and their Mayo neighbours. One is held in each hand. They are made from gourds about 15 cm in diameter but of slightly different sizes and shapes to give different sounds to the various movements of the deer. The inside of the gourd is scraped clean and small pebbles are placed inside. A cottonwood handle about 15 cm long is inserted into the base of the gourd, which is neither painted nor decorated....

Article

Àjà  

Amanda Villepastour

A generic term for metal clapper bells of the Yorùbá people of Nigeria and Benin. The bells, which can be of iron or brass and of variable sizes, have an integral handle. Their most common use is in òrìṣà cults where the àjà punctuates prayers and incantations arhythmically and is believed to invoke the deities...

Article

Amanda Villepastour

The largest gourd rattle in the Sẹ̀kẹ̀rẹ̀ family of instruments of the Yorùbá people of Nigeria and Benin. The gourd resonator is encased in a net to which cowrie-shell and sometimes glass bead strikers are attached. The rattle was once associated with the worship of Ajé, the Yorùbá ...

Article

Peter Cooke

Large pentatonic log xylophone formerly played in the royal compound of the kabaka (King) of Buganda, central Uganda. Like other xylophones in Uganda the bars were preferably carved from logs of the lusambya tree (markhamia platycalyx). Their number varies between 17 and 22 and they are laid across freshly felled banana trunks and held in place by tall sticks pushed into the trunks between the bars. The bars are sounded at both ends with heavy beaters but are held longitudinally in place by a pair of shoulders carved out of the underside of each bar which trap the bars between the trunks yet allow free vibration....

Article

Akaene  

Gourd vessel rattle of the Teso people of Uganda. It is filled with pebbles or dried peas, and used to accompany songs for healing or rain-making.

Article

Peter Cooke

Flat box-shaped rattle of the Nkore people of western Uganda. The top and bottom of the box are made from two rafts of reeds laced together with thin sticks between them at the edges to hold them apart, leaving room between for dry seeds that rattle when the box is swung rhythmically from side to side and simultaneously tapped on the top by the player’s thumbs. The sides are covered with strips of banana fibre or cloth, stitched to prevent the seeds from escaping. Vernacular names among neighbouring peoples are ...

Article

Akayau  

K.A. Gourlay and Jeremy Montagu

Iron ankle rattle of the Hausa people of Nigeria. The Angas equivalent is the zye-zye. A piece of sheet iron is hammered to form a trough about 12 cm long, with the ends narrowed and folded back to form closed hooks into which iron rings are fitted. A string passed through two holes punched through the back of the trough enables two or three rattles to be strung together and worn on the ankles for dancing....

Article

Akiri  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Handheld bell of the Bandia of the Buta district, northern Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is made from the hard shell of borassus palm fruit. One end is sawn off and two short lengths of stick are hung inside as clappers. The bell is similar in shape and size to cowbells used elsewhere in the world. It is used in traditional dance music, together with ...

Article

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Xylophone of the Bandia people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has six to ten loose bars placed across two parallel tree (usually banana) trunks laid on the ground. Sometimes it is placed over a pit to increase the sonority. It is played only by men....

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Term of the Igbo people of Nigeria for clappers or a single-headed drum.

Article

Ałepa  

Laurence Libin

Term for various instruments among the Choctaw people of Mississippi, USA. Meanings of the term were probably extended to cover non-native instruments by Rev. Cyrus Byington, a 19th-century missionary concerned with translating the Bible into Choctaw. Ałepa chito denotes a large drum or bass fiddle, ...

Article

John M. Schechter and J. Richard Haefer

Rattle of Ecuador and the Valle de Tenza of Boyacá, Colombia. It resembles the modern rain stick and is made from a tube of cane (Gaudua angustifolia) 5 to 8 cm in diameter and 20 to 25 cm long, into which are placed seeds, stones, or shot pellets. Small sticks pierce the tube diametrically to keep the seeds in place and increase their vibrations. It might have two series of slits cut parallel to the length in both the top and bottom portions of the cane. It can be shaken vertically or horizontally. The ...

Article

Aligogo  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Slit drum of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Two kinds exist: a small zoomorphic form among the Mamvu people and a trapezoidal form among the Bari and Bangba of the northeastern DRC.

F.J. de Hen: Beitrag zur Kenntnis der Musikinstrumente aus Belgisch Kongo und Ruanda-Urundi...

Article

Alimba  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Xylophone of the Kusu people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has seven or eight bars laid loosely on two banana-tree logs about one metre long and placed about 70 cm apart.

G.H.R. Knosp: Enquête sur la vie musicale au Congo Belge, vol.3 (Tervuren, 1968), 27....

Article

Mauricio Molino

Percussion idiophone of Spain. It is a mortar made of metal, played by beating it internally and rhythmically with the head of a pestle. The same instrument is used in Panama, where it forms part of a percussion ensemble to accompany the tamborito, an Afro-Hispanic recreational dance....

Article

Alo  

Jeremy Montagu

Large clapperless bell of the Igbo people of Nigeria. It is a single bell, made of forged iron, 90 to 120 cm tall, and is struck by a wooden beater with soft padding around the end. Its main use is by women’s groups to accompany singing and for the ...

Article

Jane Freeman Moulin

Bamboo scraper of the Marquesas Islands. It consists of nine bamboo strips affixed with tapa and string to a rectangular wooden frame (about 36 by 28 cm). One long side of the frame is extended to form a handle. It is held with the left hand across the front of the body while the right hand scrapes across the bamboo strips with a stick. It is played together with drums to accompany dance in Puamu, Hiva Oa....

Article

Peter Cooke

Pentatonic log xylophone of the Ganda people of Uganda. Traditionally it consisted of 12 wooden bars made preferably from the lusambya tree (Markhamia platycalyx) which are laid in scale order across freshly felled banana trunks and held in place by tall sticks pushed into the trunks between the keys as spacers. On better instruments they are further anchored in place by fibre nooses, which are attached to the bars and hooked over adjacent spacers. The bars are tuned by reducing their thickness mostly on the underside of the middle third of the bar, thus flattening the pitch; sharpening is achieved by bevelling away the underside of both ends....