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Article

Henry Johnson

Musical bow of Japan. The name refers to the quintessential material used for the bow (azusa: catalpa) and the form (yumi: bow). Other names for the instrument include azusa and yumidaiko (daiko/taiko: drum). It is nowadays made of wood such as catalpa or mulberry and is about 1 metre long, has an independent resonator (usually an upside-down box), and is sounded by a wooden beater usually held in the player’s right hand. The single string is normally made of flax. The player, who normally kneels with the string placed horizontally in front, presses the bow on to the resonator with the left hand and beats the string without any change of pitch. The ...

Article

J. Gansemans, K.A. Gourlay and Ferdinand J. de Hen

Ground harp of the Mamvu, Apanga, and Mari peoples of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It consists of a flexible stick stuck in the ground with a string tied to its upper end. The lower end of the string is fastened to the bark cover of a nearby pit, which serves as the resonator. The string is plucked with the right thumb and forefinger or hit with a small stick. The name ...

Article

Gerhard Kubik

Modern single-string bass instrument of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, and adjacent areas. It became popular in the early 1950s with kwela flute (tin whistle) music and is probably derived from the American washtub bass or tea-chest bass. The resonator is usually an empty plywood tea chest, its open end resting on the ground. The string is anchored through a central hole in the top of the chest and its other end is tied to the top of a stick (resembling a broomstick) that stands vertically on the chest, near the side closest to the player (but is not attached to it). With one foot on the chest to steady it, the player holds the top of the stick with his left hand, pulling it towards him with varying pressure to alter the tension of the string as required, to change the pitch, while plucking the string with his right hand....

Article

A drumstick, or the stick of a Bow or a conductor’s Baton.

Article

A disposition used on many early 20th-century harpsichords (and thus specified in some 20th-century compositions) in imitation of the so-called Bach harpsichord.

Article

Bachi  

Plectrum of the Japanese shamisen and biwa (plucked lutes). Good shamisen plectra are of ivory or ivory-tipped wood, although tortoise-shell is used when playing certain chamber and folk music. Practice plectra are made of plastic or of three weights of wood to provide balance and to supply a thin point. ...

Article

Martin Elste

A keyboard instrument of the harpsichord type designed and built by the Munich instrument-making firm of Maendler-Schramm in the 1920s. Its mechanism was designed to allow dynamic gradation: a pad was fitted diagonally between the back key lever and the adjustable screw of a specially sprung jack, so that the length of the plectrum could be regulated by touch (patented ...

Article

Milena Bozhikova

(b Vidin, Bulgaria, June 24, 1939). Bulgarian violinist. He studied violin at the age of five under Petăr Hadjiangelov. After his talent was discovered, he was admitted to the Boarding School for Gifted Children (1952–7). He graduated from the State Conservatory (now National Academy of Music) in Sofia under the famous pedagogue Vladimir Avramov (...

Article

R. Conway Morris

Turkish long-necked lute of the Ṭanbūr family (for illustration see Kurdish music). The pear-shaped bowl resonator is carved (oyma) or carvel-built (yapraklı). The soundtable is of wood, usually coniferous. The neck has a variable number of movable frets. Traditionally these were made of sheepgut or copper wire but nylon line is now used. The instrument’s name, dating from the 17th century, derives from these ‘tied’ frets (...

Article

A drumstick (as baguette de tambour), the stick of a Bow, or a conductor's Baton.

Article

Bailol  

Jeremy Montagu

Mouth bow of the Fula and Tukulor peoples of Senegal and the Gambia. The left hand presses the string with a small stick to alter the pitch of the fundamental, while the right hand taps the string with a second stick. Overtones are selected by altering the shape of the mouth....

Article

Ramón Hernández

Twelve-string instrument sharing some similarities with an acoustic guitar. Although its exact origins are unclear, the bajo sexto appeared in Mexico during the late 1800s and has gained popularity since that time. The instrument is tuned lower than a typical acoustic guitar, hence the bajo...

Article

Andrew C. McGraw

A bamboo ensemble of the eastern Sumenep region of Madura, Indonesia. Bak beng specifically refers to an idiochord tube zither made from a length of bamboo two and a half internodes long (about 145 cm), from which four ‘strings’, two per internode, are raised from the epidermis by small wooden bridges. The pitches of the front two strings are lowered by small wooden tongues placed in the middle of the strings above a small resonance hole. The instrument is placed horizontally in front of the player on a short wooden stand, the right end closed by a natural node and the left end covered with a leather skin, which the performer beats with his left hand (...

Article

Baka  

Mouth bow of the Gbande people of Liberia. The player taps the string with a stick in his right hand while regulating the vibrating length with a stick in his left. The string passes between his lips; by altering the shape of the oral cavity he can produce different overtones. ...

Article

Ardian Ahmedaja

Three-stringed lute of southeastern Albania (Korçë area). Its half-pear-shaped body is assembled from thin ribs of wood. The slightly curved soundboard of fir is edged with mulberry or cherry wood and often has a thin piece of walnut as a plectrum guard. The 11 to 14 tied frets, formerly of gut, are nowadays made of synethetic material. The plectrum is made from cherry bark or turkey quill. The strings are of wire, the first two tuned a 4th, 5th, or major 2nd apart. The third string is tuned either in unison with or an octave lower than the second. The melody is played as a rule on the first string, rarely on the second. The third string is played as a drone. The ...

Article

Baku  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Symmetrical bowl lyre with five to seven strings, of the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. It can have a bridge but this is not always present.

F.J. de Hen: Beitrag zur Kenntnis der Musikinstrumente aus Belgisch Kongo und Ruanda-Urundi (Tervuren, 1960), 158–59.

See also...

Article

Bambaro  

Jeremy Montagu

Metal jew’s harp of European pattern played by young men of the Songhay in Niger and the Zamfara Hausa in Nigeria. It has become a part of the local instrumentarium, replacing the indigenous bamboo zagada. Children still make substitutes from halved guinea-corn stalks, loosening a strip of cortex as the tongue and digging out a segment of the pith as a small resonating chamber....

Article

Jonathan McCollum

Plucked chordophone of medieval Armenia. It was used by gusanner (entertainers) in theatrical performances, weddings, funerals, and other rites and feasts. The Armenian historian Movses Khorenatsi refers to the bambir in his History of Armenia (474 ce). Some modern scholars believe the bambir might have been a concussion idiophone, similar to castanets....

Article

Robert At’ayan

Type of Armenian cello, invented in the early 1950s and named after the ancient Armenian instrument. The body is hollowed from a single piece of wood and covered by a wooden soundtable. The large bambir has two crescent soundholes (7 cm long and 2.5 cm wide) in the soundtable and a thin animal membrane, with several soundholes (about 5 mm in diameter), stretched underneath. This membrane under the soundtable gives the instrument its distinctive timbre—a clean tone, reminiscent of a muted cello, but related to the sound of the ...

Article

Bana  

Geneviève Dournon

Three-string fiddle of Madhya Pradesh (Mandla district), India. About 70 cm long, it is made up of a squarish soundbox of mango wood with incurved sides, covered with a soundtable of calf’s stomach membrane, and a bamboo neck. The three horsehair strings are tuned by lateral wooden pegs and played with a bow to which are attached little pellet-bells. In the central Mandla province, ...