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Article

Percival Price, Charles Bodman Rae and James Blades

An idiophone consisting of a hollow object, usually of metal but in some cultures of hard clay or even glass, which when struck emits a sound by the vibration of most of its mass. Bells differ from gongs in that their zone of maximum vibration is towards the rim, while that of gongs is towards the centre; bells are held at their vertex, or point farthest from their rim. While the word ‘bell’ is often loosely applied to any device that produces a metallic sound of gradual decay, a true bell is not so long in relation to its diameter as to be considered a tube closed at one end (...

Article

James Blades

A portable glockenspiel in lyre form designed for the use of marching bands. It is classified as an ‘idiophone: set of percussion plaques’. In the latter half of the 19th century the glockenspiel became a feature in German military bands. Originally the instrument consisted of a row of metal cups (later, steel bars) mounted in a pyramid on an upright rod held in one hand of the player, while the other held the beater. The bars (usually 15) were arranged in a single row and were detachable for key changes. Later instruments, with a compass of two or more octaves arranged in two or more rows mounted on a lyre-shaped frame, were supported from the shoulder. When ‘fully dressed’ the instrument bore the traditional horse-tail plumes. Its form is surely inspired by the ...

Article

Michael Webb

Both a struck aerophone (alternatively, an idiophone) comprising a set of three or five tuned bamboo tubes, and the name for an ensemble including these instruments. It was featured in popular music in the Solomon Islands (its place of origin) and parts of Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu for several decades from the 1970s. The primary instrument is derived from the handheld tuned stamping tube, and comprises a set of 7- to 9-cm-diameter bamboos, open at both ends and graduated in lengths of up to 2 metres, arranged in raft form. A band will include at least three sets; each set is commonly tuned (to a guitar) 1–3–5–6–8 (or 1–3–5), usually in a low register, to sound one of the three primary chords in a given key. With flexible paddles players vigorously slap in succession one open end of each bamboo in a boogie-woogie rhythmic-melodic pattern that outlines a triad; sets alternate according to changes in harmony. The ensemble includes guitars and accompanies harmonized singing. A related Solomon Islands ensemble without guitars yet employing Westernized tuning, involves multiple sets of panpipes, ‘pantrumpets’, and the rack-mounted bass ...

Article

Bende  

Margaret J. Kartomi

Small suspended bossed gong of Central and East Java, Bali, and Sumatra. It is made of heavy bronze, about 30 to 40 cm in diameter, and is beaten with a padded hammer on the boss, which is about 5 to 7 cm wide. Bende are used in the ...

Article

Bene  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Lamellaphone of the Sango people in the Ubangi region, Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has a carved wooden resonator fitted under an ovoid soundboard, and seven to ten wooden tongues.

J.S. Laurenty: Les sanza du Congo (Tervuren, 1962), 192.

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Beri  

Suspended bossed gong of Java.

Article

Bertz  

A name used in the Basque region for the Tambourin de Béarn.

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Beru  

Struck idiophone of the Kikuyu people of Kenya. It is a circular or S-shaped piece of steel (such as a piece of automobile scrap), played very loudly together with a button accordion to accompany dances.

H. Tracey: Catalogue of the Sound of Africa Series, vol.2 (Roodeport, 1973), 360....

Article

Bher  

Alastair Dick

Very large metal kettledrum of Sind, Pakistan. It is played standing, with two sticks, as part of the ceremonial band naubat found at the shrines of some Sindi saints (e.g. that of Shah Abdul Latif at Bhitshah). ‘Bher’ doubtless derives from the old Indian drum name ...

Article

Mireille Helffer

Cymbals of the Newari people of Nepal. In the Kathmandu valley the term designates a category of large-bossed cymbals made in three sizes. The largest is used mainly in the instrumental ensemble called dhime bājā.

S. Wiehler-Schneider and H. Wiehler: ‘A Classification of the Traditional Musical Instruments of the Nevars’, ...

Article

Trân Quang Hai and Nguyen Thuyet Phong

Set of Vietnamese bells formerly played in the imperial court. It consists of 12 bronze bells, identical in shape and size but of different thicknesses, hung in a frame and struck with a horn hammer. They produce a chromatic scale but are used for pentatonic music. The ...

Article

Trân Quang Hai and Nguyen Thuyet Phong

Vietnamese lithophone. It consists of 12 L-shaped slabs of stone arranged in two rows chromatically from the lower right to the left, then from the upper left to the right (as one faces the instrument). This set was used only in court and in Confucian temple music similar to that in Taiwan (...

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Bell of the Somali and Galla peoples of East Africa.

Article

Ancient Russian percussion plaque or disc, suspended from a tree. It was used for signalling in the monasteries of the Raskolniks (dissenters) up to the end of the 19th century.

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Clapperless bell of the Wumbu people of Gabon. It is reportedly made of iron, about 50 cm long, and held in the hand while struck with a beater.

Article

Bisanji  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Lamellaphone of the Luluwa people of the south-western Democratic Republic of the Congo. The resonator, usually rectangular, can be made of hard wood with a variable number of metal tongues or of very soft wood with bamboo tongues.

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

Article

Elaine Dobson

Percussion idiophone of the Lepcha people of Sikkim (North India). It is a flat blade of wood 20 to 60 cm long with one rounded end, and with a string through or around notches or grooves at the opposite end, by which to hold it. It is struck by a wooden stick with a short, right-angled ‘hook’ at the thicker end, giving a metallic sound like a continuous ‘ting, ting’. ...

Article

Term used in the Hornbostel–Sachs classification for an idiophonic instrument made to vibrate by being blown upon; this rare class includes the Äolsklavier, an instrument made up of sticks set in vibration by air.

See also Äolsklavier.

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Bo  

Chinese cymbals. See Cymbals, §3.

Article

Percussion idiophone, usually a board of resonant wood that is struck with beaters. In the Philippines, for example, a board suspended a few centimetres above the ground is struck and jars suspended close above it serve as resonators. Boards can also be placed over resonating pits in the ground. Sometimes a trough is cut along the lower side of a board to enhance its tone. If not suspended, the board can be raised on supports so that it can vibrate freely. Presumably the board drum is the prehistoric precursor of the xylophone....