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Article

Kenneth Sparr

(b Askersund, Sweden, 1717; d Stockholm, Sweden, 1763). Swedish luthier, active in Stockholm from 1736. He made bowed and plucked instruments and was inspired by Guersan and the old Parisian school, as was his apprentice Johan Öberg. Some of his instruments are stamped ‘S. BECKMAN’ and numbered. In ...

Article

Beeba  

Catherine Ingram and Wu Zhicheng

Lute of the Kam (Dong) minority people of southwest China. Names vary with dialect and instrument size; examples from Sanlong region, Southeast Guizhou province, are beeba ning (‘small beeba’; c68 to 92 cm long, c11 to 20 cm wide at the soundbox) and ...

Article

Beganna  

Ronald Lah and Stéphanie Weisser

Lyre of the Christian Amhara of central and northern Ethiopia. The most carefully crafted of Amhara string instruments, the beganna is noteworthy for its ornately sculpted crossbar and engraved arms. Its soundbox (gebeti) is either a square-face wooden bowl or an open box shaped as a truncated square pyramid, made of plywood in recent instruments. The open face is covered with untanned cattle skin sewn at the back of the soundbox. The ten sheep- or cattle-gut strings are bound with tuning levers and twisted around the crossbar. Their opposite ends are attached to a tailpiece held by two leather strips inserted through incisions in the skin head and fastened inside the soundbox. A hole, often shaped as a cross, pierces the back of the soundbox. The ...

Article

Bekuru  

Regis Stella

Term for both an idioglot bamboo jew’s harp (susap) and a musical bow of the Banoni people, Papua New Guinea. As elsewhere in Bougainville, the jew’s harp is a men’s instrument, the mouth bow a women’s. Men apply love magic to the jew’s harp to attract women. It is activated by jerking a string so that the player’s thumb strikes the base of the tongue. In a story a man named Marere learned to play it from a wild man. Women were so attracted to the sound that they would have sex with Marere instead of going fishing. Trying to escape from the women’s husbands, Marere dropped the instrument and turned into a stone; now other men can play the ...

Article

Obsolete bamboo jews harp of the Chamorro people of Guam in the Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia. It took the form of a bamboo stick in which a tongue was cut. The instrument was placed in the half-open mouth and its tongue set in motion by a finger....

Article

Raymond F. Kennedy

Musical bow of the Chamorro of the Mariana Islands, Micronesia. It is especially important on the island of Guam where it has become a symbol of early Chamorro culture. The bent stick of the belembau tuyan, made of a supple native wood (usually hibiscus), is about 2 metres long. A string made from wild pineapple fibre (wire in later forms) is stretched along the stick and fastened to it at both ends. A half gourd (or two half coconut-shells, one inside the other) is attached, opening outward, part way between the ends of the stick on the side opposite the string. The player reclines or sits, the gourd resting against his stomach, and fingers the string with his left hand while striking it with a piece of sword-grass held in his right hand (see illustration). When a wire string is used, protective cylinders are worn on the fingers of the left hand. Freely translated, ...

Article

Belikan  

Gini Gorlinski

Lute of the Iban people of Sarawak, Malaysia, and the Maloh group of peoples in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. It was rare in the late 19th century and virtually unknown by the 21st. The resonator and integral, unfretted neck are carved from a single block of wood. The neck constitutes up to nearly two-thirds of the instrument’s total length of roughly 80 to 90 cm. The resonator is hollowed from the top and covered with a thin wood soundtable, perforated with several small soundholes. The end of the neck is often ornamented with the carved head—sometimes including the preserved beak—of a hornbill, a bird emblematic of Iban culture....

Article

Philip J. Kass

(b Naples, Italy, Feb 24, 1907; d Naples, Italy, 1979). Italian violin maker. He was the son of Riccardo Bellarosa, a professor of violin at the Naples Conservatory, and initially studied under Vito Vitantonio in Rotello. In the late 1920s he studied briefly in Mittenwald, and later in Rome under Rodolfo Fredi. About ...

Article

Belly  

David D. Boyden

The upper surface of the body of a string instrument. It is normally made of a species of pine or spruce of fairly fine and even grain, which runs along the length of the instrument. In bowed string instruments (viols and violins), the belly is arched (...

Article

Term occasionally applied to West African harps with half-gourd resonator held to the player’s stomach. The gourd can be moved away from or pressed against the belly to alter the sound.

Article

Laurence Libin

(b Bronx, NY, Oct 22, 1946). American luthier, notable for handmade archtop jazz guitars. In childhood he learned woodworking from his father, a skilled cabinetmaker, and music from an uncle, a violinist; his grandfather had worked for Steinway & Sons. A visit to the Gretsch guitar factory in Brooklyn fueled his interest in the instrument; he played a Chet Atkins model 6120 guitar from ...

Article

Beng  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Mouth bow of the Fang people of Gabon. It accompanies songs of the shamans of the Eboghe society.

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Benta  

K.A. Gourlay and Gavin Webb

Mouth bow of the Asante (Ashanti) and Akan people of Ghana. The instrument was first noted by Bowdich in 1817 and described as a stick bent in the form of a bow with a thin piece of split cane fastened across it as a string. This was held between the lips at one end and the string struck with a small stick whilst being stopped by a thick stick, the mouth acting as a resonator....

Article

As applied to harps, a mechanism for chromatic alteration of the pitch of the strings by pinching the strings between pairs of turning ‘crutches’ operated by the pedals; the mechanism was introduced in the late 18th century by Georges and Jacques-Georges Cousineau.

See also Cousineau family...

Article

Jernej Weiss

(b Brno, Czech Republic, Oct 17, 1868; d Ljubljana, Slovenia, March 11, 1940). Czech composer, cellist, and music educator. Immigrated to Slovenia in 1898. After playing the cello at the Secondary School of Music of the Music Society in Brno (1884–85), he began in ...

Article

Jaak Liivoja-Lorius

(fl Como, Italy, c1758–89). Italian violin maker. According to his labels he was a pupil of Giuseppe Guadagnini (spelt Guadagnino on Beretta’s early instruments). Certainly his work follows the Guadagnini school and his better instruments share many similarities with the violins of Giuseppe Guadagnini, though the varnish, varying from brown to yellow, is markedly inferior. Some scrolls, possibly the earlier ones, have rather open turns and are not especially graceful. The workmanship, although adequate, shows a lack of finish. His instruments of the 1780s are usually valued the highest and are good tonally....

Article

John M. Schechter

A Brazilian Musical bow of African origin, with a single wire string and sometimes a gourd resonator. Despite its origin, in the north and north-east it takes a Portuguese name, the berimbau or berimbau de barriga (jew’s harp of the belly), while it is called ...

Article

Laurence Libin

(b Madrid, Spain, July 2, 1932). Spanish guitar maker. He became interested in guitar making while studying the classical guitar with Daniel Fortea, a pupil of Tárrega. He was apprenticed in 1954 to Ramírez and rose to become head of that famous workshop, leaving in ...

Article

Charles Beare

French family of violin makers. Auguste Sebastien Philippe Bernardel (b Mirecourt, 24 Jan 1798; d Bougival, 1870), known as Bernardel père, was apprenticed as a violin maker in Mirecourt before moving to Paris to work for Lupot and Charles François Gand. He opened his own workshop in Paris in ...

Article

Timothy D. Taylor

[Charles Edward Anderson]

(b St Louis, 18 Oct 1926; d Wentzville, MO, 18 March 2017). American rock and roll singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Born into a solid working-class black family, he worked at a variety of jobs before pursuing a career in music. He achieved success rather late; his first number one hit, Maybellene, was recorded in 1955 when he was 29. During the 1950s and 60s he wrote a number of hit songs which have become rock and roll standards, including Roll over Beethoven, Too Much Monkey Business, Brown-Eyed Handsome Man, School Days, Back in the USA, Little Queenie, Memphis, Tennessee, and Johnny B. Goode. Berry’s songs were based on 12-bar blues progressions, with variations ranging from 8 to 24 bars, played at fast tempos with an emphasis on the backbeat. He had a high clear baritone and extremely clean diction and wrote literate, witty lyrics, many of them the best in early rock and roll. He was a consummate guitarist and his style has been as influential as his songwriting. He employed blues and rhythm and blues licks with bluegrass inflections, and adapted them to a pop-song format. Many of these were probably learned from his pianist and collaborator, Johnnie Johnson....