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Article

Mervyn McLean

Stamping tube set of the ‘Are’are people of Malaita, Solomon Islands. Among the neighbouring Kwarekwareo they are called ‘au ni wado. A set consists of ten bamboo tubes 13 to 46 cm long, closed by a node at the lower end. Unlike the kiro stamping tubes which accompany singing, they are carefully tuned to a pentatonic scale. A single musician sits on the ground or on a low seat, legs spread. On the ground between his thighs he places a stone against which he strikes the tubes of his choice, held four in each hand. Between the two largest toes of each foot he wedges one of the two remaining tubes, which he strikes on smaller stones, one by each foot. Alternatively the tubes may be shared among two or three musicians, in which case the ensemble may increase to 12 with each player holding two tubes in each hand. The simultaneous and alternate striking of the tubes produces a sound like a xylophone....

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

Wooden clappers used under a wide variety of names by aboriginal Australians.

Article

Bora  

Bullroarer of the Borli people, Northern Province, Papua New Guinea. It is used during initiations and is represented to women and the uninitiated as the voice of evil spirits.

E.W. Chinnery: ‘Notes on the Natives of South Bougainville and Mortlock (Tahu)’, Territory of New Guinea Anthropological Report...

Article

Botgef  

Raymond Ammann

Panpipe of the island of Espíritu Santo in Vanuatu. It has six to eight graduated bamboo tubes and is used in ensemble for polyphonic performance. The names of the tubes correspond to the members of a family. For example, in the Morouas language the longest tube is called ...

Article

Brere  

Raymond Ammann

Bundle panpipe of Vanuatu. It is called brere in the Fimele language on Santo island, bepwe sangawulu in Wailapa, nehr in several languages in northwest Malakula, and nimbucan in Nahai’i on Tomman Island. There is no formal difference between the Santo and Malakula bundle panpipes. In both cases the upper end of the bamboo tubes are half-open (the node is pierced only in the centre) and completely open at the bottom, the distal end being cut above the node. All the instruments have a fixed order of tubes arranged according to length. The tubes can number from six to ten. For example, in Brenwei village in northwest Malakula the instrument consists of six bamboo tubes. The longest are named ...

Article

Raymond Ammann

Transverse flute of the northern Pentecost Island, Vanuatu. In central Pentecost it is called bua bangro. Codrington was the first to mention the instrument and it was probably he who gave it the name ‘double flute’. He refers to the island of Ambae, where the instrument is called ...

Article

Bue  

Raymond Ammann

Idiophone of Vanuatu. It is a bundle of dried bamboo struckto accompanydance. Bue in many languages of Vanuatu means‘bamboo’, and the term is often part of the name of panpipes and slit drums made from bamboo. On many islands several bamboo stalks 3 to 4 metres long lie on the flooror are set in forked sticks; in the latter case, the musicians can stand while striking the ...

Article

Raymond Ammann

Raft panpipe of Ambae in Vanuatu. Bue means ‘bamboo’ and balabala means ‘arranging in a line’. The name of the raft panpipe on the neighbouring island, Pentecost, with a very similar culture and language as northeast Ambae, is buabava. R.H. Codrington: The Melanesians: Studies in their Anthropology and Folk-Lore...

Article

Bui  

Bullroarer of the Mawai people, Northern Province, Papua New Guinea, used for initiation ceremonies.

A.C. Haddon: ‘Migration of Cultures in British New Guinea’, Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, vol.1 (1920), 237–80.

Article

Bulbing  

Margaret Gummow

Percussion idiophone of Australia, so called in the Bundjalung area and played by women throughout the southeast, as well as north along the Queensland coast and as far west as Adelaide in South Australia. It comprised apossum skin turned inside out, stuffed with feathers or rags, and struck with the hand or a stick. It was held on the lap and beaten constantly throughout a song. In some regions, such as the Murawari area of western New South Wales, the pillow was made of kangaroo skin and stuffed with possum fur, and several people beat it simultaneously with their hands. The skin pillow was still being used in the early 1990s; later, as it became difficult to obtain possum skins, substitutions such as a rolled-up blanket were made. In the Ngarrindjeri area near Adelaide, the pillow was still being used by women in ...

Article

Raymond Ammann

Term in Fwài, Nemi, Jawe, and Pije for bark clappers of New Caledonia. These are the most typical idiophones on the Grande Terre (main island), evidently popular in past times, nowadays conspicuously in use in the centre and the north; the instrument has even been adopted by ...

Article

Dulali  

Raymond Ammann

Nose flute of Fiji. The instrument, known locally by many names, ranges from 35 to 70 cm long and 3 to 6 cm in diameter. It is made of a single internode of bamboo, closed at both ends by the nodes, and has four to nine finger holes evenly spaced along the length and often three additional holes evenly spaced around the midpoint. It is probable that it functions as a vessel flute. Some examples in museums show burned-in decorations. Fijian nose flutes are now almost obsolete. Formerly, they accompanied certain ...

Article

Nafa  

Mervyn McLean

Drums of Polynesia.

(1) Slit drum of western Polynesia. It was present in Tonga in pre-Contact times, and in 1784 Captain Cook reported it as between 90 and 120 cm long, twice as thick as a man and entirely hollowed with an 8 cm slit running its full length. It was beaten to accompany dance with two sticks about 30 cm long and ‘as thick as the wrist’. It produced a powerful sound and different notes were obtained by beating the drum in the middle or near the end. By the 1970s the ...

Article

Mervyn McLean and Raymond Ammann

Slit drum of the ‘Are‘are people, Malaita, Solomon Islands. This horizontal slit drum is used solo exclusively to send signals. The approximately 12 known signals include the announcement of a death, a forthcoming feast, the upbraiding of a pig thief, and so on. In the north of Malaita (To’abaita people, Fataleka people) these signals are struck with a single stick, and in the middle of the islands (‘Are‘are people) they are struck with two sticks in the same way as in the slit drum ensemble ...

Article

Ove  

Small slit drum of Mangaia in the Cook Islands; oe denotes a bell. In the Maori language nowadays, both ove and oe can mean ‘bell’.

M. McLean: Music, Dance and Polynesian Origins: the Evidence from POc and PPn (Occasional Papers in Pacific Ethnomusicology, no.8) (Auckland, NZ, 2010)....

Article

Saui  

Conch horn of Truk and Satowal, central Caroline Islands, Micronesia. In Puluwat it is called haui and in Ponape sowi (chaui, tšaui). In Ifaluk it is called taui and is used for signalling and for religious invocation.

H. Damm and E. Sarfert: ‘Inselnum Truk, 2: Polowat, Hok und Satowal’, ...

Article

Sosom  

Margaret J. Kartomi, Mervyn McLean and Don Niles

Bullroarer of the Marind people of Papua, Indonesia. It is commonly an oval-shaped wooden slab, pointed at one end of the oval, and narrowing and then expanding at the other end to a fish-tail shape. Both sides are slightly convex. There is no standard size, but it is often about 40 cm long and has figures carved on it. It is identified with Sosom, a gigantic mythical monster who devours initiates but later brings them back to life....