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Article

Action  

Edwin M. Ripin and Peter Walls

(1) The linkage between the fingers (or feet) and the sound-producing parts of an instrument. Hence, the mechanism by means of which the strings or pipes of a keyboard instrument are sounded when a key is depressed, e.g. tracker action, pneumatic action, electric action, etc. in organs (...

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Adigidi  

Version of the endingidi (single-string spike fiddle), made by the Teso people of Uganda. The large calabash resonator provides a deep tone. A half-groundnut serves as a bridge. The fiddle is used to accompany songs.

See also Endingidi .

Article

Laurence Libin

Term applied to any instrument sounded by air, and in particular to instruments set in vibration by natural wind currents, usually outdoors. It has been applied to bells, bows, harps, pipes, and tube zithers.

Article

Stephen Bonner

A string instrument (chordophone) sounded by natural wind, interesting as much for its symbolic significance as for its musical importance.

Normally four to 12 (but sometimes 24 or 48) strings ‘of catgut or brass wire, equal in length, unequal in thickness’ (Magasin pittoresque, 1845...

Article

Afiw  

José Maceda

Idioglot Jew’s harp of the northern Philippines. Most are made of bamboo, but some are of brass or bronze with a slender triangular tongue cut through a small sheet of metal, the tongue remaining fully enclosed but attached only at the base of the triangle. Among the Bontok people it is known as the ...

Article

K.A. Gourlay and Amanda Villepastour

Lamellaphone of the Ọ̀yọ́ Yorùbá in Nigeria. It has diffused to the Nago peoples of Benin and Lucumí people in Cuba, where it is known as the marímbula. Five adjustable metal tongues are mounted on a large wooden box resonator, which can be 45 cm by 60 cm and 22 cm deep or larger. The instrument is played on the lap, suspended from the neck at waist level so that the tongues can be plucked with the fingers of either hand, or resting on the floor with the player seated. The ...

Article

Martha Novak Clinkscale

A device invented and patented by Sébastien Erard as part of his first repetition action of 1808, which replaced the nut (wrest-plank bridge) and nut-pin (bridge-pin) arrangement of earlier pianos. Érard’s early agraffe resembled a small brass staple with a concave top. One agraffe for each note was attached at a vertical angle to the front edge of the wrest plank, and the strings were passed underneath. Agraffes define one end of the strings’ speaking length and keep them in place by assuring downward bearing on the strings as the hammers strike. An Érard grand piano of ...

Article

Ahpareo  

J. Richard Haefer

Diatonic harp with 28 strings of the Yoeme Yaqui Indians of Arizona and Sonora, Mexico, and the Mayo and Guarijio Indians of Northern Mexico. The names derive from the Spanish arpa. Made from cedar or other local woods, the harp is about 160 cm tall, with a straight forepillar made from a local cactus pole, an inverted arch neck with wooden tuning pegs, and a resonator of three or usually five sides and a flat soundtable with three circular sound holes. Traditionally the lower strings are made of wound goat gut which the harpist receives as part of his payment for playing the fiesta. Nowadays the strings are made from monofilament nylon of various sizes with the lower ones wound to a larger diameter. The harp is retuned as the performance proceeds through the night with various segments using different scales. The harp is played together with the lave’leo violin to accompany the dancing of the ...

Article

Idiochord single-string stick zither made by Ganda children in Uganda. It consists of a piece of papyrus stem about 55 cm long with a thin strip raised and supported on bits of papyrus that serve as bridges. It is plucked either with a finger of the right hand or with a small stick....

Article

Single-string fiddle of the Makonde people of the Ruvuma region of the United Republic of Tanzania.

Article

Akidi  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Board zither of the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has a single string that passes five times back and forth along a board from notches carved in both ends, with a small stick at each end serving as a nut, and small movable wooden blocks under each length of string to tune them. The name ...

Article

Albani  

Patrizio Barbieri

Italian makers of stringed keyboard instruments. At least four builders of this name were active during the 16th and 17th centuries, three of whom are known to have been members of the same Roman family. Documents show that from at least 1623 onwards Andrea Albani (...

Article

Albert  

Philip J. Kass

Family of violin makers and dealers. John Albert (b Liel, Baden, Germany, 24 June 1809; d Philadelphia, PA, 2 Jan 1900) began as an engineer and inventor. He came to New York from Freiburg, Germany, in 1854 as a refugee of the 1848...

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

Aliquot  

Howard Mayer Brown and Anne Beetem Acker

Term for a whole number that divides into another without remainder; one number is an aliquot part of the other and can be smaller or of the same length. The wavelengths of the harmonic partials of a tone are aliquot parts of the fundamental. Sympathetic strings that vibrate in resonance with others that are struck, plucked, or bowed are called ‘aliquot strings’. In organ building, ...

Article

Albert Cohen

A kind of lute, perhaps one activated by a wheel, invented by the French polymath Jean Le Maire. The word ‘almérie’ is an anagram of the inventor’s name. Le Maire (b Chaumont-en-Bassigny, Haute-Marne, c1581; dc1650) was a mathematician, engineer, and inventor who lived in Toulouse and Paris. His widespread interests led to the development of novelties in such diverse areas as architecture, language, mnemotechnics, and typography. In music, in addition to the ...

Article

Mongolian Jew's harp . See Huur, §2 and Mongol music

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Ame  

David D. Boyden

A term used to denote the Soundpost of instruments of the violin and viol families. In certain French sources, the bow also is called the ‘soul’ of the instrument. L'abbé le fils (Principes du violon, 1761) wrote: ‘On peut appeller l’archet L'Ame de l'Instrument qu'il touche’ (‘one can call the bow the soul of the instrument it touches’). Italians use the same term: ...

Article

Ampico  

Trade name for a Reproducing piano introduced by the American Piano Co. (see Aeolian, §2) in 1913.

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Amponga  

Generic term current in Madagascar for percussion instruments. It includes cylindrical drums such as amponga ntaolo (‘ancestors’ drum’) and the ground zither amponga tany (‘earthen drum’).