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  • Peter Cooke


Transverse flute of Masaaba, eastern Uganda. It is made from the gently conical dry flower-stalk of the giant lobelia. The player blows across a rectangular embouchure about 45 mm from the wider, proximal end of the tube, which is about 67 to 100 cm long. The proximal end is closed by the thumb while playing. Though it has no fingerholes, the flute produces a range of pitches by overblowing to sound two sets of higher harmonics produced by opening and closing the distal end with a finger. It is used for general entertainment, the player also sounding a regular beat from bells strapped to his calf while further accompanied with triplet rhythms played on a rattle or percussion trough by an assistant....

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