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Warren M. Sherk

(b Pittsburgh, 29 June 1870; d Los Angeles, 23 Jan 1926). American composer, conductor, arranger, and singer. Largely self-taught, his fondness for the theater as a teenager led him to compose an operetta and to a career composing dramatic music. Educated at Pittsburgh Catholic College, he spent two years in Leipzig studying music theory with Reinecke and vocal music with Ewald. Returning to Pittsburgh in 1891, he began teaching voice, singing at St. Paul’s Cathedral, and writing vocal music. He founded the East End Musical Club, a vocal ensemble he also conducted. By 1900 he was settled in New York writing sacred music and art songs, and from 1903 to 1909 employed as an editor and arranger at major music publishers. He gained nationwide exposure as a composer in 1909 with his incidental music for a play, The Climax, which included the expressive “Song of the Soul.” Concert performances of his vocal music ensued....

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Caramba  

Andrés Amado and John M. Schechter

[quijongozambumbiaarpachémarimbaché]

Musical bow of Central America, notably Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Probably of African provenance, it consists of a wooden bow about 170 cm long, a gourd resonator, and a string. The string is struck with a stick and resonated by the gourd and the player’s mouth. Possibly obsolete nowadays, it was significant during the colonial period and throughout the 19th century, when it accompanied dance dramas that are now nearly extinct. It is called ...

Article

Changgo  

Robert C. Provine

Double-headed hourglass drum, the chief percussion instrument of Korea (chang: ‘stick’; go: ‘drum’). It is also known as changgu (especially in central Korea and among folk performers), sŏlchanggo (for the instrument used in the farmers’ percussion band music nongak), and seyogo (a Chinese term used in certain historical sources, meaning ‘narrow-waisted drum’). The changgo body is made in various sizes, and in general a changgo used in court music and for subtle accompaniment will be larger and deeper-toned than one used in nongak and in certain types of folk song.

The body of the instrument is made of a single piece of paulownia wood, fashioned in the shape of an hourglass and hollow even at the narrow waist. The body ranges in length from roughly 40 to more than 60 cm and in diameter at the ends from roughly 20 to more than 30 cm. It may be painted red and decorated with traditional motifs, though some drums used in ...

Article

Andrés Amado

Vessel rattle of Guatemala and Mexico, usually used in pairs. They exist in many sizes and varieties, made of gourd, metal, or pottery, filled with pebbles or seeds, and often decorated with flowers and other carved or painted patterns. The Maya use chinchines, also called zoot or sut in some Mayan dialects, predominantly in dance dramas and ceremonial contexts. Among the Ladino population (non-Mayan, ‘mestizo’), they are often played at Christmas processions called ...

Article

Daniel Goldmark

(b Minneapolis, MN, 28 March, 1941). Composer for television, conductor, arranger, and orchestrator. Clausen grew up in Jamestown, ND, where he took up French horn and piano, as well as singing in school choirs. He attended North Dakota State University studying mechanical engineering before a summer in New York City, before being exposed to first-run Broadway musicals and other professional musical settings convinced him he should pursue music instead. He took up string bass and baritone sax and graduated with a degree in music in 1963, followed by a masters degree at Berklee College of Music.

After moving to southern California, his first high-profile professional gig was as an arranger for the second season of The Donny and Marie Show, and eventually conductor and music director for the show’s third season. He moved away from variety and into scripted drama with his work on Moonlighting; during this time he also scored the comedy series ...

Article

Andrés Amado

(b ?1846; d 16 Apr 1912). Musician and instrument builder from Quetzaltenango, Guatemala He is credited with the invention in 1894 of the Guatemalan chromatic marimba, also known as marimba de doble teclado (double keyboard marimba), marimba doble (double marimba), or marimba cuache (twin marimba). Before the invention of the marimba doble, musicians added chromatic tones to the diatonic (sencilla) marimba by applying wax to the bars, thus lowering them a semitone. Most sources agree that the Guatemalan composer and band director Julián Paniagua Martínez (1856–1946) envisioned adding a second, chromatic row and exhorted Sebastián Hurtado to implement the idea. In Hurtado’s design, the chromatic and diatonic rows align with each other, that is, the D♭/C♯ bar is not between C and D, but aligned with the D.

Other marimba builders also attempted chromatic designs in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Manuel López and José Chaequín from Jocotenango, Guatemala, built chromatic marimbas in Guatemala City as early as ...

Article

Kokyū  

David W. Hughes and Henry Johnson

Spike fiddle of Japan (from ko: ‘foreign’, ‘barbarian’; and kyū: ‘bow’). It is about 69 cm long, with a soundbox measuring 14 × 12 × 7.5 cm; the bow is about 95 to 120 cm long. This is Japan’s only indigenously evolved fiddle (although several others were used in minshingaku music). It is smaller than the shamisen, but otherwise nearly identical in shape and construction, differing mainly in its long spike, the shape and position of the bridge, and the lack of any device to generate the buzzing sound (sawari). The kokyū is held vertically, its spike inserted between the knees of the kneeling performer or (especially for women) resting on the floor in front of the knees. As with the Javanese rebab the instrument itself, not the bow, is rotated to select the appropriate string; the bow always follows the same path. There are usually three strings, but certain schools double the highest string (a practice introduced in the mid-18th century)....

Article

Andrés Amado and Matthias Stöckli

[zambumbia]

Friction drum of Guatemala. It might be of local origin, though similar to the Spanish zambomba and African friction drums. The body of the instrument is a gourd with a membrane stretched over an aperture cut in the neck end. The membrane is vibrated either by moving a stick back and forth through a hole in its centre or by rubbing a stick tied to the membrane. In the former type, elastic bands may be fastened to the membrane and the stick so that the stick returns to its original position after moving.

Maya musicians identify two kinds of sambumbias. If the stick is handled from above the membrane, it is designated as male. If the stick is handled from below the membrane on the inside of the gourd, the instrument is female. In northern Guatemala, a female instrument known as tigrera uses a string or rope instead of a stick to make the membrane vibrate. Its sound approximates that of a tigress in heat. It is believed to be of pre-Hispanic origin, and seems to have been used in hunting rituals. See ...

Article

Tortuga  

Andrés Amado

Turtle shell idiophone of Mesoamerica, used since pre-Contact times. A fresco in Structure 1 of the Bonampak ruins in Chiapas, Mexico, depicts a Mayan procession accompanied by musical instruments including the turtle shell, which continues to be used in religious processions nowadays. Tortugas are struck with mallets or sticks on the plastron side.

In Guatemala, indigenous and Ladino or mestizo (mixed-descent) people use the tortuga. Among the Maya, they accompany dances alongside other instruments. For instance, an ensemble comprising tortuga, trumpet, and tun slit drum accompanies the dance Baile del Tz’unum (dance of the hummingbird), an origins dance from Aguacatán, Huehuetenango. The Q’anjob’al-Mayan word for tun, akte’ (wooden turtle), suggests that the tun might have replaced the tortuga in some Mayan performances such as the Kanhal Che’ (dance of the horse), from Jacaltenango, Huehuetenango.

Among Ladinos tortguas feature prominently in the posada, the procession representing Mary and Joseph searching for lodging. As the procession marches, tortugas sound a rhythmic pattern. Although the tortuga has no definite pitch, the pattern uses two types of strokes, the higher-sounding one striking the shell towards its edge and the lower one striking towards the centre (...

Article

Tun  

Andrés Amado and Matthias Stöckli

[c’unc’untunkultumtyum]

Slit drum of Mesoamerica, particularly the Yucatan peninsula, El Salvador, and Guatemala, similar to the Mexican teponaztli. Its origins are pre-Hispanic, and it is still predominantly played by Mayan musicians. Usually made of hollowed hormigo wood (Platymiscium dimorphandrum), it features an H-shaped cut on its upper side that forms two vibrating tongues producing different pitches often a 4th apart. They are struck with mallets, usually rubber-headed. When played, the tun is laid horizontally on the ground, on a stool, or on the musician’s lap. It may be played solo, in pairs of different sizes, or in ensembles with trumpets, flutes, fiddles, or guitars.

Guatemalan Mayans also apply the term tun to a double-headed cylindrical drum of European origin beaten with two rubber-headed drumsticks. In colonial dictionaries of Mayan languages tun can be found to denote trumpets. A similar instrument called k’utin or cutín is reported among the Ch’orti’ Indians of Guatemala, where it is believed to be an instrument ...