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John M. Schechter

revised by J. Richard Haefer

(Sp.: mocha, ‘to cut’)

An ensemble of gourd (puro) trumpets of various sizes, used in the Chota river valley of Imbabura and Carchi provinces of Ecuador. Formed in the late 19th century by Afro-Ecuadorians without access to Western military band instruments, the ensemble includes several puros (calabazas) and pencos (cabuyos) along with other instruments. Puros, about 30 to 60 cm long, are made by cutting a rectangular blowhole near the stem end of a dried gourd and opening the distal end to form a sort of bell. Various sizes provide lead, alto, and tenor ranges. Pencos are made of hollow agave stems about 30 cm long and 7 cm in diameter, with a blowhole cut near one end on a side. The similar chile frito, an ensemble of central Guerrero, Mexico, consists of imitation band instruments made of assembled sections of gourds.

C.A. Coba Andrade: ‘Instrumentos musicales ecuatorianos’, ...



Set of two or more single-headed frame drums, with or without circular metal jingles, and a kettledrum used by members of the k’adiriyya Islamic sect of northern Nigeria. It accompanies the zikiri (creed formula by which a person acknowledges that he is a Muslim). The frame drum is held in the left hand and beaten with the fingers of the right....


Michael Webb

(Tok Pisin for ‘bamboo band’).

Both a struck aerophone (alternatively, an idiophone) comprising a set of three or five tuned bamboo tubes, and the name for an ensemble including these instruments. It was featured in popular music in the Solomon Islands (its place of origin) and parts of Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu for several decades from the 1970s. The primary instrument is derived from the handheld tuned stamping tube, and comprises a set of 7- to 9-cm-diameter bamboos, open at both ends and graduated in lengths of up to 2 metres, arranged in raft form. A band will include at least three sets; each set is commonly tuned (to a guitar) 1–3–5–6–8 (or 1–3–5), usually in a low register, to sound one of the three primary chords in a given key. With flexible paddles players vigorously slap in succession one open end of each bamboo in a boogie-woogie rhythmic-melodic pattern that outlines a triad; sets alternate according to changes in harmony. The ensemble includes guitars and accompanies harmonized singing. A related Solomon Islands ensemble without guitars yet employing Westernized tuning, involves multiple sets of panpipes, ‘pantrumpets’, and the rack-mounted bass ...


Anne Beetem Acker


Ensemble of performers using programmable mobile (cellular) phones. MoPhoO, the Mobile Phone Orchestra of CCRMA at Stanford University, formed in 2007 with 16 phones and players under the supervision of Ge Wang, Georg Essl, and Henri Penttinen, claims to be the first repertoire- and ensemble-based mobile phone performance group. Notably it uses only the phone’s onboard speakers. Since MoPhoO’s founding, other cell phone ensembles have been founded at the University of Michigan, Berlin (both founded by Georg Essl), and in Helsinki (directors Henri Penttinen and Antti Jylhä). The Michigan ensemble uses custom-made wearable speaker systems. Repertoire consists of scored compositions, sonic sculpture, and structured improvisation. For each piece, the phones run customised programmes that direct how they respond sonically to inputs that can come from the keypad or touchpad, the accelerometer positions, the built-in camera, or the microphone. For example, the keypad numbers can be mapped to different pitches in different modes, or to any sort of sound or sequence of sounds. While cell phones have considerable computing capability, they have limited acoustic bandwidth, but partial selection can suggest bass frequencies that are below the cell phone’s actual capability....


Nicholas Temperley

The two halves of the choir (in an architectural sense) in an English cathedral or a large church or chapel: decani is the south side, cantoris the north. The names mean ‘dean’s [side]’, ‘cantor’s [side]’, and refer to the two highest officials of the chapter of a medieval cathedral. The Cantor, or precentor, ranked immediately after the dean in secular cathedral establishments. The dean’s stall was at the west end of the choir, facing east, just to the south of the central aisle; the cantor’s was opposite, north of the aisle. For certain duties the choir (in a musical sense) was also divided into two equal halves. The singers on the dean’s side – decani – took the leading part one week, those on the cantor’s side – cantoris – the next; during the seasons of the three great festivals the alternation was daily. Psalms, canticles and hymns were sung in alternation between the two halves. Together with much other Latin terminology, the names survived the Reformation, and have been used ever since in cathedral music to signify the two halves of the choir....



Konin Aka

Term for a xylophone or ensemble of xylophones and kettledrums of the Senufo people in the Korhogo region of the Ivory Coast. The ensemble normally comprises three or four frame xylophones, each with 12 bars slung on cords attached to the frame at each end. Under each bar is a gourd resonator with spider’s web mirliton. All the xylophones have the same pentatonic tuning; they are accompanied by three wooden kettledrums. The players wear iron jingles on their wrists. The ...


Anne Beetem Acker

Interactive computer network used as an extended musical instrument, played by a San Franciso Bay–area experimental computer network band also called The Hub. The band, founded in 1985 by Tim Perkis and John Bischoff, evolved from the League of Automatic Music Composers (1978–83). The concept of The Hub is to create live music resulting from the unpredictable behaviour of the interconnected computer system. The composer/performers consider their performances a type of ‘enhanced improvisation’.

Initially The Hub provided a custom-built central ‘mailbox’ computer and made use of a MIDI network providing communication between the composer/performers’ synthesizers. With the maturation of commercial MIDI equipment, the band shifted to using the Opcode Studio V multiport MIDI interface for their hub. Since MIDI is designed to allow one player or computer to control a group of synthesizers but not to allow a network of synthesizers to interact, band member Scot Gresham-Lancaster devised a way to program the system so the Opcode Studio V could route messages among all the synthesizers in the network....


Andrew C. McGraw


Processional ensemble of Banyumas, Central Java, Indonesia. The ensemble, developed since 2000, includes up to 20 kentongan (tek-tek) consisting of two tuned lengths of bamboo from 50 to 80 cm long cut in the manner of the calung bar, screwed onto a square frame of bamboo, and carried on a rope strung around the player’s shoulders. The bars are struck with a padded wooden mallet. Up to five musicians play beḍug, large homemade drums constructed from plastic barrels and rubber or plastic heads ranging from 30 to 45 cm in diameter and struck with large padded mallets. A single musician plays several small, one-headed drums and cymbals arranged in the manner of Western marching tom-toms. The melody is played by a single musician on a diatonic set of angklung rattles and doubled on a gambang xylophone. A small suling flute is added along with maracas and Western marching cymbals. The ensemble is played by youth groups in parades, at community centres, and sometimes in organized competitions in which female dancers and MCs are included. Its repertoire includes material adapted from Javanese ...


Laba bu  

Margaret J. Kartomi

revised by Andrew C. McGraw

[labe buu]

Ensemble of two to four end-blown buffalo horns (bu) and two or three single-head drums (laba), of the central Ngada region of Flores, Indonesia. The horns range from 30 to 40 cm long and each produce one note. The drums, called laba bhegu in Ngada, range from 75 to 80 cm long and 15 to 20 cm in diameter and have a horsehide head affixed to a bamboo body with rattan lacing. They are beaten by a standing musician using two wooden sticks. The ensemble, now rare, formerly performed as soldiers went to war or for ceremonies commemorating war. More recently the ensemble accompanies a war dance performed by men and women....


Ferdinand J. de Hen