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Anne Beetem Acker

Experimental electronic instrument designed at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile by Claudio Bertin, Gabriel de Ioannes, Alvaro Sylleros, Rodrigo Cádiz, and Patricio de la Cuadra. First described publicly in 2010, it has an interface that responds to the user’s natural gestures, improves the audience observation experience, is easy to master, and allows exploration of tonal and rhythmic possibilities. The novel design methodology centred on formal analysis of video recordings of a focus group discussing characteristics of instruments and performance, as well as of video recordings of individual gestural responses to eight categories of sounds of diverse timbre, pitch, and dynamics. The results were used to describe the characteristics of the instrument being designed and to create mock-ups that led to the Arcontinuo. The instrument’s playing surface resembles a curved board that is placed vertically on the performer’s chest, with straps securing it over the shoulders and a prop resting against the player’s stomach. The board’s flexible magnetic surface measures three-dimensional data from several fingers simultaneously, using an embedded grid of Hall effect sensors. Software interprets the results to produce the sounds....

Article

Andrew C. McGraw

The particular types of gamelan of Bali, Indonesia; commonly distinguished from Javanese gamelan. Although many ethnomusicologists have categorized gamelan using a taxonomy developed by the Balinese state conservatory, which distinguishes ensembles as ‘old, middle, and new’ (kuno, madya, baru), definitive evidence regarding the emergence of pre-20th-century ensembles is lacking. Authors have alternatively attempted to categorize ensembles by their ceremonial and social function. However, new social and aesthetic contexts have shifted prior associations; practically all extant ensembles now appear in tourist, state, religious, and experimental contexts. Ultimately it might be simplest to organize the ensembles organologically. For information on individual instruments see separate entries. For bibliography see gamelan .

Balinese gamelan appear primarily in bamboo and bronze, and rarely iron, varieties. Ensembles dominated by bamboo instruments are typically smaller and are often associated with secular or recreational social contexts. The joged (pajogedan, joged bumbung) ensemble combines six tingklik...

Article

John M. Schechter

Mandolin widely used as a folk instrument in Latin America. The instruments of the mestizos and Quechuas in highland Ecuador have a teardrop-shaped body with a flat back and a circular sound hole and are made from cedar, pine, and other woods. They have five triple courses of metal strings and are played with a plectrum. Several tunings are found; in the region of Cotacachi, Imbabura Province, one tuning is g–e♭″–c–g–e♭″; a more popular tuning is eee–aaa–ddd–f♯″f♯′f♯″–bbb″. The latter tuning is often varied in the fourth course to gg′g″ to facilitate guitar-like chord fingerings. In the Andean region the bandolín, together with the rondador and the charango, accompanies sanjuanito...

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Article

David P. McAllester

Rattle consisting of small pieces of flint of ritually prescribed shapes and colours used by the Navajo people of the southwestern USA to accompany songs in the Flintway ceremony. The flints are cupped in both hands and shaken to produce a jingling sound. They symbolize the restoration of fractured or dislocated bones as well as the renewal of vitality in general....

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Bass guitar of Puerto Rico. The body is about 15 to 18 cm deep, 45 cm wide across the lower bouts, 15 cm wide at the waist, and about the same width across the narrow upper bouts. The fingerboard is about 66 cm long and the overall length about 90 cm. Normally there are five single strings or (most commonly) bichords, but examples with six single strings or four bichords exist; the most common five-course tuning is A–D–F#–g–e′ with some bichords in octaves. Mechanical tuners are used nowadays. The neck is thick and the ebony fingerboard extends to the middle of the soundhole only slightly lifted from the soundtable; it has 17 full wooden frets and several partial frets near the soundhole. Two small soundholes are located above the large one flanking the fingerboard. Originally carved from a single piece of cedar with a separate soundtable, the bordonúa is nowadays assembled in sections like a guitar....

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Percussion idiophone widely known in the Americas. Examples include the kalukhaq of the Alaskan Inuit and Native Americans of the northwest coast of North America, the cajón of Cuba and Peru, and the Mexican cajón de tapeo, which supposedly developed as a substitute for the tarima (dance platform). Box drums are also played in the Trinidadian shango cult and on other Caribbean islands. The typical cajón is a rectangular wooden box with a soundhole on the back or side; the box is usually large enough for the player to sit on while striking the front (tapa) with the hands or with sticks. Modern innovations include a padded seat on the top, screws for adjusting the timbre, snares that vibrate against the wood, and a pedal-operated striker. In 2001 Peru declared the cajón part of the nation’s cultural patrimony.

A. Chamorro: Los instrumentos de percusión en México (Zamora, 1984)....

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Vessel rattle of the Flathead Indians of Montana, USA. It is made by cutting a piece of hide and sewing it into a spherical shape, 7 to 12 cm in diameter, with an extension about 10 cm long to wrap around a wooden handle. The hide is wetted and filled with wet sand, then moulded into shape and allowed to dry, and the sand emptied. Small pebbles are inserted as rattle elements, and the handle is secured to the base of the body. Normally the rattle is not decorated either with feathers or paint. When used for the ‘begging around camp’ ceremony it is called ...

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Rattle of the Aztec (Nahua) people of pre-Contact Mexico. It was a three-legged clay vase with clay pellets inside the hollow legs. The name also refers to other clay vessels containing seeds, stones, or other pellets. According to Molina (Vocabulario en lengua mexicana, 1571), cacalachtli (‘to sound’) denotes any clay receptacle containing pellets and for ritual use. The ...

Article

Canari  

J. Richard Haefer

Guitar-like plucked chordophone of the Huichol (Wixáritari or Wirr’ariki) people of west-central Mexico. It is slightly larger than a violin. Typically the soundbox, neck (with four to six frets), nut, and pegboard are carved from a single piece of wood, and a thin piece of cedar serves as a soundtable; the soundbox is only slightly waisted or even oval. A bridge is attached to the soundtable using glue from a local plant. The four or five strings can be of metal, monofilament nylon, or gut. It is played with the ...