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Article

Sally Sanford

Technique of body percussion. Known as peh dada on the island of Aceh (the northernmost province of Indonesia), it involves beating one’s hands or fists rhythmically against one’s upper ribs. Early 18th-century sources associate chest beating in Aceh with laments (phô) and royal mourning rituals that are now also found in other Shi’a areas, such as Iran and Iraq. Kartomi indicates that it is generally considered to be a ‘centuries-old tradition essentially native to Aceh’, but chest beating is a widespread mode of acoustic communication, practised by gorillas as well as humans....

Article

Carole Pegg

[throat-singing, chant biphonique, chant diphonique, höömii]

A vocal style in which a single performer produces more than one clearly audible note simultaneously. In melodic overtone-singing styles, a drone is produced on the first harmonic or fundamental and a flute-like melody created from a series of upper harmonics or overtones. In non-melodic styles, overtones may occur because of the pitch of the fundamental drone combined with the vocal sounds being enunciated, for instance when Mongols sing the bass overtone-singing style harhiraa höömii or Tibetan dge lugs pa monks in Gyume and Gyütö monasteries chant using a profound bass in the chest register. Overtone-singing may also comprise a rich tapestry of harmonics without the presence of a drone.

Myths of origin vary. Tuvans believe that overtone-singing originates in lullabies sung by women dating back to the time when humans first inhabited the earth, or that it originates in the environment; Khalkha Mongols cite musical communications between natural phenomena and the effects of such sounds on humans. Both Tuvans and Mongols generally refute connections posited by Europeans of its relationship with Shamanism, Buddhism or the jew's harp. Given their beliefs about the spirits of nature, however, overtone-singing may traditionally have been linked to folk-religious practices....

Article

Sally Sanford

(Ger. patsch, ‘smack’)

Technique of body percussion. The palm of the hand rhythmically strikes the thigh, normally close to the knee. Usually both thighs are lightly struck simultaneously, but patsching can also alternate between the thighs. It can be done while seated or standing and on bare flesh or clothing. Patsching is used in many styles of body percussion, for example in Tyrolean folk dancing, where other parts of the body may also be struck, and is often used by music educators in teaching rhythm to children....

Article

Sally Sanford

A form of foot percussion involving rapid stamping and tapping of the heels and toes (shod in a flamenco shoe) in a rhythmic fashion associated with flamenco. The feet are relaxed and most of the work is done by the lower leg, which initiates the movement with a backswing of the foot by bending the knee almost 90° off the floor before dropping the foot down adjacent to the instep of the standing foot. Digs and stamps allow the dancer forward and lateral movement. Digs are executed with a backswing of the foot landing on the ball of the foot slightly behind the standing foot. The stamp (golpe) also begins with a backswing, landing with forward movement as the heel strikes the floor. Modern flamenco shoes (zapatos for women and botas for men) have thick soles and small tacks on both the toe and heel. The heel of the shoe is elevated. Female dancers face the added challenge of executing rapid footwork while wearing a heavy dress with a long train (...