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Article

Owen Wright, Christian Poché and Amnon Shiloah

Music traditions in the Arabic-speaking world. For discussions of the music of specific areas, see also individual country articles.

The art music/folk (or popular) music opposition is a blunt instrument at best, and at various times and places in the Arab world it would be unrealistic or unhelpful to seek to draw a clear dividing line. In Arabic the terminological distinction is a modern importation, and while the earlier textual tradition may recognize regional differences it is more frequently concerned with an ultimately ethical evaluation of the various purposes for which music may be used. However, these imply distinctions of function and social context, and as one major constant in Arab and Middle Eastern Islamic culture generally we may identify a form of entertainment music for which, in fact, the label ‘art music’ is quite apt. Nurtured at courts, patronized by urban élites, performed by professionals (and aristocratic amateurs) and described in explicitly theoretical terms, art music constituted an integral element of sophisticated high culture and, consequently, could be regarded as a suitable subject for scientific and philosophical enquiry....

Article

Bandai  

Patricia Matusky

Gong of Sarawak, Malaysia. It is also called bebendai or bandil (among the Iban and other groups in Sarawak) or selegai (among the Kajang groups). The gong is 40 to 50 cm in diameter or slightly smaller, with a rim about 3 cm deep or slightly deeper. Sometimes the area around the central boss is decorated with geometric and dragon designs. It is usually suspended and struck on the boss or rim with a wood beater. This gong is found in the large hanging gong ensembles of the Kayan, Kajang, and Bidayu groups and also in the ...

Article

Bandaw  

Small hourglass-shaped rattle drum of Thailand. It resembles the South Asian Damaru and is played in the same manner. The ball that strikes the heads is connected by a cord to the end of the handle (a tapered post 13-cm long affixed to the waist of the drum). It is used in some rarely seen royal ceremonies....

Article

Natalie M. Webber

Name once used in Sri Lanka for the mandolin. It probably was imported by the Portuguese, absorbed by the artisans of Ceylonese-Portuguese extraction, and used to play their characteristic dance music. The name is now obsolete, but a flat-backed mandolin with four double strings, known in Sri Lanka as the ‘English mandolin’, is still used as the melody instrument for ...

Article

José Maceda

[pattung]

Wooden percussion bar of the Ifugao people of the northern Philippines. It is yoke-shaped, wider in the middle, tapering towards the ends. Two holes are bored through the upper part at the middle, through which a rope handle is tied. Dimensions and exact shapes differ from maker to maker (usually the player). It is held by the left hand as the right hand strikes one side of the bar with a wooden beater, producing a ringing tone. A set consists of three bars, each played with a different rhythm. Hundreds of ...

Article

Bangsi  

Margaret J. Kartomi

revised by Andrew C. McGraw

[bansi, bangsing, bengsi, bangsil, bahgseli, bangsiq]

Bamboo flute common in ancient Java and found nowadays in many parts of Indonesia and Malaysia. It exists as a duct flute in Minangkabau, Gayo and Alas (bangsi buluh), Siak (bansi), Halmahera (bangsil), Central Sulawesi (basing-basing), and in North Sulawesi as part of the orkes ensemble; as a ring flute in Minangkabau, Gayo, coastal Aceh, Jambi, North Sulawesi, Sangsihe, South Sulawesi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan (bangsi), Tidore (bangseli), and Alas (bangsi buluh); as a transverse flute in Sulawesi and West Java (bangsi or bangsing); as a rice-straw flute in Alas (bangsi ngale); and as a nose flute in Semang areas of the Malay Peninsula (bangsi). In Luzon, southern Philippines, the bangsiq of the Hanunoo and the bansi of the Negrito in Bataan is an external duct flute. In the Alas area of Aceh, the ring flute is about 30–40 cm long and 3 cm in diameter. It has five or six fingerholes and a thumbhole. Below its top end there are two small holes covered with dried coconut leaf. It is played either solo by a male performer or with a ...

Article

Bangu  

Alan R. Thrasher

Single-headed block drum of the Han Chinese. Ban here refers to the concept of ‘beat’; gu means ‘drum’. Other common names include danpigu (‘single-skin drum’) and xiaogu (‘small drum’). The thick body, about 25 cm in diameter and 10 cm deep, is constructed from wedges of hardwood glued together in a circle (or sometimes carved from a single block) and wrapped at the bottom with a metal band. The body is open at the bottom, and the interior tapers inward to the top, leaving a central circular opening (about 5 cm in diameter) called the guxin (‘drum heart’). This is covered with a piece of thick rigid pigskin or cowhide nailed in several rows around the outside of the body. The drum is supported in a three-legged stand in front of the player and struck on the guxin with one or two slender bamboo sticks. The tone quality is crisp, and the pitch is moderately high....

Article

Geneviève Dournon

[bā̃kiā̃]

End-blown trumpet of Rajasthan, north India. It is made of a brass tube about 168 cm long: one part, of cylindrical bore, is bent back in a double U shape; the other, which extends it, widens gradually and terminates in a wide, open bulbous bell shaped like a ‘barbed dish’. It is decorated with engraved or painted floral motifs. In central Rajasthan it is played principally by professional musicians, the ...

Article

Nguyen Thuyet Phong

Article

Barbed  

Alastair Dick

Term applied chiefly to central, west, and South Asian lutes signifying that the soundbox outline forms sharp points at the waist. When barbs below the waist point upward (as with some historical and extant South Asian types), the shape may be called ‘inverted barbed’. The term ‘barb’ was used by C. Sachs (...

Article

Bartāl  

Pair of large, heavy metal cymbals (36 cm in diameter) of Assam, India. Each has a large boss, and when clashed their deep resonant tone resounds for more than 15 seconds. The bartāl is used in bargīt (devotional singing and dancing) and also as an accompaniment to various acrobatic dances. For generic discussion of South Asian cymbals, ...

Article

Bas (i)  

revised by Margaret J. Kartomi and Mayco A. Santaella

Bamboo trumpet of the Toraja people in the province of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. It comprises a forward-projecting mouthpipe (blown directly, without mouthpiece) about 20 cm long and 1 cm in diameter, inserted and sealed with wax to a downward section about 9 cm by 1 cm, this connected to a horizontal section, and this to the main, vertical tube, 36 cm long and 3 cm in diameter, closed by a node at its base. The instrument is reinforced by a horizontal bamboo beam near the top of the main tube and by rattan string wound around the joints. These measurements are for the smallest bas; the largest is about 135 cm in overall tube length. It produces a single low-pitched tone. Various sizes of bas provide the main harmonic element in the Bas-suling ensemble. A similar trumpet played in the orkes bambu metalu of Minahasa, North Sulawesi, is called overton...

Article

Alastair Dick and Geneviève Dournon

[bansi, bā̃slī]

Term in the north Indian languages for flutes of different types (ba ̄̃s: ‘bamboo’).

In the eastern regions of the subcontinent—Bengal, Orissa, Assam, and so on (eastern India and Bangladesh)—ba ̄̃sī (here pronounced ba ̄̃shi) commonly denotes a transverse flute, mostly of bamboo, which abounds in the area. The most usual type is stopped by a natural node at one end, and has a simple lateral mouth-hole and a number of fingerholes. Sizes vary greatly, but the typical rustic flute is fairly small; large versions are found especially in Bangladesh. Flutes of the tribal peoples of the region include the tirāyu, tirio, rutu, and murlī. In Orissa the duct flute is also termed ba ̄̃sī (dobandī ba ̄̃sī, ekbandī ba ̄̃sī).

In the Raipur and Bilaspur districts of Madhya Pradesh (central India), ba ̄̃sī denotes an end-blown duct flute. The bamboo tube, 40 cm long, has five fingerholes and a thumbhole. The duct at the upper end consists of a plug of wax partly blocking off the bore, which causes the air to strike the sharp edge of a small opening made in the wall. The opening is partly covered by a slip of bamboo bark which conducts the air current in the correct direction. Like the ...

Article

Basoi  

Patricia Matusky

[basui]

Musical bow of the Iban people of central Sarawak, Malaysia. The single string is attached to the ends of the wooden bow. The bow rests on a wooden disc, which in turn rests on a ceramic or metal bowl that serves as a resonator. The string is tapped or plucked with a plectrum....

Article

Geneviève Dournon and Mireille Helffer

[bāṃsurĩ, bānsurī, bānsrī, bā̃surī bā̃sī]

North Indian term for flutes of various types, one of many words deriving from Sanskrit va ṃśa and new Indo-Aryan ba ̄̃s, ‘bamboo flute’. The ba ̄̃surī played by the Rawat shepherds of Raipur district, Madhya Pradesh, central India, is a double duct flute consisting of two bamboo (or plastic) pipes about 53 cm long; one is a melody pipe with five fingerholes and the other a drone. A duct, similar to that of the Rawat Ba ̄̃sī, is formed by a block inserted at the upper end of each pipe. The two pipes are bound together at their upper ends so that they can be blown simultaneously, but diverge below; hence they are also called dandha ba ̄̃sī, ‘joined flute’. The instrument is played with circular breathing. For the large transverse flute ba ̄̃surī used in Hindustani or north Indian classical music, see Vaṃśa.

The ba ̄̃surī of the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal is a transverse flute made of a turned wooden tube, with six fingerholes at the front and one thumbhole at the back. It can be decorated with carvings and silver inlays. It is played in groups by Newar farmers in procession and to accompany dance, lifecycle, and other rituals. ...

Article

Natalie M. Webber

Small cane flute of Sri Lanka. It occurs in various sizes and is made from the ba ṭa reed, found throughout the island. The instrument, known occasionally as vasdanḍa, is often side-blown (arāta); there are six or, less often, seven fingerholes. The pipe is always stopped and varies in length from 23 to 56 cm. These flutes are occasionally lacquered but are far more often plain or polished. Although made in Sri Lanka they resemble closely the side-blown flute of south India and are often used for playing Carnatic music....

Article

Batil  

Patricia Matusky

Struck idiophone of the Illanun in the Muslim Kota Belud area of Sabah, Malaysia, and of the Malays in Peninsular Malaysia. It is an upturned brass bowl, struck by a small stick or the fingers of the right hand. In Sabah it accompanies pantun singing, formerly a courtship ritual, performed throughout Malaysia. In the state of Kedah and Perlis in northwest Peninsular Malaysia it accompanies the singing and speech rhythms of the ...

Article

Bawu  

Alan R. Thrasher

Free-reed aerophone of the Miao (Hmong), Dai, Yi, Hani, and other minority cultures of southwestern China. Bawu is a Chinese name believed to be borrowed from Miao language; local names include bi (Dai), meiba (Hani), and jifeili (Yi). The Thai pī saw is a related instrument. The bawu is constructed from a tube of bamboo about 30 cm or longer, closed at the blowing end by a natural node, open at the bottom. Near the closed end a small rectangular opening is carved through the side of the bamboo and a free reed of bamboo or bronze secured over the opening—traditionally with beeswax, nowadays with other adhesives. This reed is similar to the rectangular free reed of the sheng mouth organ, except that the bawu tongue is essentially in the form of a steep gradient triangle, in which the two long sides are of equal length (c1.5 cm) and the attached base is very small (...

Article

Bãy  

Mireille Helffer

revised by Gert-Matthias Wegner and Simonne Bailey

[bãycā, kvaku]

Small beaked duct flute of Nepal. The bamboo tube is about 25 cm long with a diameter of 2.5 cm. It has seven fingerholes and one thumbhole, giving a range of 14 notes. Now obsolete except for a performance group at Kathmandu University, the bãy was formerly played by tailor-musicians of the Kathmandu Valley in the Bhaktapur ...

Article

Bayi