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Article

Cloch  

Peter Crossley-Holland

Clapper-bell of ancient and medieval Wales. Several types were known, all with suspension loops. They include one quadrangular and one circular bell of Romano-British (La Tène) type, found in the Vale of Neath, and Celtic ‘saints’ bells’, including a long quadrangular bell now in the National Museum of Wales. Historical references to the cloch date from the 12th century, but the traditional performing practice has not survived....

Article

Alastair Dick

The most ancient known drum name of India, found in Sanskrit texts from the late 2nd millennium bce to about the 13th century ce. Its type has not been identified with certainty, but references throughout the period indicate a loud drum connected especially but not exclusively with war. The name is doubtless onomatopoeic.

The Ṛgveda mentions the dundubhi in contexts associated with Indra (god of thunder, war, etc.), and the Yajurveda states that the spirit of the trees resides in it, as in the flute and the harp, thus indicating that it was of wood; the Atharvaveda, in an incantation, has the dundubhi played by ‘the Goddess around the house’, together with the karkarí (probably a chordophone). Ritual texts of the 1st millennium bce record an earth-drum (bhūmidundubhi) used in the winter-solstice rite mahāvrata, which consisted of the hide of the sacrificed beast being stretched over a pit and beaten with its own tail. The association of the dundubhi with war continues in epic and classical literature, and terms such as ...

Article

Alastair Dick

[karkariká]

Sanskrit term that appears in the earlier Vedic literature of India (Ṛg- and Atharvaveda, c1000 bce). It has been translated by Indologists as ‘lute’, but without justification; it might have been a musical bow played by scratching and resonated by a bottle-gourd or a pot (a later available meaning of karkarí etc., as well as of gārgara) with a skin, probably of lizard, stretched over it and the vessel embedded in the earth, ‘lest the wind stir it up’. It could well thus be a transitional stage between a ground harp (cf the bhūmidundubhi) and the bow harp. Its half-buried vessel is compared with a nest, and the deep sound to the flying up (from the nest) of the sacrifice-bird. It was played in association with the āghā ṭá by the Apsaras nymphs in the Atharvaveda, and in later texts (Śrautasūtra, called ghā...

Article

Kuḻal  

Alastair Dick

[kuzhal, kuṛal]

Ancient Tamil name for the transverse flute, found in the literature of south India in the 1st millennium ce. Another name was vankiyam. Descriptions suggest the flute was about 38 cm long and 9 cm in circumference; it was generally made of bamboo, but bronze, sandalwood, and rosewood are also mentioned. The left end was closed and ringed with thin bronze. The embouchure was about 4 cm from the left end and there were seven fingerholes, with an eighth hole (muttirai) left open. Other kuḻal are mentioned, such as the mullaiku ḻal with five holes. The flute was a leading instrument of the dance orchestra. It is nowadays usually called ve ṇu. The same name is found in modern times for a reed or bamboo panpipe played by shepherds in south India.

H.A. Popley: The Music of India (Calcutta, 1921, 3/1966) S. Ramanathan: Music in Cilapatikaaram (diss., Wesleyan U., Middletown, 1974)...

Article

Alastair Dick

Old south Indian Tamil name for a clay pot drum with a narrow neck covered with skin and found in texts of the 1st millennium ce. It was sounded as a ceremonial instrument together with the cankam (conch) and kombu (trumpet) and presented as a prize by the king to warriors; it also appeared in the dance orchestra....

Article

Muracu  

Alastair Dick

Old South Indian Tamil name for a large cylindrical drum of state, sacred to kings, in texts of the 1st millennium ce. It was kept in the palace on its own cot and carried out on an elephant to announce proclamations, battles, and the dawn. Its sound is compared to thunder. The Sanskrit ...

Article

Alastair Dick

Article

Alastair Dick

Elongated barrel drum of ancient and medieval India. The name occurs in Sanskrit from epic and classical times, and is probably of non-Aryan origin. Ancient references are to a loud drum, in contexts of war, public announcements, and so on, often compared to thunder by the classical poets, and also used in palaces and in temple worship. The dramaturgic treatise Nātyaśāstra (early centuries ce) classes the paṭaha among the secondary (pratyaṅga) drums of the theatre, not precisely tuned, and used for their sound effects and associations.

By medieval times, however, though still of this loud nature, the paṭaha had clearly become of greater musical importance; the encyclopedic Sangītaratnakara (early 13th century) gives it first place among drums, and by far the greatest space to its techniques and repertory. This work discusses two types of this drum, the larger mārga paṭaha and the smaller deśī, or regional, one. The former name connotes the ‘high tradition’ (it is used both in recital music, ...

Article

Alastair Dick

Old south Indian Tamil name for a wooden barrel drum, equated with mattalam and found in texts of the 1st millennium ce. It had two skin-covered heads, the right being tuned with a paste (mārcanai, i.e. Sanskrit mārjanā) of powdered charcoal and cooked rice. It was the leading instrument of the dance orchestra, controlling the level of the other instruments and filling in for continuity (as does the ...

Article

Zvans  

Valdis Muktupāvels

[govju zvans, pulkstens]

Cast and forged metal bells of Latvia. Small cast bronze bells are known from the 7th century, found by archaeologists attached to shawls, belts, and other parts of female costume, usually grouped in threes. The diameter of the opening is 15 to 30 mm, and the clapper in a form of a lamella is attached inside. Cast church bells are known in Latvia from the 12th century. The bell was hung in a church tower or a separate bell tower and rung for ecclesiastic rites, for special events such as weddings and funerals, and also to sound alarms. The church bells were thought to offer protection from evil influences.

Forged bells, govju zvans, were made of thin folded brass plates, with riveted edges. A wire with an iron weight—screw-nuts or similar—was fastened inside. Such bells were hung around the necks of farm animals while grazing, especially at night.

Ī. Priedīte...